Will the mood about Tory prospects now change?
One of the most satisfying moments in betting is when you are transferring your profits into your bank account and it was good to see that Betfair settled the London mayoral market so so soon after last night’s results.
For this activity is more than about the money but tangible confirmation of your predictive abilities. Anybody can have a view on a political outcome – the gambler backs up his with hard cash.
But what should punters do now? Is Boris’s victory in London going to change the view about Cameron’s prospects in a general election? Will received opinion move to the idea that another old-Etonian in his 40s is on course to take the biggest prize in UK politics – becoming prime minister of a majority Conservative government?
For one of the consequences of the London result is that it underlines what I described last week as the golden rule of polling – “that the survey that’s likely to be the best election predictor is the one that shows Labour in the least favourable position.”
It will also mean that greater credence will be given to the findings of the sometimes controversial online pollster, YouGov, which for the second London mayoral race in succession got the final result right to within one per cent.
And since the budget it has been YouGov which has been showing the biggest Labour deficits – a colossal 18% in the last survey.
The SportingIndex and IG Index spread betting markets on general elections seats were closed yesterday but new post-mayoral election spreads should be published this morning. The Spreadfair spread betting exchange has been operating but most of the best bargains – Tory buys and Labour sells – have been swallowed up (some by me!)
This is the form of betting where the number of seats the parties will get are traded like stocks and shares. It’s high risk but high reward because the more you are right in your prediction the more you make. Sadly the reverse is true if you get it wrong.