How the PB community split at 2.15 am
I’m not normally a great fan of instant online quickie polls like the one we did yesterday on people’s forecasts for today’s Glasgow East by-election. Those who take part are self-selecting and the technical savvy could vote more than once.
Yet the result that’s come out totally reflects my own view of what will happen today. This is a 50-50 shot even though the betting markets make Labour the 0.31/1 odds-on favourite.
It can be very dangerous to rely on the betting as some parts of the media seem to be doing. At the last Westminster by election in Scotland, in Dunfermline in February 2006, the Betfair price on Labour was 0.2/1 even as the returning officer was calling the hall to order to announce that the Lib Dems had pulled off an amazing victory.
It should be noted as well that the level of betting does not support the statements by the BBC and others last night that this is a record for a by-election. The total amount traded on Betfair is just Â£85,000 which looks fairly modest.
Looking again at the last poll of the campaign, taken last week, there appears to be a significant factor, which I did not spot on Tuesday, that could further undermine confidence in its 17% Labour margin projection.
For the question that Progressive Scottish Opinion asked was simply “Which political party will you vote for in the forthcoming by-election?”. which did not leave open the very likely possibility that those interviewed might not vote.
A danger here is that people, especially in a traditional rock solid Labour area like this, will say they are voting for the party because they think that that is how they should respond – not because this is what they will do. ICM, by contrast, has a non-judgemental form of words that makes it easier for people to say they won’t be taking part.
So today I’ll be watching the betting very closely and if the SNP price moves out further I’ll be betting.