Is the best bet the Tories in Q1-Q2 2009?

Is the best bet the Tories in Q1-Q2 2009?

Is Populus just following the Cameron exposure rule?

The betting exchange, Betfair, have just put up the above new market where the “runners” are the date of the election broken down into six month segments and which party will end up with most seats.

This promises to be a fascinating betting arena where I think a lot of the action will take place. Interestingly the latest prices on January-June 2009 election have Labour tighter than the Tories. This is probably not surprising given that Brown would only risk it in the first half of next year if the polls were going his way and there was a good chance of Labour coming out on top.

The overall favourite is for a Conservative victory in 2010.

    I’ve had a flutter at 5/1 on a Conservative victory in the January – June 2009 because I think Brown has become bold enough to consider a gamble then and that he will mis-read what’s happening in the polls

As regulars will know I’ve long argued here that the driving force behind Tory poll ratings is the amount a personal coverage, good or bad, that Cameron gets in the media. Thus the latest Populus poll showing Labour just four points behind was driven largely by the inability of Cameron to get much coverage during the week of the Queen’s speech.

As we saw last Thursday morning, on the day before the Populus fieldwork began, Brown completely won the post-speech headline war with his announcement on help for people struggling to pay their mortgages who faced being re-possessed. What coverage of the Damian Green affair that there has been hardly featured the Tory leader.

With Mandelson now firmly on board directing Brown Central we can expect the government’s enormous ability to control the news agenda to come even more into play and Cameron is going to find it even harder to get on our screens. Just watch how Wednesdays’ PMQs will become over-shadowed by policy or other government spin machine announcement.

    The problem – as we saw as soon as Cameron started getting coverage again after the Brown honeymoon in early October 2007 – is that news management techniques only postpone things. They do not change the fundamentals. In a general election campaign equal coverage rules apply.

You disagree with me? Well let’s gamble on this new betting market. For the great thing about political betting is that you back your judgement up with hard cash.

Mike Smithson

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