Where’s the money going in key marginals?
The big move in the 2005 general election, of course, was the switch of 5-6% of the voters from Labour to the Lib Dems at a time when the Iraq War was still a major influence. Many of the starting positions in individual seats that Nick Clegg’s party will have next time will have been underpinned by this big swing. The critical question is whether these groups will go back, stick with the Lib Dems or move over to Cameron’s Tories?
Brown needs a lot of them to return to Labour if he is to beat off the Tory challenge.
So it’s interesting following the prices in the Ladbrokes general election constituency betting to note that the main movers seem to have been to the Lib Dems in Labour held seats where the Clegg’s party is in with a shout.
In the tight three-way marginal of Hampstead and Kilburn the money has been going on the Lib Dems where the 3/1 opening price has now tightened to 2/1. The notional 2005 result is LAB 36.8%: LD 34.1%: CON 23.8%. The Tories are also at 2/1 with Labour down at 6/4 to hold on.
In Brent Central, where Brent East Lib Dem MP, Sarah Teather is standing, the price has moved from 9/4 to 15/8. Labour are at 2/5 with the Tories on 100/1. Teather, whose original seat was lost in the boundary changes, has a tough challenge. The notional 2005 result was LAB 50.1%: LD 32.1%: CON 13.4%
At Watford where, for want of a better phrase, the Tories had a “bit of an issue” with their original PPC, the Lib Dems are now 6/4 favourites to take the seat from Labour. The Tories are on 7/4 with the incumbent Labour MP in third favourite position at 9/2. This really is a great one to watch. The 2005 notional result was LAB 33.6%: LD 31.2%: CON 29.6%
Even in my own constituency of Bedford the big price movement was on the LDs. It opened at 50/1 and is now down to 33/1 following reports of turmoil amongst the local Tories – one of whom was quoted in a local paper saying they were heading for third place. The Tories are at 1/2 with the Labour incumbent at 6/4. Here the notionals are LAB 41.7%: CON 33.5%: LD 21.8%