Why are punters ignoring the polling?
The great mystery of the 2010 Labour leadership race has been that David Miliband has continued to be an odds-on favourite even though the only members’ and trade unionists’ polling since voting began showed that he was losing in these two segments of the electoral college.
True the ex-foreign secretary has drifted from 1.2 on Betfair since the publication of the Sunday Times poll eleven days ago but he’s still the heavy odds-on favourite.
This is the first time since I’ve been following political betting that there’s been such a divergence of view between what the polls are showing and how punters are risking their money. It doesn’t add up.
It’s true that there has not been polling of the third segment of Labour’s electoral college, MPs/MEPs, but most of their individual views have been made public and clearly the elder Miliband holds a reasonable lead.
It’s true, also, that YouGov’s polling of the 2007 Labour deputy race got the outcome wrong. But that poll took place before the big TV debate, before ballot papers went out and before the big trade unions began to promote heavily their choice, John Cruddas.
In this latest contest fieldwork for the final YouGov poll started a week after the ballots had gone and after the unions had communicated with their members. We saw the impact of the latter in 2007 and also this summer.
In the July polling EdM had a 12 point deficit amongst trade unionists in response to the “which Miliband” question. The latest poll had him 14 points ahead.
If that is in the right region it provides a substantial buffer to negate DaveM’s lead amongst MPs.
The online pollster has a good record in leadership polls that have been carried out after voting has started. They were right about IDS for the Tories in 2001, David Cameron in 2005 and Nick Clegg in 2007. I would not bet against them.