The real mug punters at the moment are those piling onto a CON majority at 3-1

The real mug punters at the moment are those piling onto a CON majority at 3-1

The mood of optimism that’s been coming out of the Tory camp in recent days about GE2015 has inevitably affected the betting markets. Ladbrokes and others have edged out the odds on a LAB majority and have tightened what they are offering on a CON overall majority.

I got into a little Twitter exchange above last night on why the UKIP price on forming the next government was tighter than the LD which I put down to there being more mug purple punters out there than yellow ones. UKIP is going to struggle to win a single seat never mind the 326 required for an overall majority.

    But the really crazy current betting move is the hard cash that is going on the Tories to do what they failed to accomplish in 2010 against Gordon Brown – win a majority

There are several factors at work here. The LAB polling lead is down a bit on where it had been but the gap is substantially more than what’s required for a very comfortable majority. Today’s YouGov has it back to 8%.

Ed Miliband is, of course, helped by the fact that the LAB national vote threshold for an overall majority is a lot smaller than the CON target. Incumbency might help a bit particularly as we know that MPs seeking re-election for the first time do get a bit of a bonus.

But in the past incumbency works for the yellows much more than the other parties which means that the blues can’t count on the gains from Clegg’s party that the pure arithmetic might point to.

My reading is that the Tories need constant poll leads from firms like ICM of 7%+ before securing an overall majority comes into the frame.

The evidence from other indicators like the weekly round of local by-elections is still very poor for the blues. Not only is UKIP continuing to soak up votes but the Tories, as we saw last week, are finding the going very heavy in CON-LD contests.

This might all change, of course, but the chances are much much smaller than the 25% that the current betting prices suggest.

Mike Smithson

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