I am sure that I am not the only PBer who is spending a lot of time at the moment looking up Wikipedia pages on interesting constituencies to try to work out whether a particular bet is good value or not.
One seat is Don Valley in Yorkshire where longstanding PBer, Aaron Bell (Tissue Price) is standing for the Conservatives. The figures from last time are above.
The big thing we found out at the end of last week was that UKIP was not fielding a candidate there and I’ve no doubt that many have looked at the Tory vote from GE2015 and added it to UKIP figure and started to draw conclusions. If all the kipper vote goes to Aaron then he’s a good chance of becoming an MP.
Before we get carried away, however, I suggest reading a new article by Professor Stephen Fisher on this very matter in which he looked at the detailed data from 969 divisions in this month’s local elections.
“..Regression analysis shows that where UKIP started with around 13% (taking their vote share in the 2015 General Election as an example) the swing from Labour to the Conservatives was 3.9 points if UKIP stood again, and 4.6 points if they dropped out. A difference of just 0.7 points.
Similarly, the swing from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives was 1.8 points if UKIP stood again, and 2.3 points if they dropped out. A difference of just 0.5 points.
These differences, the dropout effects, get larger the stronger the UKIP starting point. But they are never very big. For the divisions where UKIP got more than 30% in 2013, the effect of dropout is to increase the swings from either Labour and the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives by just 2 points each on average.
The reason UKIP dropout had such a small effect on the swings to the Conservatives is that it benefited all three of the other main parties, it just helped the Conservatives a bit more.“
There’s another factor that could come into play as well. At the Richmond Park by-election last December UKIP stood aside in order to help Zac retain the seat. This led to two developments that wern’t helpful to him – the Greens pulled out and the UKIP decision was used to try to persuade LAB voters to tactically vote LD.
I’m sure that LAB and the LDs will seek to make a UKIP pull-out in key general election seats an argument to try to get tactical voting for the contender most able to beat the Conservative.