Betdata.io chart of movement on the Betfair exchange
The betting chances of GE2019 drop 20% in just 14 days
It was exactly two years ago that we were told that the PM would be making a statement in Downing Street. All sort of rumours were triggered and it was only when the lectern was moved into the street that people started guessing that she was about to go to the country.
The giveaway was that the PM’s crest was not on the lectern meaning that this was a party political matter not a Government one. We all know what happened over the following seven weeks and how TMay’s hope of increasing her majority to help get the Brexit legislation through ended up with the Tories losing seats and having to do a deal with the DUP.
Almost ever since PB was established 15 years ago one of the liveliest markets has been on the timing of the next general election with a tendency for punters with an interest in politics to grossly overestimate an imminent move. From a betting perspective the wise route has, 2017 apart, been to bet that an early election won’t happen.
Over the last fortnight on this market we have seen a dramatic change. Just two weeks ago a 2019 General Election was rated on the Betfair Exchange at a 54% chance and has now it is drifted sharply and currently stands at a 34% one.
Two major reasons, I would suggest, for the change. Firstly there has been the dramatic collapse in the Conservative polling position and no PM is going to seek to go to the country when they are trailing by so much. Mrs May went in 2017 when the polls had her 20% head. Heaven knows what would happen if she did it now.
The polls also creates a great feeling of self-preservation amongst members of the governing party who could see their jobs and salaries disappear if there was a election and public opinion was very much of it as it is today.
The second reason is obviously the developments on Brexit, as a result of last week’s events. There’s now breathing space and far less urgency with the MPs, perhaps, not having to make any real decisions until the end of October.
What has made an early general election even harder is the depletion of numbers in the Labour ranks which has seen a significant drop off in the size of the parliamentary party. This combined with the requirement to get all the other opposition parties to join together to support a move include makes it less likely.