Meet the reverse ferret in political betting markets.
The charts above show how even the betting markets can get it spectacularly wrong. Below is the spreads offered by Sporting Index a few hours before the polls opened for the 2015 general election.
This is what the Sporting Index spreads were a few hours before the polls opened on the day of the 2015 general election. Was a very bad night if you sold Conservatives seats or bought Labour and/or Lib Dem seats.
Difference versus the mid prices
Lab – 33
LD – 18 pic.twitter.com/T8FhgkhcU8
— TSE (@TSEofPB) September 8, 2019
Some of this might be a result of the opinion pollsters having a bit of nightmare in recent years but even in the Peterborough by election where there were no publicly available polling the markets got it wrong even after the polls closed. These aren’t in the niche betting markets like what colour tie would George Osborne wear in the 2015 budget but the major political events of recent times.
For Brexit referendum the spike just after 10.30pm was down to serial Westminster loser Nigel Farage calling it for Remain, so even those at the heart of the events don’t always know what is going on what hope is there for the rest of us?
Over on Betfair at the time of writing the Conservatives have an implied probability of over 65% to win most seats, given the inaccuracy of betting markets in recent years that should send a cold shiver down the back of Boris Johnson as he hopes to hold a general election this year. Certainly the majority of the polls published this weekend just gone didn’t imply a Conservative majority.