Labour ahead in the polls – Tories ahead in the betting.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) February 13, 2015
A good few days for Labour in the polls. Perhaps it has something to do with the tax avoidance issue, perhaps not. Has this been reflected in the way Ladbrokes’ clients have been betting on the election? Not as far as I can see.
In fact, the pattern has been fairly consistent. On the outright market on which party will win most seats, more and more money is going on the Tories and hardly anyone wants to back Labour, irrespective of polling movements. The Tories became favourites three weeks ago and there is no sign of that moving back.
Whilst most political science models predict a polling shift towards the Tories as we get closer to election day, there isn’t much sign of any movement in recent weeks. It’s been close for months and it’s hard to discern any real trend. Of course, the likelihood that Labour will lose a lot of seats to the SNP is a big factor. At the same time, it seems as if the Tories are doing relatively poorly in England and will struggle to prevent dozens of losses to Labour.
Based on our current odds in each individual seat, here are the 36 seats that the Conservatives won in 2010, but Labour are now favourites to take in May. The Lab Win % is the implied chance of a Labour gain from our constituency odds.
|Constituency||Lab Win %|
|Brentford and Isleworth||72%|
|Wolverhampton South West||70%|
|Lancaster and Fleetwood||68%|
|Plymouth Sutton and Devonport||66%|
|Hastings and Rye||64%|
|Morecambe and Lunesdale||57%|
|Ealing Central and Acton||54%|
|Halesowen and Rowley Regis||53%|
|Chester, City of||52%|
Labour already hold Corby, thanks to a by-election win. Cannock Chase is an outlier; Labour are narrow favourites to win but have less than a 50% chance because UKIP make this one a three way marginal.
The Tories cannot afford to lose all of these seats and remain the largest party; but as long as 80% of all the money we are taking is on the Conservatives coming out ahead, the betting markets will remain in their favour.