Whisper it, but the most open UK General Election in living memory may have started to shut up shop.
Six parties are currently polling between 4% and 35% UK-wide, including the Scotland-dominating SNP, and with Ukip still prominent in Conservative-held seats, it’s practically impossible to project results based on the national swing.
That being said, the Tory electoral machine seems to have kicked into gear at just the right time, meaning Ladbrokes’ 5/4, from 4/6 earlier in the campaign, about David Cameron still being Prime Minister on July 1st holds a fair amount of value.
Cameron’s crowd had a slender one-point lead with YouGov this morning, having trailed Labour in each of the previous six runs of the popular poll.
This may not seem like much of a turnaround, but mega-rich number cruncher Michael Ashcroft’s weekly poll had the blues ahead for the sixth time in eight rounds yesterday, increasing their lead over Labour by two points from last Monday to 36%-30%.
Conspiracy theorists will no doubt point out that the Belize-based billionaire is a former Conservative party vice-chairman and uber-donor, but the man dubbed ‘Lord Polldemort’ by Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel would rather be right than Tory, frankly.
Add in the last Guardian/ICM poll giving Ashcroft’s old mates a three-point lead and it doesn’t look good for Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Common sense suggests Cameron and co’s recent claims that a Labour/SNP pact after the election will marginalise England, put the union in peril and ultimately wreck the economy, have cut through to swing voters south of the border.
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond should probably have refrained from saying he’ll be writing Labour’s budget after the election too, whether it was a (pretty mirthless) joke or not.
There’s also the ‘Shy Tory’ factor that confounded the pollsters at the 1992 election, when Labour looked set for a narrow victory, only for the other lot to secure their biggest ever vote (numerically, as opposed to share) under John Major’s watch.
However, a Conservative overall majority in this election is still unforeseeable at 7/1, considering they didn’t manage as much in 2010 when up against the dying embers of Project New Labour.
A do-over of the last five years, in the form of another Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, holds some appeal at 7/2, but Nick Clegg’s imperilled yellows may not manage to grab enough seats to prop up the Tories on their own, and are highly unlikely to form a pact with either Ukip or the DUP.
With that in mind, a Conservative minority administration, dependent on confidence-and-supply support from the likes of Ukip, the DUP, and the right wing of the Lib Dems, looks just about the best value in Ladbrokes’ post-election government market at 4/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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