Will the Lib Dems get wiped out in this week’s Euro elections?

Ladbrokes have a market on how many seats the Liberal Democrats will win in Thursday’s European elections. They won 11 in the last vote in 2009.

  • 0 seats 7/2
  • 1 seat 4/1
  • 2 seats 4/1
  • 3+ seats 11/10

We’ve taken a lot of money on the two outside options, which would both be losing results for us. Three or more would be particularly unwelcome, as that has been backed down all the way from our opening quote of 7/2.

This market has behaved a bit like the way the betting often goes in a football match. Most people with a strong enough view want to back one of the teams to win. The draw is almost always a nice result for the bookies. In this case, very few people have opted to back either one or two seats. Here’s the way the money taken has broken down so far.


Predicting an exact number of seats here is tricky, thanks to the D’Hondt system of seat allocation used for these elections. From my reading of the polls, some of which have given us some information about the regional breakdowns, the Lib Dems have three pretty good prospects of winning a seat, which I would put in the following order of likelihood:

  1. South East
  2. London
  3. South West

But, in each of these cases, it could easily come down to a fraction of a percent either way as to whether they win a seat in the region. In London, it could just come down to whether they can out-poll the Greens. Iain Dale has produced a nice round up of each of the regions – if his predictions are correct, the Lib Dems will get a total of one; a seat in the South West.

The margins are so fine, that there could be a lot of luck involved in the outcome of this market, but I think the odds are a little skewed to the 0 or 3+ options. It’s always best to be wary when a bookmaker tips one of his own prices, but in this case I think there might be a little value here. At a push, I’d recommend exactly 2 seats at 4/1 as a very fair bet.


“Yes, £25 at 4/1 please”


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