Ladbrokes have some betting on Thursday’s Tower Hamlets Mayoral Election.
Incumbent Lutfur Rahman has been the subject of a fair amount of controversy since his election in 2010. Being the subject of a prime time Panorama investigation is not likely to have been helpful to his chances, even if the allegations were a bit underwhelming.
Still, he absolutely hosed up last time out.
So, is 7/4 a good bet for someone who won by miles previously? Political punters don’t think so. We opened up with Rahman at 5/4, but the majority of the money has been for Labour candidate John Biggs, backed in from 4/7 to 2/5.
Perhaps backers of Biggs are assuming he will pick up the vast majority of second preference votes, assuming it goes to a second round (I expect it almost certainly will). I wouldn’t want to be relying on that, because voters aren’t all that good at using their second preferences sensibly. Only just over half of all possible second preferences in the 2012 London Mayoral election went to either Boris or Ken, despite it being perfectly obvious that they were the only possible runners in the second round. If Biggs isn’t very, very close in the first round, the chances of him overtaking Rahman are slim. Peter Davies managed to overturn a first round deficit in Doncaster in 2009, but I’m not sure when else it has happened?
It’s best to be a little wary into reading too much into betting patterns in an event like this. It’s a pretty thin market and, as some Rahman supporters have politely pointed out to me on twitter, he was the outsider last time as well. Having said that, he was backed in from 6/4 to 5/4 in 2010, so it was by no means a huge shock.