Congratulation to the Tories who can be very pleased with the outcome which beat pretty much everyone’s forecast. Obviously, not very good for Labour or the Lib Dems, but personally I’m not reading too much into their results which were in line with market expectations.
I don’t think this was a particularly good outcome for UKIP. They are entitled to spin 25% as a creditable performance, but I expect they will actually be quite disappointed. Newark was not exactly ideal territory, but it’s pretty much bang in the middle of English seats in terms of demographics for them. The truth is that they have come nowhere near winning despite investing considerable resources and having been the clear challengers for most of the campaign. It also seems quite likely that there was a degree of anti-UKIP tactical voting occurring. It certainly vindicates Farage’s decision not to stand here and I doubt he would have done much better than Roger Helmer.
How many seats will UKIP get at the general election?
A very tricky question to answer. Here are some odds that Ladbrokes have released today.
- Evs Over 1.5
- 2/1 Over 4.5
- 7/2 Over 9.5
- 5/1 Over 19.5
- 6/1 Over 29.5
- 8/1 Over 39.5
- 10/1 Over 49.5
As you’ll see from the betting, 1.5 could be described as our “central forecast”. But what if you were creating a spread market? For the other three main parties, I expect a spread mid-point would be pretty much the same as the 5/6 over/under bets that the fixed odds markets produce. But if you put a UKIP seat spread up of 1-2, you would get trampled on in the rush to buy at 2.
UKIP MEP Diane James got a bit of stick for suggesting that 50 or 60 seats was a possible outcome. Not very likely, but certainly not out of the question. I’m not sure where I would put a spread line – maybe 4-5?