The two seats the Tories need to win

If you want to reduce the election to just two constituencies, here are today’s candidates: Keighley & Sherwood.

Based on Ladbrokes’ odds on every seat in the country, we can calculate the tipping point contests which could decide the election. If the Tories are to remain as the largest party, our latest odds suggest they will have to win 281 seats. Their 281st most likely win, as implied by those odds, is Keighley.

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Labour narrow favourites to win, which is strange in some ways because the Tories are currently marginal favourites to win most seats. Lord Ashcroft polled the seat back in October and found Labour ahead by 6%.

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I might expect it to be a little closer if it were polled today, given that the national surveys have moved slightly towards the Conservatives since. One of the crucial factors here is how that 23% UKIP vote holds up. If the Tories can win a few of those back, and perhaps if the #GreenSurge causes a few Labour voters to switch, this could be on a knife edge.

If they want to win a majority, we need to look at their 326th most likely win; Sherwood.

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An unexpected tipping point seat, given that the Tories hold it already and don’t have a majority. The betting implies that they have 325 more likely seat wins, though. A tiny 214 vote majority for the Conservatives and Ashcroft has already polled it twice.

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Similarly to Keighley, there is a very high UKIP vote here and I would assume that incumbent MP Mark Spencer will be targeting that in a bid to achieve re-election.

You can find our latest odds on every seat here.

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Next Labour Leader: Liz Kendall odds tumble

Possibly as a result of The Independent on Sunday article above, we saw some money on Liz Kendall to become next Labour leader today. Her odds have been cut from 50/1 to 20/1.

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You can find our latest next Labour leader odds here.

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Ladbrokes make Farage favourite for new TV debate format

We won’t actually have any real odds available just yet, but if the seven party leaders all turned up, we think the betting would be something like that.

I suppose there must be some doubt as to whether Wood for PC or Sturgeon for the SNP would be their party’s representatives. I imagine Sturgeon would do very well, although I’m not sure whether many English viewers will declare her the winner. In my opinion, it will be much more difficult for Clegg, Cameron and Miliband to make an impact in this sort of contest.

If these go ahead (let’s hope so), we’ll settle the “winner” as whoever comes top in the first post-debate YouGov poll, where they tend to ask respondents who they thought won the debate, or something similar.

Tories take over as General Election favourites

For the first time since March 2012, we now make the Conservatives favourites to win most seats at the general election.

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Polling data over the last few days has been reasonably favourable for the Tories, without showing anything particularly dramatic. Two factors in particular have been key:

  • Continuing polling evidence of a solid SNP lead in Scotland
  • A “Green Surge” which could enable the Conservatives to hold on to a number of seats where the left vote splits.

Even when Labour were a lot further ahead in the polls, political punters have been reluctant to back them. Here is the percentage of money staked since we opened the market immediately after the 2010 election:

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The overwhelming majority of punters want to be with the Tories and now the odds reflect that. You can find our full range of general election odds here.

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The Five Seats that a Green Surge could hand to the Tories

Whilst the Greens’ odds in places like Bristol West & Norwich South have shortened a little in recent days, the more significant betting moves have been in seats where a Green Surge have improved the odds of a Tory victory.

Below are five seats in which the Conservative odds have shortened as a result of an expected improvement in the Green vote. These aren’t seats that anyone really expects the Greens to win; anyone who disagrees can take advantage of the odds on a Green gain in each constituency, which I have helpfully included.

I’ve also shown the current forecast vote share for each seat as projected by the excellent electionforecast site.

Cons Lab Greens Green Odds
Brighton Kemptown 37% 35% 10% 25/1
Hove 36% 34% 14% 25/1
Stroud 35% 37% 12% 25/1
Norwich North 34% 31% 11% 50/1
Bristol NW 33% 32% 7% 66/1

So, in four of these seats, the projected Green vote share easily covers the projected Tory majority. In the other, Stroud, it’s making the outcome a whole lot closer than it might otherwise be.

Of course, not every Green voter is someone who would otherwise vote Labour. I expect there are a lot of people in there who otherwise wouldn’t bother to vote, as well as a lot of ex-Lib Dems. All the same, I think the Labour challengers in each of these seats will be pushing a “Vote Green, Get Tory” message, and I don’t think anyone could really blame them for that.

You can find our odds on every GB constituency here.

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The Ladbrokes’ Election Forecast

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Ladbrokes have odds on every individual constituency in Britain, which you can find here. Our election forecast is simply the result that would occur if the current favourite in every seat were to win. These markets have been running for several months now, so are a good representation of where the money has been going across the country.

  • 296 Labour
  • 273 Conservatives
  • 31 Lib Dems
  • 22 SNP
  • 5 UKIP
  • 3 PC
  • 1 Green
  • 1 Speaker
  • 18 Northern Ireland

The full list of the 77 seats changing hands (from the 2010 results, so ignoring by-elections) is as follows:

37 Lab Gains from Cons 9 Cons Gains from LD
Warwickshire North Solihull
Hendon Dorset Mid and Poole North
Cardiff North Wells
Sherwood St Austell and Newquay
Broxtowe Somerton and Frome
Stockton South Chippenham
Lancaster and Fleetwood Taunton Deane
Amber Valley Berwick-upon-Tweed
Waveney Portsmouth South
Wolverhampton South West
Carlisle 8 SNP Gains from Lab
Morecambe and Lunesdale Ochil and Perthshire South
Stroud Glasgow North
Weaver Vale Falkirk
Lincoln Dundee West
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Aberdeen North
Warrington South Ayrshire North and Arran
Dewsbury Linlithgow and Falkirk East
Bedford Dunbartonshire West
Brighton Kemptown
Pudsey 8 SNP Gains from LD
Corby Dunbartonshire East
Brentford and Isleworth Argyll and Bute
Enfield North Edinburgh West
Hove Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine
Hastings and Rye Gordon
Ipswich Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Nuneaton Inverness, N,B & S
Halesowen and Rowley Regis Fife North East
Northampton North
Bury North 9 Lab Gains from LD
Erewash Cardiff Central
Chester, City of Norwich South
Croydon Central Bradford East
Keighley Brent Central
Cannock Chase Manchester Withington
Ealing Central & Acton Burnley
5 UKIP Gains from Cons Birmingham Yardley
Thurrock Redcar
Great Yarmouth Hornsey and Wood Green
Thanet South
Clacton
Boston and Skegness

This is not the only way we could have built a forecast from our odds. If you total the probabilities of each party winning each seat, you’d find the SNP doing a few seats better (mostly at the expense of Labour) and UKIP doing a lot better. As it happens, I think the method above probably underestimates the SNP’s chances, which may indicate that there are still some good bets on them in some of the individual seats.

In the three seats where we have joint favourites (Worcester, Dudley S. & Devon N.), I have allocated the seat to the incumbent party.

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Greens go from 100/1 to 5/1 to win Bristol West

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If the Green surge is going to convert into seats, it’s pretty clear from Ladbrokes’ odds that Bristol West could become their second Westminster victory.

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A Green victory here would be very bad news for Ladbrokes; when we opened up our betting on the seat last July, they were 100/1. Now they’ve been backed down to 5/1 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that get shorter still. We hadn’t properly appreciated the recent local gains that the party had made here (after all, they won under 4% of the vote in the last general election).

The very large student population is undoubtedly a factor here. However, there are early indications that student registration on the electoral roll may fall as a result of Individual Electoral Registration, which might hamper the Greens more than any other party. The apparent large increases in Green membership may help them with the extra organisation and resources they will need to combat this issue.