Can Galloway hang on in Bradford West?

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George Galloway is closing in on favouritism in Bradford West. Available at 3/1 last year, he’s now only 5/4 and I could easily see him taking over at the head of the market before long.

Until relatively recently, it wasn’t clear that Galloway would actually be standing again. The word was that Respect was a busted flush as a party in Bradford, and he might be more interested in preparing a run at London Mayor. Now it looks as if the local Labour party is in a mess, with news that the PPC has stepped aside less than a week after winning the nomination.

The 2012 by-election was a sensational upset, and a very costly result for Ladbrokes, as Galloway had been backed in from 33/1. He didn’t just win, he absolutely hosed up. It’s easy to see why people might now be thinking he is a good bet to hold the seat in May.

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You can find Ladbrokes’ odds on every seat in Britain here.

Why are the Tories favourites?

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Exactly one month ago, the Ladbrokes betting suggested the race to be the biggest party after the election was an exact coin toss, with both the Tories and Labour quoted at 10/11. Now, the Tories are pretty strong favourites; the odds imply there is a 58% chance they will come out with most seats.

What’s changed? Well, not the polls; the averages have been very consistent for about five months now. It’s very close, although Labour leads continue to be more common. Here is the tracker provided by the excellent May2015 site.

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The political science models have moved towards Labour in recent weeks. That’s because they build in an expectation that the polls will drift towards the Conservatives in the weeks leading up to election day. That doesn’t seem to be happening yet, and the clock is ticking down, hence Labour’s slim advantage has more chance of holding. The Tories probably need to have around a 2% national vote share lead on polling day to win most seats.

Given all of that, the moves in the betting markets don’t seem to make a lot of sense. I think it’s a result of more and more people actually starting to think about the election the nearer we get, and a very large number of those people believing that Ed Miliband is too much of an electoral liability to become PM, irrespective of what the polls say.

Tory backed from 100/1 to 33/1 for London Mayor

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Syed Kamall has been backed in from 100/1 into 33/1 to be the next Mayor of London. It’s not at all clear who the Tories might pick as their candidate, but Kamall looks like a perfectly plausible candidate, being an MEP for the London region; he is 10/1 to be the Conservative candidate.

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London is essentially a Labour city at the moment, with Labour coming out on top in the 2010 general election, 2014 European elections and currently about 10 percent ahead of the Tories in polling for May’s general election. In most years, it would take a pretty special Conservative to beat any competent Labour alternative for the Mayoralty. Other than Seb Coe, who says he’s not interested, it’s hard to spot any other possibles with the star power to keep City Hall in Conservative hands.

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I don’t suppose very many Londoners have the slightest idea who Kamall is at the moment, so there’s a lot of work to be done there. I would imagine the best chance for any Tory in 2016 would be against the background of a weak and unpopular Labour government. It’s also possible that we might get a mayoral by-election sometime earlier, if Boris decides not to serve out his term for whatever reason. It’s not impossible that he’ll become Tory leader in the meantime, in which case Londoners may be voting this autumn.

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Ladbrokes: Just 3/1 for Labour to lose popular vote but win most seats.

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The chances of the Tories winning the popular vote but ending up with fewer seats than Labour are now rated at just 3/1 by Ladbrokes.

Thanks largely to Labour’s more efficient vote distribution, a narrow Tory vote advantage will probably translate into Labour winning most seats. A few months back, it looked like the Conservatives would need to be at least 2.5% ahead to ensure they were the biggest party. That figure is probably a little lower now as a result of Labour’s woes in Scotland.

There is also every chance that UKIP will win many more votes than the Liberal Democrats and finish with far fewer seats. However, the argument that the Lib Dems are now doing well from the First Past The Post system doesn’t really stack up. Even if they got the 7% vote share which they are averaging at the moment, a directly proportional number of GB seats would be 44. Ladbrokes currently rate them as favourites in just 31 constituencies.

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How many seats will the Scottish Tories win?

Ladbrokes released some odds today on how the Conservatives will get on in Scotland on May 7th. We make it Evens that they stay on their current total of one seat.

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Our individual constituency odds show that they are pretty strong favourites to hold on to their existing seat and that they have three reasonable chances to add to it:

Seat 2010 win Lab odds Con odds LD odds SNP odds
Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweedale Conservative 7/1 2/5 100/1 3/1
Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk Lib-Dem 100/1 7/4 5/6 7/2
Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine Lib-Dem 100/1 3/1 5/2 4/5
Dumfries & Galloway Labour 1/2 9/2 100/1 3/1

Whilst 2010 saw a grand total of zero seats change hands in Scotland, it’s now perfectly possible that a majority of the constituencies will do so this year. Looking at the latest Ladbrokes odds on each individual seat, the Scottish seat totals would break down as follows if the current favourites were to win in each constituency:

  • 39 SNP (+33)
  • 16 Lab (-25)
  • 3 LD (-8)
  • 1 Con (n/c)

It’s worth checking out Steven Fisher’s excellent piece on the situation in Scotland. In particular, he points out that Labour shouldn’t be expecting any help from Tory or Lib Dem voters in their bid to stop the SNP.

UKIP now favourites in seven seats

Seat 2010 Winner UKIP Win %
Clacton Conservative 84.4%
Thurrock Conservative 57.9%
Thanet South Conservative 57.3%
Boston and Skegness Conservative 57.0%
Castle Point Conservative 52.7%
Rochester and Strood Conservative 51.7%
Great Yarmouth Conservative 39.9%

Above are the seven constituencies in which UKIP are now outright favourites to win, according to Ladbrokes latest odds. The UKIP Win % is the implied chance of them winning the seat based on our odds in every single constituency in Britain, which you can find here.

The most recent move has been in Rochester, where Mark Reckless improved from joint to outright favourite today. The immediate betting reaction to their by-election win had been that the Tories were likely to take it back in May – that’s no longer the case.

Although UKIP are narrow favourites in Great Yarmouth, their chances are rated at less than 50% as this looks like a tight three way marginal; we’ve seen a little bit of money for a Tory hold in recent days.

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