Top Kipper Tipper predicts six seat wins for UKIP

Matthew Goodwin, co-author of Revolt on The Right, gave an overview of UKIP’s prospects at a Ladbrokes hosted event today. His headline tip was for UKIP to win six seats, which is a 10/1 shot with Ladbrokes at the moment.

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He was extremely bullish about Nigel Farage’s chances in Thanet South, speculating that the Tories and Labour might be quite close to winding down any real attempts to stop a UKIP victory here.

We also heard a fascinating analysis of the Green surge from James Dennison who was very confident that Caroline Lucas would hold on in Brighton Pavilion. He predicted that Bristol West would be the focus of most other resources from the national party and, consequently, a gain in Norwich South was extremely unlikely.

You can see a short summary from Matthew, James and myself here:

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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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.

Could the Greens beat the Lib Dems at the General Election?

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We’ve cut the odds on the Greens out-polling the Lib Dems in 2015 from 5/1 to 4/1 today. That follows last night YouGov poll which put the Greens ahead.

Pretty staggering considering that at the last general election the Liberal Democrats got twenty five times as many votes as the Greens. There’s a good Telegraph article here which highlights some of the main issues behind the Green rise in the polls.

I think there are a couple of factors which would make me slightly wary about taking the 4/1 though.

1. How many candidates will they stand? In 2010, the Greens stood in just 310 UK constituencies i.e. under half. This time they are reported to be aiming for three quarters, which would be something around 490. No matter how bad things get for the Lib Dems, I’m sure they will still be on the ballot in the 631 seats outside of Northern Ireland (and the Speaker’s seat).So the Greens would have to get 28% more votes per seat contested than the Lib Dems to outscore them nationwide. That might not be as difficult as it sounds; presumably the seats they won’t contest will be the less favourable ones for them anyway.

2. Will they fade away in the campaign? If the current TV debate proposals go ahead, then Nick Clegg will be in two of the three debates. The Greens won’t feature in any. The Green’s most skilled media performer, Caroline Lucas, will be busy trying to hang on to their one seat in Brighton Pavilion (she’s currently a marginal favourite), so the face of their campaign will be leader Natalie Bennett, who hasn’t convinced everybody yet.

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How many seats will the Greens win at the general election?

Until recently, most of us had been assuming that the Greens would have enough of a job holding on to their one seat in Brighton Pavilion. Perhaps an outside chance in Norwich South, but that was about it. Some good recent national opinion polls have led to speculation that they might do a bit better than that.

Let’s have a look at their chances in the 12 target seats mentioned in The Guardian, as indicated by the current constituency odds at Ladbrokes:

Seat Win 2010 %Maj 2010 Green Odds
Brighton Pavilion Green 2.4 10/11
Norwich South Lib-Dem 0.7 6/1
Bristol West Lib-Dem 20.5 10/1
St Ives Lib-Dem 3.7 25/1
Sheffield Central Labour 0.4 25/1
Holborn & St Pancras Labour 18.2 25/1
Liverpool Riverside Labour 36.5 25/1
Solihull Lib-Dem 0.3 33/1
York Central Labour 13.9 33/1
Oxford East Labour 8.9 33/1
Reading East Conservative 15.2 33/1
Cambridge Lib-Dem 13.6 50/1

Bristol West came as a bit of a surprise to me when people started backing it at 100/1. Now 10/1, that would be a very expensive result for Ladbrokes. Perhaps not quite as bad as Brighton Pavilion in 2010, which was one of the biggest betting contests out of all 650 UK constituencies. Caroline Lucas only just scraped home back then, but the Greens had been backed in from 5/1.

Norwich South was their number two target at the last election, and there’s not reason why they couldn’t go close again in 2015. If, as expected, the Liberal Democrats are turfed out with a vastly reduced vote, the seat is very much up for grabs between Labour and the Greens. I’m starting to think 6/1 might be a big price there.

It looks like their other hopes are mostly seats with big student/university populations and classic Guardianista territory. It looks a big ask for them to actually win any of these, so we’re quoting 25/1 that the party wins six or more seats next May.

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