Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 388.8 – 24hr change = 0
Labour: Av u/o seats = 160.2 – 24hr change = 0
Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 23.8 – 24hr change = 0
Spreadex | Con 385-391 (24hr -2)| Lab 158-164 (-1) | LD 24.5-27.5 (+0.5)
Sporting Index | Con 385-391 (-1) | Lab 160-166 (+2) | LD 25-28 (0)
(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)
There was not a great deal of movement in the fixed odds lines over the long weekend. Whilst the three sample bookmakers (PaddyPower, Sky, and Ladbrokes) broadly agree on Conservative seats (high 380s) and Lib Dem seats (line oscillates around 24), there is some difference of opinion around Labour. Sky have been offering under/over 152.5 for a week now, a good bench of seats below Ladbrokes, who seem to have settled on 162.5, and Paddies, 165.5.
I doubt we’ll see these prices move significantly until after the results of the local elections (May 4th) are known.
A quick look at the individual constituency betting and a fascinating race is shaping up in Stoke Central. This seat was held for Labour by Gareth Snell in a by-election (triggered by the resignation of Tristram Hunt) in February. Snell saw off the much publicised challenge of UKIP leader Paul Nuttall to claim a 2,620 majority (turnout was a measly 38.2%). Perhaps most interesting though is the Conservative, Jack Brereton – by all accounts little more than a paper candidate, managed 5,154 votes – only 80 or so behind Nuttall.
With UKIP on the wane, does this seat come into the range of Tory targets? The bookies seem to think so; Paddies bet it Labour 8/11, Conservatives 6/4 (UKIP an unattractive 6/1).
The seat has been Labour since the constituency was formed in 1950. However, the Labour vote has been softening and the party hasn’t won over 50% of the vote here since the 2005 election. The fact this is now a Con/Lab marginal is illustrative of Labour’s struggle in its Midlands heartlands. Gareth Snell’s barely had time to find his Commons office – does he risk being booted out to face a future as a pub quiz question?
As for Mr Nuttall himself, he has announced he will stand in Boston and Skegness. Boston has the dubious accolade of being the UK’s most Eurosceptic area, with over three-quarters voting to Leave in the EU referendum. Nevertheless, Nuttall is 8/1 for the seat, with the Tories at 1/40.
Failing to recognise the sites of his chosen constituency surely won’t help Nuttall’s chances; although he believes his time pitching for the Red Sox will work to his advantage.