Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 380.5 – Change since Friday PM = -4.3
Labour: Av u/o seats = 188.2 –Change since Friday PM = +5.4
Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 11.5 – Change since Friday PM = -1
Spreadex | Con 375-381 (Since Friday PM = 0)| Lab 181-187 (+2) | LD 13.5-16.5 (-0.5)
Sporting Index | Con 376-382 (-2) | Lab 180-186 (+1) | LD 13-16 (-1)
(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8
A feast of opinion polls yesterday evening with no fewer than five of the critters released into the wild. In the words of PT Barnum, the 19th century American politician and circus master (the jokes do themselves really), there was something for everyone: Labour closing the gap to single figures, a comfortable double digit lead for the Tories, evidence that the Corbyn surge was continuing and that peak Jezza has passed. The one consistent element? The Lib Dems and UKIP stuck in single figures.
ICM Con 46 (-1) Lab 32 (-1) Con +14
YouGov Con 43 (-) Lab 36 (-2) Con +7
ORB Con 44 (-2) Lab 38 (+4) Con +6
ComRes Con 46 (-2) Lab 34 (+4) Con +12
Opinium Con 45 (-1) Lab 35 (+2) Con +10
And the impact on the betting? Drumroll, fanfare, and curtain up… Negligible.
Barely a flicker in the predicted seats spread markets and the fixed odds average line showing a move to Labour mainly off the back of Paddy Power. Over the course of the weekend the Irish compiler revised its under/over Labour seats line up 14 to 195.5 (quite comfortably the high of the campaign so far) and pulled its Tory prediction down 10 to 375.5. The two other bookies in our sample, Ladbrokes and Sky Bet, have shown far less volatility.
Despite the fact Labour are polling much better than at the start of the campaign, the bookmakers still have Mrs May in for comfortable majority. The graph below shows the size of the Conservative majority implied by the average midpoint of the Spreadex and Sporting Index Tory seats quotes throughout the campaign.
Predictions of the Tory majority reached a peak just after the party’s impressive performance in the local elections. The spread firms briefly had quotes over 400 for Tory seats, which would equate to a majority in excess of 150. As the campaign has continued, with the social care U-turn and then the Manchester bombing, we have seen Tory seats quotes fall away – but less than two weeks from the election the implied majority is still north of 100 seats.
My view is there is still scope to Buy Labour seats and/or Sell Conservative seats. Expectation management it might be, but there are whispers coming from the Tory camp that the party would be happy with a majority of 60-80 seats. Mrs May is staggering to the finish line whilst Mr Corbyn does seem invigorated by the campaign. Getting with Labour on the spreads offers more realistic hope for success than backing Labour most seats (best price 8/1) or a Labour majority (best price 20/1) with the fixed odds firms.
I’ve been building up a few spread positions over the last week and am currently short at 380 Cons and long at 169 Labour. Should the Labour quote ever touch 200 I may well be persuaded to trade out before polling day.
We need to talk about Nick
One of the most fascinating constituency battles of the election is rumbling on in Sheffield Hallam where former leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg is facing a fierce fight from Labour to hold onto his seat.
Back in the heady days of the 2010 election campaign at the height of ‘I agree with Nick’ Clegg-mania there was a national YouGov poll that put the Liberal Democrats ahead of both Labour and the Conservatives in GB share of the vote. However, this failed to translate into an electoral breakthrough, indeed the Lib Dems suffered a net loss of seats in 2010. Clegg’s decision to take his party into coalition in the Conservatives proved devastating to its electoral prospects and at the 2015 election the Lib Dems managed to hold only 8 of 57 seats. Clegg was one of the survivors but his majority was reduced from 15,284 to 2,353 and there was a school of thought that he only kept his head above water on account of tactical voting from Sheffield Conservatives as a ‘thank you’ for getting Dave into Number 10.
Labour are pouring a great deal of effort into this seat and with tactical Tories migrating back to May and a national Liberal Democrat campaign that has failed to capture the imagination, I like the look of the 7/2 that Ladbrokes offer for Labour to topple Clegg.