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GE2017 – Tracker – Tuesday 6th June – A story of five elections

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 361.8 – 24hr change = -1.7

Labour: Av u/o seats = 209.5 – 24hr change = +1

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 10.8 – 24hr change = -0.3

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Spreadex | Con 358-364 (24hr = -7)| Lab 205-211 (+6) | LD 10.5-13 (-0.5)

Sporting Index | Con 358-364 (-8) | Lab 204-210 (+7) | LD 11-13 (-0.25)

(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)

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Whilst there’s no sign of herding in the opinion polls, there does seem to be consensus between the two major spread betting companies. Spreadex and Sporting Index now have their respective party seats quotes within a point of each other.

Over the last day, following the publication of a Survation poll showing the Tory lead at a mere 2pts and the YouGov model still predicting a hung parliament, we’ve seen a pretty big move in the betting with Con seats down to 358-364. That’s the lowest quote of the campaign so far, but even at its bottom end would still give Mrs May a majority over 60.

Thanks to Sporting Index for doing my work for me in producing this infographic illustrating how the seat quotes have shifted over the course of the campaign:

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Moving towards polling day, my sense is we are looking at (at least) five distinct elections across the country:

Northern Ireland has its own set of parties, issues and electoral history. As such, what happens in the Ulster seats doesn’t really play much part in the Con-Lab battle. However, worth bearing in mind that the DUP and UUP are much closer to the Conservatives than Labour; so in the event of a hung parliament seats won by the unionist parties could be crucial in allowing the Conservatives to continue governing.

Scotland: the battle in Scotland has been drawn on unionist vs nationalist lines. The SNP took all but 3 of the Scottish seats in 2015 and in 2017 are defending against a resurgent Scottish Tory movement led by Ruth Davidson and to a lesser extent a Scottish Labour party licking its wounds from last time. The Tories, Labour and Lib Dems are all targeting a handful of gains from the SNP. With the appetite for independence seemingly on the wane the SNP hegemony could be under threat. Look out in particular for Moray where the Conservatives are looking to oust SNP deputy leader Angus Robertson.

London: Thinking back to the EU referendum a year ago I recall feeling very confident of a Remain victory. For days all I had seen around the capital were Remain posters and enthusiastic Remain canvassers; the Brexit result was a stark reminder that the political mores of London are quite out of step with the rest of England. I anticipate a similar dynamic in play this time: Corbyn’s Labour will have most success in London. London is a Labour-leaning city and the Labour campaign has engaged the first-time voters and millenials concentrated in the city. Labour will hold onto its defensive marginals such as Ealing Central & Acton and Hampstead & Kilburn and has a good chance of taking seats like Battersea from the Conservatives. If the Lib Dems are to have any success it is likely to come in re-gaining seats such as Twickenham from the Conservatives and Bermondsey & Southwark from Labour.

‘L’Angleterre profonde’: middle England, the provinces call it what you will – beyond London (and perhaps other metropolitan centres like Manchester and Liverpool) I think things will be much more difficult for Labour. The ground campaign is reporting that the Corbyn surge is not in evidence north of Watford Gap (see this blog from Labour Uncut for more detail). To do real damage to the Conservatives’ chances, Labour needs to be winning seats like Nuneaton in the Midlands or Bolton West in the North. By all accounts Corbyn is not an electoral asset in such seats. Indeed, Labour is on the defensive in seats with up to 5,000 majorities from 2015. I believe the Conservatives might offset any losses suffered in London with gains from Labour in the rest of England.

Wales: polling early in the campaign suggested the political wind had changed in the principality and the Conservatives may beat Labour in vote share for the first time in a century or so. If the Tories’ difficult campaign has had an impact anywhere it is Wales with recent polls showing Labour to have emphatically reasserted its historical advantage. Conservative held marginals such as Gower could well be in danger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GE2017 – Tracker – Friday 2nd June

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 366.5 – 24hr change = -1

Labour: Av u/o seats = 202.8 – 24hr change = +1

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 11.2 – 24hr change = -0

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Spreadex | Con 364-370 (24hr = +2)| Lab 198-204 (0) | LD 11.5-14 (-0.5)

Sporting Index | Con 362-368 (+1) | Lab 199-205 (+1) | LD 12.5-14.5 (0)

(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)

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Breaking news this morning that Conservative candidate for South Thanet Craig Mackinlay has been charged over election expenses relating to the 2015 election.

We know Conservative campaign apparatchik Lynton Crosby is fond of the ‘dead cat’ strategy – that is if you throw a deceased feline onto the table people will talk about that to the exclusion of other issues. But could this corpse just be too rotten?

GE2017 – Tracker – Tuesday 30th May

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 379.5 – Week change = -10.9

Labour: Av u/o seats = 189.5 – Weel change = +14

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 11.5 – Week change = -1

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Spreadex | Con 374-380 (24hr = -1| Lab 182-188 (+1) | LD 13.5-16.5 (0)

Sporting Index | Con 375-381 (-1) | Lab 186-191 (+4.5) | LD 13.5-15.5 (0)

(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)

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The consensus amongst the commentariat and twitter politicos was that last night’s May vs Corbyn interviews on Channel 4 saw Jeremy put in his most polished performance in his time at the helm of the Labour party. Monsieur Zen dealt calmly with audience questions and managed to communicate Labour’s core pitch to the electorate; he deftly deflected Paxman’s attack dog style with humour and bewilderment. Mrs May was noticeably less relaxed by comparison. However, she does appear (finally) to have taken some of the sting out of the social care policy botch and her ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ line on Brexit appeared to find favour with the studio audience.

Corbyn’s media training team certainly deserve credit for the more polished performance their man has put in of late, but a certain amount of that good work must have been undone by JC’s performance on Woman’s Hour today. JC went all a bit Ben Swain as he struggled to offer costings for Labour’s universal childcare policy. Diane Abbott’s grilling over police numbers earlier in the campaign shows these moments do have ‘cut through’ and Corbyn’s blank (during which the Zen mask slipped briefly) will be tonic to a beleaguered Tory campaign command.

The betting shows a further narrowing of the gap between the Tories and Labour. However, taking either the average fixed odds seats line or spreads midpoint as a guide, the bookmakers are still suggesting a Tory majority close to 100.

A couple of points of note:

Firstly, a decent middle has opened up on Labour seats. You can go over 184.5 with SkyBet and under 195.5 with Paddy Power. It’s 5/6 either side, so back both for £60 and you’re effectively risking £10 to win £100.

Secondly, Sporting Index have reduced their spread sizes on Labour and Lib Dem seats. Labour spread is down to 5 (from 6) and the Lib Dem spread down to 2 (from 3)

GE2017 – Tracker – Wednesday 10th May – Fox Hunt

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 399.2 – 24hr change = -0.3 | Week change = +10.7

Labour: Av u/o seats = 158.8 – 24 hr = +1 | Week = -2

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 15.5 – 24 hr = -0.7 | Week = -7.7

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Spreadex | Con 398-404 (24hr = +3)| Lab 154-160 (+2) | LD 16-19 (0)

Sporting Index | Con 395-401 (0) | Lab 154-160 (+1) | LD 16-19 (0)

(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)

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The big news today is the CPS’s decision not to prosecute Conservative MPs over alleged expenses irregularities during the 2015 campaign. One case, South Thanet, does remain open as this file was received later and separate from the other allegations.

No discernible Tory bounce in the markets at the moment, but perhaps check tomorrow to see if slipping the Battle Bus sword of Damocles sees Conservative seat lines soar above 400.

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Looking at the campaign as a whole, after the betting markets settled in the first few days after May’s snap announcement the trends we have seen are the Labour predicted seats line staying fairly consistently around 160; the Conservatives edging up towards 390 and then getting a 10 point bounce after the locals; and the Lib Dems experiencing attrition as every day the line drifts down a seat or two, today reaching a low for the campaign of 15.5.

Graph below shows the daily changes in the fixed odds seat line average. Eye-catching is the big spike/dip responding to Conservative gains in the local elections. But notice also how the Lib Dem line has spent most of its time in the negative and how, despite the attention being on Corbyn, the locals hit the Lib Dems harder than Labour in the betting markets.

24hr change graph.jpg

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Elsewhere on the stump, Theresa May has promised a free vote on fox hunting (with hounds) if she should win the election. But what of her party’s own Fox Hunt?

Dr Liam Fox can feel pretty safe in North Somerset: he took over 50% of the vote in 2015 and is 1/200 to hold the seat. However, don’t call the dogs off Jeremy Hunt just yet. In South West Surrey the beleaguered Health Secretary is facing a challenge from the National Health Action (NHA) candidate Dr Louise Irvine. She stood in the constituency in 2015 and took a respectable 4,851 votes; this time she is helped by the Greens standing down and Labour and Lib Dems fielding paper candidates, promising not to campaign in the seat.

Her task is a tough one, Hunt won in 2015 with close to 60% of the vote and is 1/50 to hold the seat. The 10/1 Paddy Power offers about the NHA party feels a little skinny but there is form for such campaigners unseating unpopular incumbents. The ‘Health Concern’ candidate Dr Richard Taylor won Wyre Forest in 2001 around the single issue of saving Kidderminster A&E – remarkably he held the seat in 2005 and was only narrowly defeated in 2010. And who can forget the white-suited Martin Bell unseating the sleaze-soaked Neil Hamilton in Tatton at the 1997 election.

Whilst there are many across the country who would love to see Hunt toppled, my instinct is the wily Jeremy will have enough support to hold on.

jiri-sifalda-35036.jpg

GE2017 – Tracker – Thursday 4th May – A Straight Choice

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 388.5 – 24hr change = 0

Labour: Av u/o seats = 161.5 – 24hr change = +0.7

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 22.8 – 24hr change = -0.4

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Spreadex | Con 390-396 (24hr +3)| Lab 155-161 (-1) | LD 24-27 (-1)

Sporting Index | Con 384-390 (0) | Lab 161-167 (+1) | LD 22-25 (-2)

(2015 result | Con 330 | Lab 232 | LD 8)

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Ding ding! A new high for the Conservatives – 390-396 seats spread offered by Spreadex is the highest of the campaign. And a new low for the Lib Dems – the under/over 21.5 seats available at Ladbrokes is the smallest so far (Paddy Power had under/over 34.5 Lib Dem seats the day after the calling of the election).

Local elections today, but don’t worry, there’s no need to burn the midnight oil to watch the results roll in from leisure centres around the land. Outcomes from Scotland, Wales and the Shires (plus the ‘metro mayor’ races should anyone care) will drift in from 5am or so through the rest of Friday.

I recommend a follow of the excellent @britainelects on twitter for a thorough and accessible results service.

If you want a bit of interest, Andy Street (Con) to win West Midlands Mayor – 1/2 Ladbrokes – seems decent. Very positive noises coming from the ground for the ex-John Lewis man – ‘Never Knowingly Underpriced’.

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No elections in London today, but the Bermondsey & Old Southwark constituency is an interesting one in the general election. A marginal, it’s a ‘straight choice’ between the Liberal Democrats (4/6) and Labour (Evens) – not much sign of a progressive alliance here.

Simon Hughes (MP for the constituency 1997-2015) is attempting to win back the seat for the Lib Dems from his 2015 Labour vanquisher Neil Coyle. With a middling majority of 4,489 to overturn in an area that voted nearly 75% for Remain, Hughes could be a lot shorter than the 4/6 Paddies offer.