GE2017 – Tracker – Monday 5th June

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 363.5 – 24hr change = +2

Labour: Av u/o seats = 208.5 – 24hr change = -1

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


Spreadex | Con 365-371(24hr = +3)| Lab 199-205 (0) | LD 11-13.5 (0)

Sporting Index | Con 366-372 (+4) | Lab 197-203 (-2) | LD 11-13.5 (-1.5)

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


On Saturday evening I was digesting the six opinion polls that had been published and preparing a post when news of the London Bridge terror attack began to filter through on Twitter and the 24 hour news channels. As was the case with the Manchester bombing, national campaigning was suspended and I felt it would not be appropriate to publish a betting update at that moment.


A theme of the election, certainly in the last fortnight of the campaign, has been the wide range in opinion poll figures. This trend continued over the weekend with polls putting the Tory lead at 12pts, 1pt, and pretty much everywhere inbetween. The consensus appears to be that this divergence can be attributed to the differences in each polling company’s weighting methodology, in particular to what extent they believe younger voters will turn out.

In translating vote share to seats, the difference between a 12pt and 1 pt lead would likely be the difference between a handsome Conservative majority and a hung parliament.

For what it’s worth, my own (rather dull) opinion is that the actuality lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, Corbyn’s campaign has engaged previously apathetic groups – the 18-24 demographic being one such – nevertheless, the turnout percentage implied for younger voters in the more Labour-optimistic polls are rather too high to credit.

Of course, as the cliché goes, the only poll that really matters is the one on Thursday. Looking at the betting, the Tories appear to have weathered the Corbyn surge. Indeed on the spreads and fixed odds Tory seats have nudged up a couple over the last 24 hours.

The quotes about Conservative seats are much the same as we saw at the start of the campaign. Meanwhile, Labour quotes are a good 30 seats higher and the Lib Dems 25 lower.

The Conservatives are (generally) 1/10 to win the most seats and 1/4 (shorter in places) to claim an overall majority.

A constituency bet that appeals is Tulip Siddiq to hold Hampstead and Kilburn for Labour – 4/11 with Paddy Power. Labour’s surge appears to be stronger in London than anywhere else in the country, making this a generous price for the hold.


GE2017 – Tracker – Wednesday 31st May – The end of May?

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 369.5 – 24hr change = -10

Labour: Av u/o seats = 202.5 – 24hr change = +13

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 11.2 – 24hr change = -0.3


Spreadex | Con 364-370 (24hr = -10)| Lab 196-202 (+14) | LD 12-15 (-1.5)

Sporting Index | Con 365-371 (-10) | Lab 196-202 (+10) | LD 13-15 (-0.5)

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


High drama overnight as The Times published a YouGov poll/prediction/model/forecast (no one quite seems sure what it actually is) suggesting the Tories are set to lose 20 seats on June 8th and we’d end up with a hung parliament.

It’s an extraordinary prediction given that throughout the campaign the question has been how large the Tory majority will be, not whether they manage to win one at all.

The forecast has been met with some scepticism and it’s worth bearing in mind that yesterday a ComRes poll gave the Tories a fairly comfortable 12pt lead. Nevertheless, YouGov’s numbers are driven by a poll giving the Conservatives 42% and Labour 38% – certainly close enough that Tory losses from 2015 are possible.

As you’d expect, the betting markets have responded by shifting up expectations of Labour seats and, again, slashing (I think we can sensibly use that word) Tory lines. On the spreads for example, Spreadex moved its Labour quote up 14 and the Tories down 10. Nevertheless, the betting at this stage still implies a Tory majority of 80 or so.

Conservative most seats is still best price 1/12 and a Tory overall majority 1/6. However, Corbyn is now as short as 9/2 to be PM after the election.

If you’re a YouGov believer it’s worth looking at the constituency betting for opportunities. For the prediction to be realised Labour would need to gain a chunk of seats from the Tories and in many of the party’s top target constituencies, the Labour candidate remains odds against.

Taking the target list from psephologists Rallings and Thrasher, Paddy Power offer the following for Labour wins in the Conservatives’ most marginal defences:

Gower 2/1

Derby North 10/3

Croydon Central 2/1

Vale of Clwyd 9/4

Bury North 7/2

Morley & Outwood 4/1

Thurrock 7/1

Plymouth Sutton & Devonport 5/1

Brighton Kemptown 6/4

Bolton West 13/2

From that list the two Welsh seats (Gower and Vale of Clwyd) as well as Bury North and Bolton West look like exceptional bets. I’d leave Thurrock as I think we’ll see the UKIP collapse help the Tories there and whispers suggest the Tories are doing OK in Plymouth.

Good luck and remember to keep breathing.

GE2017 – Tracker – Sunday 28th May – We need to talk about Nick

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.

con maj.png

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.

nick clegg.jpg

GE2017 – Tracker – Friday 26th May – Corbyn closes the gap

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 384.8 – 24 hour change = -3 Week change = -13

Labour: Av u/o seats = 182.8 – 24 hour = +3.7 Week = +16

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 12.5 – 24 hour = 0 Week = 0


Spreadex | Con 375-381 (24hr = -8)| Lab 179-185 (+7) | LD 14-17 (+0.5)

Sporting Index | Con 378-384 (-6) | Lab 179-185 (+7) | LD 14-17 (0)

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


Once upon a time the biggest danger faced by the Conservative campaign was complacency. The idea was that the Tories were so far ahead in the polls and Mrs May’s personal ratings so superior to those of Mr Corbyn that voters would assume the election was a fait accompli and not bother to go the polling station.

There was a thought that the prospect of Corbyn getting into Number 10 needed to be real enough to engage the electorate. Without it, apathy may undermine a stonking majority.

Well CCHQ, be careful what you wish for. Yesterday’s YouGov poll had the Conservative lead over Labour down to just 5 points. The narrative is shifting from the size of the Tory majority to whether there will be one at all.

Only a week ago The Spectator, with its tongue only partly in cheek, published a list of ten Labour candidates that Tory voters ought to lend their vote to for the good of Parliamentary democracy. No such moderate largesse in evidence now; with the polls narrowing, every seat will be crucial in justifying Mrs May’s decision to go to the country early.

Looking at the betting over the last two days, not surprisingly we have seen significant moves to Labour both on fixed odds and the spreads. However, more surprisingly, despite Labour’s momentum in the polls bookmakers are still predicting a comfortable majority for Mrs May.


The challenge in the constituency betting is identifying where shifts in polling reveal value.

I like the look of the 6/5 Paddy Power offer for Rupa Huq (Labour) to hold Ealing Central & Acton. Although Huq defends a small majority (274) I feel this west London seat could well be an easier hold for Labour than, say, Eltham in SE London where Labour incumbent Clive Efford is 15/8 to hold.

GE2017 – Tracker – Thursday 25th May – Democracy persists

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 387.8 – Week change = -11.3

Labour: Av u/o seats = 179.2 – Week change = +18.3

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 12.5 – Week change = -0.3


Spreadex | Con 383-389 (Week = -10)| Lab 172-178 (+10) | LD 13.5-16.5 (-0.5)

Sporting Index | Con 384-390 (-8) | Lab 172-178 (+12) | LD 14-17 (0)

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


Local campaigning resumes today after an electoral truce in the wake of the dreadful events that took place in Manchester on Monday evening.

The callous bombing of a pop concert has claimed 22 lives; it will leave scars both physical and emotional on hundreds more.

Without doubt an act of terror of this scale changes the shape of an election: priorities change and perspectives shifts – but democracy’s persistence is democracy’s triumph.

It seems a long time ago now that Theresa May was widely ridiculed for her U-turn on Conservative manifesto commitments around social care. Reversing on the so-called ‘dementia tax’ was read as a desperate bid to mitigate Labour’s strengthening in the polls.

Indeed, the weekend saw the Labour average seats line swell to around 170 (from a low point of 156.5 in the aftermath of the local elections). Labour’s improvement squeezed the Liberal Democrats – down to under/over 12.5 seats across the board – and tempered enthusiasm for a Conservative party that previously had seemed unstoppable.

Many voices – some more rational than others – have speculated as to what the Manchester terror attack means for the parties’ election prospects. Looking at the betting, the impact for the time being is minimal. Whilst I haven’t published blog updates over recent days, I have still tracked the prices. Labour’s upwards trend continues with the current seat quotes of 179.5 (Paddy Power and Ladbrokes) and 178.5 (SkyBet) the highest of the campaign so far with the respective bookmakers.

However, the Conservatives remain in comfortable territory. Labour’s improved polling – in particular a barometer showing that party had retaken the popular vote lead in Wales – might have diluted talk of a crushing Tory landslide, but the narrowest GB poll gap we’ve seen so far still gives the Conservatives a 9pt advantage. Yes Labour numbers are improving and that might help candidates to cling on in defensive marginals, but the gains from Conservatives that Mr Corbyn would need to consider forming a government are still unlikely.

Having said that, given Labour’s national poll bounce and the remarkable swing in Wales, I make Labour a decent bet in Gower – where they are 7/2 to win with Paddy Power. The seat is an ultra-marginal having been taken by the Conservatives by just 27 votes in 2015.

Labour held Gower for pretty much the entirety of the 20th Century. The unpopularity of Mrs May’s manifesto suggests there’s a good chance they’ll get the seat back in the red column this time.

david gower 02.jpg

Gower in play

GE2017 – Tracker – Thursday 18th May

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 399.2 – 24hr change = 0 | Week change = 0

Labour: Av u/o seats = 163.8 – 24 hr = +1.6 | Week = +5

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 12.8 – 24 hr = -1| Week = -2.7


Spreadex | Con 393-399 (24hr = -1)| Lab 162-168 (+4) | LD 14 – 17 (-0.5)

Sporting Index | Con 392-398 (-5) | Lab 160-166 (+5) | LD 14-17 (0)

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


A new poll from Ipsos Mori supports a trend we’ve seen in the betting markets over recent days. Namely that Labour support is strengthening, but appears to be strengthening at the expense of the Liberal Democrats rather than the Conservatives.

You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for the Lib Dems. This election was meant to be their big moment. Plucky Tim Farron was supposed to harness the power of the 48% to make the Lib Dems relevant once more. The #LibDemfightback has singularly failed to materialise and today the party is down to (another) new low seats line: 12.5 with Paddies and Ladbrokes.

There’s a good piece here from the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush on where it’s all gone wrong.

Neil Monnery (@neilmonnery) is doing some great work on Twitter tracking party odds in Lib Dem held seats and Lib Dem marginals.

His contention is that essentially every incumbent Lib Dem seat is in play and even the party’s leader and former leader can’t be certain of a return to Westminster (Farron is 1/7 to win Westmorland & Londsdale, Clegg 1/8 for Sheffield Hallam – not short enough for comfort).


Whilst the fixed odds Tory seat lines have seen no change over the last week, there are bigger moves on the spreads. Sporting Index call Con seats down 5 from yesterday and move Labour seats up 5 to 160-166 (that’s still down 10 from the opening quote of 170-176 on April 21st).

We’ll see tomorrow what impact, if any, the reception and digestion of the Mrs May’s Tory manifesto has on the betting.

GE2017 – Tracker – Wednesday 17th May – Up for Dennis

Conservatives: Av u/o seats = 399.2 – 24hr change = 0 | Week change = 0

Labour: Av u/o seats = 162.2 – 24 hr = +0.7 | Week = +3.3

Lib Dems: Av u/o seats = 13.8 – 24 hr = -0.7| Week = -1.7


Spreadex | Con 394-400 (24hr = -1)| Lab 158-164 (+2) | LD 14.5- 17.5 (0)

Sporting Index | Con 397-403 (+3) | Lab 155-161 (-1) | LD 14-17 (-1)

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


Selected others:

PM after general election:

Jeremy Corbyn: Best price 12/1 (Unibet) but as short as 5/1 (William Hill)

Theresa May: Best price 1/20 (Various), as short as 1/33 (also William Hill, come on lads!!)

Labour under 100 seats: 16/1 (SkyBet)


For a week now not one of our three sample bookmakers (PaddyPower, Sky, and Ladbrokes) has moved its under/over Conservative seats line. The Labour line has drifted back up to a level similar to that before the locals. The Lib Dems, however, continue to slide with both SkyBet and Ladbrokes offering 5/6 under/over 13.5 seats. With the strong possibility of the party making a handful of gains in west London and a spattering of constituencies in the South West also in play, the time is right to go over Lib Dem seats.

Come on Tim! We need you to be winning somewhere!


Rumours circulating in the pubs of Westminster that even some of Labour’s safest seats could be in trouble.

Dennis Skinner, the beast of Bolsover, is a Commons stalwart having first taken his seat in 1970. Paddy Power have the Conservatives 7/2 to take the seat. Meanwhile, deputy leader Watson is 4/11 to hold on in West Bromwich East. In elections gone by these seats would be hundreds-on bankers for Labour. However, add 9,000 or so UKIP votes to an apparently toxically unpopular Labour leader and you have a recipe to overturn 10,000 vote majorities.

On the 9th of June will we be asking ‘Were you up for Dennis?’


My attempts to turn roving vox pop political reporter during my time in Chicago have hit the wall. Few Americans know the UK is having a general election, fewer care.

Interestingly, Brexit does have cut through here – most likely because it’s lumped in with Trump as part of the ‘populist’ / ‘post truth’ phenomenon. The names Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are met with blank lack of recognition; Boris Johnson is the only UK politician that appears to have any profile. “He’s like the British Trump,” said one man.