On the betting markets the debate has changed nothing

November 20th, 2019

The betdata.io chart shows the last five days on the Betfair exchange and as can be seen there was almost no movement. The Tories are still rated by punters as having a 65% chance of securing a majority.

This verdict is very much the same as what many leading commentators are saying but I wonder whether the instant view is correct. In the past the on the night judgements have been less than an accurate guide.

One thing we’ve learned from US TV debates is that the impact on public opinion can more relate to how the contenders looked and handled themselves rather than what was actually discussed.

At WH2008 the fact that McCain never looked at Obama in the first debate became a post event issue and was seen as a big negative.

I thought that Johnson’s big mistake was to repeatedly talk over the moderator and never stick to the time limits. This came over as him believing that the rules don’t apply to him and at times it looked like bullying. . Thankfully the studio audience took him down a peg or two with their derisory laughter.

Corbyn’s clearly rehearsed statement on anti semitism was pushing it a bit too far and he got a negative reaction from the audience. I don’t think that a lot of what he said LAB had done will stand up to scrutiny thus ensuring that anti semitism will continue to be an issue.

I look forward to the post-debate leader ratings.

Mike Smithson


And the big verdict – most voters found the debate frustrating

November 19th, 2019


And so to the first leaders’ TV debate of GE2019 – without a remainer

November 19th, 2019

Watch live on PB from 8pm GMT


Given that Beaconsfield went Remain the odds on the Tory look too short and Grieve too long

November 19th, 2019

The latest Beaconsfield betting


I’m planning a short series of posts on the betting in interesting seats and number one, for me, is Beaconsfield where the former MP and prominent anti-Brexiteer, Dominic Grieve, is trying to hold on.

At GE2017 Grieve won with a whopping 65.3% of the vote nearly 44% shead of LAB in second place. Back at the pre-coalition GE2010 the LDs came second with just under 20%.

Grieve’s helped by the fact that the LDs have stood aside and this looks like a straight battle between him and the Tory candidate, Joy Morrissey. Her line of attack is summed up in this comment “Voting for the independent candidate is essentially a vote for Corbyn” which I assume is being used all over the country.

The big question is how much of the Tory vote will stick with the incumbent who has built up a national profile and all also likely to have a personal vote. You can also see tactical voting from LAB supporters in an effort to defeat the Tory though how strong that will be given Grieve’s former party is hard to say.

UKIP did reasonably well there at GE2015 getting 13.8% of the vote.

Overall Beaconsfield went Remain by a very small margin and I would guess that a significant slice of Tory remainers will go with Grieve.

Against that the Tories are likely to be much better organised though I wonder whether Grieve might be getting some assistance from the LDs.

I’d still make Morrisey the favourite but 1/4 does not look like value at all.

Mike Smithson


Johnson starts debate day with punters rating his chances of a majority at 66%

November 19th, 2019

My betting strategy for tonight

One thing’s for sure – tonight’s debate will either confirm or raise doubts about Johnson’s chances of leading his party to an overall majority on December 12th. There will be a lot of betting on this market tonight.

The Tory record with debates is not that strong. Cameron was taken aback by Nick Clegg being deemed to “winner” of the first TV debate in April 2010 and this prompted the betting market to mark down sharply the chances of a Tory majority.

In 2015 the judgement on the night of a multi-party debate was split between Cameron and Miliband but the incumbent PM went onto to secure an overall majority something that came as a huge shock on the betting markets.

At GE2017 TMay decided that she wasn’t going to face Corbyn in a debate and this became a huge campaign issue in the closing days. Many suggested that her decision not to be there cost her party her majority. It is no doubt the memories of the last three general elections that have guided Johnson’s approach. Yes to TV debates against Corbyn but don’t risk involving the LD leader.

As the betdata.io chart of the Betfair majority betting shows the Tories are in a commanding position and at a 66% betting chance only a touch down on this week’s peak.

I’ve decided to lay (bet against) a CON majority on this market. My reasoning is that a Johnson debate victory is almost priced in and if that’s what happens I’ll be able to get out at little cost. On the other hand what’s deemed a draw or a Corbyn victory could raise doubts about Johnson’s ability to secure a majority which will send the price down. If that is how it turns out I’ll be able to get out at a profit.

Mike Smithson


Why Johnson’s TV debate strategy could be a mistake

November 18th, 2019

Great thread from the New Stateman’s Stephen Bush


LAB and the LDs slipping on the Commons seats spread markets – Tories powering upwards

November 18th, 2019


And on Betfair CON Majority reaches record high


A 14% CON lead would give Johnson the margin to stuff the ERG

November 18th, 2019

Survation adds to the LDs misery

A new poll was published by Survation overnight and as can be seen the Lib Dems are the worst hit down 4 points. This means that the last two polls to be published, Deltapoll is the other one, have had very poor news for Jo swinson’s party.

Interestingly these two polls have been from firms which have been leading the way with constituency only surveys the majority of which have been very encouraging for the Lib Dems. The latest round for three London seats from Deltapoll, published in yesterday’s Observer, had them within striking distance in Wimbledon and Kensington.

Maybe what we are seeing is opinion hardening up in both leave and remain areas of the country.

What CON poll leads on the Survation scale do is make the prospect of a Corbyn premiership more remote with LAB facing its fourth successive general election defeat.

If indeed the Tories do romp home with a double digit lead on votes then that would give Johnson a very clear majority in terms of seats which could make him more immune from the ERG faction within his party. There’d be much less risk of ERG rebellions which made the final days of TMay’s tenure at Number 10 such a misery.

There is a wide view that Johnson is not a true believer in Brexit but that he used its cause to help him win the leadership and become PM.

Maybe we are getting ahead of ourselves. It used to be that general election campaigns only last last three weeks. The last one in a winter, February 28th 1974, was actually called on February 7th. What is now the legal standard of a minimum of five weeks gives plenty of time for moods to change.

Mike Smithson