Saturday, October 06, 2007
No election after all
Posted by David Smith at 06:45 PM
Category: Thoughts and responses

After all the speculation, there will be no autumn general election after all. A YouGov poll of nearly 1,800 people for The Sunday Times showed the Tories on 41% and Labour 38%, a three-point lead, an astonishing turnaround from Labour's 11-point lead with the same polling organisation a week earlier. An ICM poll for the News of the World in the 83 most marginal constituencies - admittedly based on a smaller sample of just over 1,000 - shows a six-point Conservative lead, 44% to 38%. Both polls suggest that Labour would lose its overall majority in an election. Gordon Brown appears to have decided that discretion is the better part of valour.


David and others,

In trying to make sense of all the white noise of election speculation, I wonder if you ever consult the betting markets to check the latest probabilities for the next overall majority.

In particular, I use one in particular - Betfair - where punters can both back and lay bets. In effect, people can trade probabilities and from the wisdom of crowds emerges probably the best estimate of election fortunes, without the profit margins of the betting companies confusing things.

Following the PM's announcement yesterday, the probability of a Labour majority at the next election has fallen from around 55% to under 40%, still the most likely outcome. The Conservatives have seen their probability of winning rise from 17% to 25%, still behind no overall majority at 35%. The poor Lib Dems have 0% chance of winning.

Interestingly, England's probability of winning the World Cup is just 10%, after yesterday's other big news.

Posted by: Paul C at October 7, 2007 12:20 PM