National polls are differing wildly but all agree the gap is narrowing. Regardless of their accuracy, that is good news for value-seekers. A problem with the early betting was that, given their enormous poll lead, constituency odds about the Conservatives were extremely prohibitive. That is no longer the case.
A crucial factor to remember in this election is that national swing has been declining in relevance for years. As the country re-aligns politically in the wake of two referenda and newer dividing lines, the key is to evaluate what is happening in each region, because the differences are stark.
Brexit demonstrated that the UK is becoming extremely divided between younger, metropolitan electorates and the rest. It is perfectly possible, for example, that Labour win big in London while losing seats nationally. That was precisely the case in 2015 and recent polls show them on 50% in the capital.
Likewise on the same night that they were obliterated across English council elections, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram won the Manchester and Liverpool Mayoralties by huge margins. Last week, with those trends in mind, I listed my best six pro-Labour constituency bets, based primarily on demographics and political trends. Naturally, the opposite trends apply when searching for the best Tory targets.
In their case, the most fertile territory are seats that voted heavily for Brexit. It has given Theresa May an opportunity to win lifelong Labour voters that none of her predecessors enjoyed. As UKIP unravel, their defectors now hold the balance of power in dozens of constituencies. The older and whiter the electorate, the better for the Tories.
The West Midlands local election results were nothing short of catastrophic for Labour, as UKIP supporters transferred en masse to the Tories. They’re not even standing in Northfield, so we must assume that the lion’s share of their 7106 voters will split for the Conservatives – almost three times the size of Richard Burden’s 2509 majority. This white working class seat has become the best Tory target in Birmingham and, after voting for Brexit, is set to turn blue for the first time since the 1980s.