This piece was first published on Tuesday 10th December for gambling.com
In previewing this general election over several months, I’ve put up two positions available on the political betting sites – Conservatives to win most seats at 4-5, No Overall Majority at 4-6. According to the betting, the first is nailed on at 1-20 with BetVictor, with the second increasingly unlikely at 4-1 with Betway. So where are we and what result will emerge on Friday morning?
The polls are catastrophic for Labour. Opinium record them trailing by 15%, Survation by 14%. The latter was vindicated for its outlier predictions in 2017. At the other end of the scale though, the 6% lead with Comres would likely produce no overall majority.
Critically, there is little evidence of dramatic movement at this late stage. The Tories are consistently polling in the low forties. Labour have risen primarily due to transfers from Lib Dems – perhaps tactical considerations where Labour are better placed to beat the Tories.
Nevertheless, there are still numerous unknowns in this snap general election. The Brexit Party are still taking a decisive share in Labour-held constituencies. If it transfers late to the Tories, dozens more targets come into play. Equally if tactical voting reaches new heights (I expect it will), it has the potential to take dozens of Tory-held seats and deny them a majority. An interesting few weeks of political betting lies ahead.
Turnout Trends Could yet Favour Either Side
Plus as ever, differential turnout could blindside the polls, as we saw in 2017 and the 2016 referendum. Again, this could work either way. Remainers are better motivated and the rise in youth registration is a very positive signal. Nigel Farage keeps saying that many Leavers will stay at home, disgusted by the Brexit paralysis.
However on the other hand younger cohorts are always less reliable voters than the overwhelmingly, pro-Brexit and Tory, over sixties. They make up the bulk of postal votes, which have already been cast and are therefore not contingent upon what effect Storm Atiyah has on turnout this Thursday. A good Labour performance is reliant on getting voters out on the day.