With all of the volatility in polling, to get a snapshot of what people are really thinking it is often instructive to look at the betting markets. Why? Because betting real money is like playing with live ammunition: There’s going to be no messing around. With polling, it is easy for activists and partisans to spin the data so that it seems favourable for their team, but if your own money is at stake, you have an incentive to interpret the data correctly.
So what are the betting markets saying? New research published by OddsMonkey analysing data from Smarkets, reveals that gamblers are giving Labour just a 17.86% chance – or 17/1 odds – of winning the most seats. Which is a long fall from being the odds-on favourite during the dying days of Theresa May’s premiership.
Here’s the odds of different election outcomes as things currently stand:
Conservative Majority – 1/2
No Overall Majority – 6/4
Labour Majority – 20/1
Conservative Minority – 13/2
Labour – Lib Dem – SNP Coalition – 14/1
Conservative – Brexit Party Coalition – 16/1
Labour – SNP Coalition – 18/1
Labour – Lib Dem Coalition – 25/1
Conservative – Lib Dem Coalition – 33/1
Lib Dem – SNP Coalition – 80/1
Conservative – Labour Coalition – 250/1
According to Oddsmonkey, the change in fortunes appears to have occurred around the moment when Boris Johnson saw off Jeremy Hunt and locked up the leadership of his party in mid-July. Similarly, since Johnson took over, polls have also showed an increase in support for the Conservatives.
So what does it mean? Should Labour activists down tools if the outcome appears to be clear? How things go on the trail could make a huge difference – especially given how, for example, we’ve already seen multiple viral videos of members of the general public berating Johnson about his response to the floods. And as discussed yesterday, there are still a number of potentially game-changing moments to go, such as the various election debate and the forthcoming NATO summit.
Perhaps then, a Tory win is inevitable. But then again, we only have to look back to 2017 to remember how Theresa May was soaring at top of the polls and betting markets – right up until the moment when she actually started campaigning.