After 18 months of relentless political drama, generating the biggest ever betting markets in our medium, the summer has felt slightly weird. Sure, there are ongoing Brexit negotiations, rumours of Tory leadership bids and daily Donald Trump developments but, on the political betting front, it has been relatively quiet.
That’s because long-term markets will always struggle to compete with those producing imminent results. While reluctance to tie up money for a long or undefined period is understandable, it can be something of a misnomer. For if you play a popular market such as Trump Exit Date, liquidity is consistently strong enough to enable cashing out whenever you choose. To secure a profit, one merely needs to correctly predict the short-term trajectory.
In UK politics, the best market in that regard concerns which party wins the Most Seats at the next General Election. Though scheduled for 2022, as we saw earlier this year it could be called at any given moment up to that latest possible date.
However long it lasts, we can expect many ebbs and flows. During the last two full parliaments – 2005-2010 and 2010-2015 – the odds about both Labour and Conservatives fluctuated wildly, with both trading heavily odds-on. So here’s my first of what will doubtless be many trades during the parliament – back Labour at 2.1, for the following five reasons.
1 – Labour have been ahead in the polls since the election
The dramatic polling surge that saw Labour deny the Tories another majority actually arrived slightly too late. Another week and they would likely have fared slightly better, particularly in Scotland. What was a 20% deficit when the campaign started became less than 3% by June 7th, and has since become a consistent, albeit small lead.
They have led 17 of 20 polls since the election, recording less than 42% only twice. That suggests a pretty solid bank of support – unlikely to disintegrate any time soon. As Max Liu mentioned yesterday, local election results are also very promising.