UKIP must be the value bet to win Oldham

UKIP must be the value bet to win Oldham

Turnout will be pivotal, and recent history bodes ill for Labour on that score

In general, by-elections are the hardest political markets to predict. Opinion polls are even less reliable than usual, asking a mid-term question that only a small minority of engaged voters have spent more than a few minutes considering.

Recent UK by-elections have seen some highly unpredictable results, particularly in supposedly safe Labour seats.

In 2012, George Galloway’s Respect pulled off an enormous upset in Labour-held Bradford West on a whopping 53% swing. In 2008, the SNP took Glasgow East from Labour on a 22% swing. Labour were rated in excess of 90% likely to win on the Betfair market on both occasions.

In 2006, the Lib Dems won Dunfermline and West Fife, after Labour had been matched at the minimum odds of 1-100. In all three cases, the seats returned to their natural owners at the next General Election.

Galloway aside, the big by-election story of the last parliament was the rise of UKIP. Nigel Farage’s insurgents took two Tory seats by wide margins, and finished second in a spate of contests in safe Labour seats. In Eastleigh, they came within a whisker of taking this high-profile Lib/Con marginal.

Thursday’s contest in Oldham West & Royton would, in normal times, be very low-key. Labour would expect to hold it, with UKIP almost certainly finishing a respectable, if distant, second. But these are not normal times.

Click here to read the full article for @BetfairExchange




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