General Election: Where’s Your Money Going?


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YET another political D-Day looms large on the horizon as the country prepares to go to the polls to cast their vote in the 2017 General Election tomorrow, but have the bookies got it right?

Opinion polls would have you believe that the seemingly unassailable lead the Tories had over Labour has been narrowing day-by-day. The latest are showing just a six point lead for the Conservatives with one poll from Survation predicting that lead to be as little as one point.

Some experts had estimated that the Tories would take as many as 56 seats from Labour, but deeply contrasting election campaigns have forced pundits to re-evaluate those views and they’re now predicting a much smaller majority than anticipated for Prime Minister Theresa May.

Bookies still favour May?

From a betting perspective the election looks like a non-event. May has shortened ever so slightly in the market to still be Prime Minister come Friday, narrowing from a best priced 2-9 on Monday to 1-5 (Ladbrokes, William Hill) today. Jeremy Corbyn’s odds have stayed fairly ‘strong and stable’ (apologies) at 9-2 (Betfair, Betfred), although he is as short as 7-2 with Ladbrokes.

But, I hear you all say, didn’t Trump and Brexit upset the odds? They did indeed, and in spectacular fashion. At one stage Donald Trump was a 150-1 dark horse to become President of the United States and right up until polling booths closed up and down the country on June 23rd 2016, Leave was available at 13-2 (Boylesports).

So that would make Corbyn a decent bet on Thursday right?

Well, no.

Yes, Corbyn has been playing to sell-out crowds wherever he’s gone and yes, the Conservative manifesto reads like the end of days but the battleground where Brexit, the Conservatives in 2015 and Trump’s victories were won was social media, or more specifically Facebook, and it looks like the Tories could tactically out-manoeuvre Labour in cyberspace again.

This brilliant piece by Mark Ritson explains in detail just how an election can be won without a TV debate, a charismatic leader, or a manifesto that plays to the masses. If you can target the marginal seats and specifically the undecided voters then you’re on your way to power and Facebook allows you to do just that. Here are some key points of his article;

  • In 2015 the Tories outspent Labour seven-fold on social media ads and 50 times more than the Lib Dems
  • The Vote Leave campaign spent 98% of its £6.8m budget on digital media
  • In 2015 the Tories were able to serve ads to 80% of Facebook users in key marginal seats thanks to Facebook’s own data
  • Segmentation of Facebook users allow the targeting of specific groups such as ‘Worried Brexiteers’ or ‘Skeptical Socialist’ and to serve them tailor made ads, sometimes personalised in a micro manner based on a user’s likes and preferences.
  • You will never see the vast majority of the ads since they are designed for and will be served only to targeted users

So with a fair wind, a bigger budget and proven experience of utilising the power of Facebook to deliver victory I’m more inclined to believe that the Conservative Party can score another tactical victory at the polls.

So where is there money to be made?

UKIP are just 1-6 (BetVictor) to win zero seats this time round so expectations are low and that presents some better value opportunities when it comes to constituency betting. The Conservative Party are most likely to benefit by picking up disaffected UKIP supporters and places such as Hartlepool and Workington will be high on their target list.

In Hartlepool the Tories and UKIP cut each other up in 2015 leaving Labour to take the seat. If Tories can win back the UKIP vote then odds of 11-10 (Betfair) could be value. They are buoyant after winning the Tees Valley Mayoralty but need at least half the UKIP vote to overturn Labour.

You should also keep an eye on nearby Darlington in the Tees Valley region. Conservative held the seat in 1992 and if 60% of UKIP’s vote turns to Theresa May it’ll regain the constituency from Labour at 2-5 (Betfair)

It’s a similar story in Workington with the Tories at 5-4 to take it. It’s a pro-Brexit seat by a 60/40 margin and if around two-thirds of UKIP’s 7538 votes from the last election can be converted to Tory it could be another blue victory.

In Scotland the SNP could be in for a rude awakening. Support for a second independence referendum appears to have cooled  and a more positive display from the Scottish Conservatives in the recent local elections have led some pundits to predict a resurgence for the Tories north of the border.

Indeed poll aggregators Britain Elects reckons there are up to eight constituencies in Scotland where the Conservatives are polling at an over 50% chance of winning.

On the flipside there also exists a real desire to put Theresa May out of power at Westminster among a large number of Scots. Some will see a vote for Labour as the best way to do that and their socialist manifesto as well as the ‘Corbyn-factor’ will appeal to former Labour heartlands who have more recently drifted to the nationalists.

There’s currently 54 SNP MPs at Westminster but the line at the bookies has been set low at 46.5 this time round. I think SNP will lose ground but it’s a tough call on just how much. If pushed I’d take the 5-6 on them falling below the 46.5 watermark.

Let me know in the comments if you’ll be betting on tomorrow’s election.

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  1. Profile photo of uno
    uno 6 months ago

    LABOUR over 200.5 seats
    Coral / Ladbrokes

    I said this yesterday – the last time Labour fell short of this mark was 82 years ago and even the most pessimistic current projections have them at around 210 seats. I think these two have priced this wrong as Sky, b365 and Boyles all have over 209.5 at these odds.


    LABOUR to win Leeds North West

    LABOUR to win Gower

    LABOUR to win Sheffield Hallam

    LABOUR to win Plymouth Sutton & Devonport

    • Profile photo of Mr Fixit
      Mr Fixit 6 months ago

      Your tips have inspired admin to put up a General Election post.
      Whatever everyone decides to vote tomorrow – make it count.

      • Profile photo of uno
        uno 6 months ago

        Indeed – over 600,000 registered today alone which unsurprisingly is a record. Good to see so many previously disinterested people engaged this time.

      • Profile photo of elvis parsley
        elvis parsley 6 months ago

        Next prime minister ” howling laud hope’
        Monster raving loony party.
        And here’s why.
        Tax payers to receive Nectar Points from HMRC

        The Loony Party will Nationalise all Political parties.. and if they don’t keep their manifesto promises.. we will sell em off.

        We will nationalise crime to make sure it doesn’t pay

        Due to the fact that the Government have made cuts in almost everything around. the loony party proposes to cut the letters of the alphabet..
        Starting with the letters N. H. and S

        Educational funding
        The Loony Party proposes that all Schools would have a Jumble sale or fete or other fundraising event at least twice per month to help raise funds for those little extras.. such as Desks, Books, paper, pens etc.

        Electoral Change
        The Loony party propose that voters will get a 30 day cooling off period during which, if you change your mind, didn’t like the result, or didn’t know what you were voting for, you can get your vote back.

        Reduce the voting age to 16 (carried forward from our 1983 manicfesto) ..(nicked by labour))

        Imigration policy
        One in one out (carried forward from our 2015 manicfesto (nicked by UKIP))

        Pensions or How to get the grey vote…
        In keeping with the Labour Party’s latest bid to get one or two pensioners to vote for them they have brought out a new policy guaranteeing the Triple lock on pensions until 2025 if they get voted in..The Loony party of course will go one better and buy a very large padlock,

        We shall replace the Trident missile.. with a three pronged fork

        Economy & Pensions
        We will further complicate the UK tax system so that large companies can no longer find loopholes.

        We will change the English symbol of three lions to 3 badgers. How often do you see lions running round the countryside?

        All Food sold in fast food establishments should be clearly marked “May contain traces of real food”

        Social Media
        All Social Media sites to be taken down for one day a year for a “Remember when we used to talk” day.

  2. Profile photo of craigyboy
    craigyboy 6 months ago

    Labour over 203.5 on SkyBet now seems to be the best price at 5/6. Considering they got 230+ under Milliband I would suggest they will easily eclipse this figure. Momentum is definitely with Corbyn IMO, who has massively turned round his level of support and I’ve got a feeling May could be resigning Friday morning. I’ve had a cheeky few quid on Labour to get most seats but this is obviously a tall ask. Then again who would have predicted Brexit and Trump getting in? The Conservatives have ran a shambles of a campaign and I know of a few people who would normally vote Tories have switched allegiance to Labour.

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