Betting on politics: the Labour leadership

Already nearly £1m has been wagered on the Labour leadership contest, with the betting markets casting their vote in favour of Corbyn.

Last week the ballots were sent out in the Labour leadership contest. Already nearly £1m has been wagered on the contest and, while we won't know the results until 24 September, the betting markets have cast their vote in favour of Corbyn. After a YouGov poll showing that Corbyn could win as much as 62% of the votes, Betfair has his digital odds at 1.07, an implied probability of over 93%. The traditional bookmakers aren't offering anything better than William Hill's 1/8 (89%).

Of course, opinion pollsters get things wrong, as in the referendum. And it's much harder to gauge the opinions of the Labour selectorate, as opposed to the wider public. I think that Corbyn will win, but with a smaller share of the vote say 55%, compared with the 59.5% he won last time. Such a result could give Labour MPs hope that they could get rid of him as early as next year. Indeed, there are moves afoot to restore the previous voting system, which gave MPs a third of the votes.

In previous columns I've already tipped Corbyn to be forced out before the next election (with Betfair) and to get less than 59.5% of the vote (with Ladbrokes). Ladbrokes has rapidly adjusted its markets to reflect the new information and is now offering 5/6 (54%) on the incumbent getting less than 61.5%. If you previously followed my advice, then I'd advise you against putting any more money on this bet but if you have yet to wager, then it might be worth considering.

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Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri