Betting on politics: Labour inches higher

In recent polls, Labour has climbed higher, says Matthew Partridge. The betting markets, however, remain unimpressed.


Jeremy Corbyn's Labour are edging higher in the polls
(Image credit: 2017 Getty Images)

In the past few days, Labour has inched upwards in the opinion polls towards around 30%. The betting markets are unimpressed, however. Sporting Index has Labour winning 156-162 seats (a mid-point of 159), in line with projections made by political analyst Martin Baxter of 166 seats and Lord Ashcroft's "big data" estimates of 152 to 164, depending on turnout (with a higher turnout favouring Labour). While I think that Labour will end up with more seats than this, I don't feel confident enough to recommend that you start spread betting.

However, one result of the general pessimism surrounding Labour's chances is that you can still get surprisingly good odds on some formerly ultra-safe Labour seats. One such seat is Erith and Thamesmead. In 2015, Labour won the seat with a majority of 9,525, getting just under half of the votes. Given that Ukip will be standing again, it's going to be very hard for the Conservatives to achieve a big enough swing to dislodge sitting MP Teresa Pearce, so I'd grab Paddy Power's 3/10 (76.9%) on Labour winning.

Birmingham Yardley is an even more interesting seat. At the moment it is held by Jess Phillips with a majority of 6,595 over the Liberal Democrats, with the Tories in fourth place behind Ukip (who will be running a candidate again this time). As the area heavily voted to Leave, I think that Labour will have no problem fending off the Lib Dems (especially since the Liberals' national campaign seems to be going nowhere fast), so I'd go with William Hill's 4/7 (63.6%).

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Finally, there is Redcar. This is another Labour/Liberal Democrat seat in a heavily Leave area. However, given that Labour's majority is over 10,000 votes, and the Liberals only won in 2010, it's a bit of a misnomer to consider it "marginal". Overall, Anna Turley should have absolutely no problem holding onto it, which makes Paddy Power's 2/9 (81.8%) a good value bet.

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