Betting on politics: next week’s election

It’s easy to forget that when the current UK election campaign was called, Labour was sitting at around 25% in the polls, the Tories were expected to get half the popular vote, and people were talking about the  Lib Dems regaining most of the seats that they had lost at the last election. Fast-forward to the present, and YouGov is talking about a hung parliament, with Labour actually gaining seats.

As much as I’d love to believe this, I still think Labour will do badly. As pollster Deborah Mattinson of consultancy BritainThinks notes, there are many “shy Tories” – those who dislike Theresa May’s policies and won’t back them in public, but will vote Conservative in the privacy of the ballot box, thanks to their greater dislike of Jeremy Corbyn. It’s also worth noting that Lord Ashcroft’s projections have Labour getting 180 seats – more than initial estimates, but still a Tory landslide.

However, one trend that will be borne out by the polls is the underperformance of the Lib Dems. While I’m tempted to tip a punt on Nick Clegg losing his seat in Sheffield Hallam, I’ll leave that to braver souls. Instead, I’ll go with Labour’s Neil Coyle being re-elected in Bermondsey and Old Southwark, with Paddy Power at 4/6 (60%). Labour are doing relatively better in London than elsewhere, while any personal vote that former MP Simon Hughes may have had is long gone, thanks to policies pursued under the coalition government.

Either way, I think Corbyn will go within the next 12 months, though perhaps not voluntarily. My guess is that his successor will be a woman, probably Yvette Cooper. I’ve also heard people mention Lisa Nandy. So, I’ll tip Cooper at digital odds of 5.5 (18.2%) with Betfair, and Nandy at traditional odds of 14/1 (6.7%), with Betfred. That gives combined odds of 24.8%. In this case, I’d place £7.32 on Cooper and £2.68 on Nandy (per £10 bet).