Betting on politics: A leadership bid

Matthew Partridge explores a few punts on domestic politics - including the odds on the prime minister facing a challenge for the leadership.


Can Theresa May survive the summer?
(Image credit: 2018 Getty Images)

I'd like to explore possible punts on domestic politics, but first, we should note that my recommended bet on Jiri Drahos being elected president of the Czech Republic didn't pay off: he narrowly lost the run-off to Milos Zeman by a 51-49 margin.

Theresa May continues to face speculation about her leadership. If you agree with me that she'll be gone by next summer at the latest, the best odds you can get are Ladbroke's 5/4 (44.4%) on her going this year, and 2/1 (33.3%) on her departing in 2019. Smarkets' 1.61 (62.1%) on May not being PM by the time of the next election is another good bet that you should consider. However, if you've already put money on those bets when I tipped them last year, then don't increase your stakes.

So what new bets should you consider? Whatever happens, I definitely don't think that there will be a general election until next year. Any new leader will want to wait until Britain formally leaves the EU next March. While I've already tipped an election in 2019, 2020 or 2021, I'd recommend laying (betting against) an election this year. Smarkets offers slightly shorter odds of a vote taking place than Betfair 4.9 (20.4%) compared with 5.3 (18.9%). This works out to effective odds of 1.24 (80.6%) for those who are laying 2018.

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When you are laying something on Smarkets you click on the price to the right in the blue box (not the price in the green box). You then enter the amount that you are willing to lose. That is equal to the return for the person betting against you (backing'' the bet). In this case a stake of £2.06 will produce a negative return of £10 if an election ends up being called this year.

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