Betting on politics: a political contest Down Under

Political betting expert Matthew Partridge weighs the odds on the Batman by-election in Australia.


The Labor party has nominated Ged Kearney

With Aussie flu rampaging around the UK, it's only appropriate that our first tip this week should be a political contest Down Under. The Batman by-election is yet another vote prompted by the revelation that many well-known MPs had dual New Zealand citizenship (making them ineligible for parliament). The twist is here that incumbent MP David Feeney has decided not to stand, sceptical that he can retain a seat that he only held onto in 2016 by the skin of his teeth.

Instead the Labor party has nominated Ged Kearney, in the hope that she can appeal to voters who have switched to the Green party due to anger over the controversial Adani mining project. Paddy Power isn't convinced and has her at 3/1 (25%) to win the seat, compared with 2/9 (81.8%) for the Green Party candidate. The Liberal candidate is at 25/1 (3.8%), reflecting the fact that the party got less than 20% of first preferences in 2016. I think the Labor candidate represents value, so I'm suggesting you bet on her.

Returning home, Jacob Rees-Mogg now seems to be front-runner to succeed Theresa May as Conservative leader. Smarkets have him at 5.1 to be the next leader (19.6%). The next favourite is Boris Johnson at 8.2 (12.1%), with Amber Rudd at 11.5 (8.6%). I think markets are wildly overestimating Mogg's chances, given there are plenty of others with leadership ambitions, and polls suggest that his appeal, even with the Conservative membership, is limited.

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So I'd suggest that you lay Mogg at odds of 5.5, equivalent to betting on him not being leader at odds of 1.22 (82.1%). As previously stated, to lay a candidate on Smarkets, you click on the blue box (not the green box) next to their name and specify the stake that you will accept. In this case you should offer £1.81 per £10 betting unit.

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