Betting on politics: the odds on the date of a general election

Punters are betting that a general election in Britain will happen sooner rather than later. Matthew Partridge looks at the odds.

Election party rosettes © iStockphotos

With £604,856 already matched on Betfair, punters clearly think that a general election in Britain will happen sooner rather than later. An election this year is the favourite at odds of 1.53 (65.3%). The other options are 2020 at 3.7 (27%), with 2021 at 36 (2.7%) and 2022 at 17 (5.9%) now seen as longshots. Personally, I'm very happy that I tipped an election in either 2019, 2020 or 2021, back in August 2017.

But instead of putting any more money down on it, I suggest that you take a look at another Betfair market that has sprung up on the month that the election will be held. A total of £134,789 has been matched so far. Although you can still bet on an election taking place this month or in September, the only serious options are: October 2019, November 2019, December 2019 and 2020 or later. Of these, 2020+ is the favourite at 2.86 (34.9%), followed by November 2019 at 3.2 (31.25%), October 2019 at 3.25 (30.7%) and 15 (6.7%) on a December election.

My take on this is that you can rule out a December election since voters wouldn't take too kindly to an election campaign just before Christmas. And I can't see Boris Johnson surviving as prime minister until the New Year. I therefore suggest that you should bet on an election in either October or November at combined odds of 62%. In this case you should split a £10 betting unit with £5.03 on November and £4.97 on October.

Recommended

Latest issue
Investments

Latest issue

Latest issue of MoneyWeek magazine
22 Apr 2021
FOMO versus fundamentals
Advertisement Feature

FOMO versus fundamentals

We're living in a time of great emotional, social and economic upheaval – is this driving our investment decisions?
21 Apr 2021
Reuniting investors with lost investments and inheritances
Advertisement Feature

Reuniting investors with lost investments and inheritances

What happens when you don’t keep track of all your accounts?
9 Apr 2021
Investing in infrastructure for a post-Covid world
Advertisement Feature

Investing in infrastructure for a post-Covid world

In the wake of the pandemic, the need to tackle environmental and social challenges is even more obvious than before
8 Apr 2021

Most Popular

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?
Bitcoin

“Joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin goes to the moon. What’s going on?

Dogecoin – a cryptocurrency created as a joke – has risen by more than 9,000% this year alone. Saloni Sardana looks at how something that began as an …
19 Apr 2021
China owns a lot more gold than it’s letting on – and here’s why
Gold

China owns a lot more gold than it’s letting on – and here’s why

In a world awash with money-printing, a currency backed by gold would have great credibility. And China – with designs on the yuan becoming the world’…
21 Apr 2021
Why investment advice could be about to get a lot cheaper
Investment strategy

Why investment advice could be about to get a lot cheaper

Vanguard, the world’s second-biggest asset manager, is launching its own cut-price financial advice service. It’s something the industry badly needs, …
20 Apr 2021