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Betting for and against the opinion polls

April 30th, 2005

    Betting on votes – not seats

With Labour’s victory being almost as big a certainty as Sunderland South being the first seat to declare there’s increasing interest in the party vote share markets where you do not have to factor in the complicated and varied considerations about how the seats will divide.

And it is here that you can bet for or against the findings of specific opinion pollsters. If you think that YouGov are predicting this one best then there might be money to be made. The ICM figures also give some possibilities to gamblers.

But be warned. The spread markets are based on all-UK figures while the opinion polls report their figures on a GB basis excluding Northern Ireland and the latter are roughly 0.97 of the former. So IG’s current Labour spread of 37-37.5% equates roughly to 38.1%-38.6% when comparing with an opinion poll.

If you think that YouGov is calling this right then a sell bet on Labour would be profitable. If you are an ICM fan then there would be money to be made with a buy bet, given that their last Labour share was 40%.

Labour vote share IG Index 37-37.5%: Sporting Index 37-37.75%: Spreadfair 37-37.7%

Tory vote share IG Index 33-33.5%: Sporting Index 33-33.75%: Spreadfair 33.5-34%

Lib Dem vote share IG Index 22-22.5% : Sporting Index 21.5-22.25%: Spreadfair 21.5- 22.2%

MY BETTING: I have just placed a big sell bet on Labour with IG at 37.5%. This equated to a GB figure of 38.6% and means that I am a winner unless the equivalent of at least 13 out of 14 Labour supporters of 2001 stick with the party. Unfortunately a short time after I had placed the bet the firm reduced the spread by 0.5% making it much less value. This was my biggest bet so far and after being a big critic of the pollsters for always over-stating Labour I am at least putting my money where my mouth is.

Mike Smithson






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