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Will the falling betting price cause Davis MPs to switch?

October 6th, 2005

Tory leadership: Implied probability of Davis based on best betting price

    What are the dangers of having less than a 50:50 chance?

One of the key arguments used by Davis’s team as they have sought to persuade Tory MPs to make public declarations of support has been the Shadow Home Secretary’s position in the betting. After all, they were saying, if the bookies are rating Davis so highly you would be a fool to back anybody other than the “obvious” winner.

ddThat argument held until within about 20 minutes of the end of Davis’s speech yesterday. Then the implied probability of him succeeding, as rated by those willing to risk hard cash on the outcome, dropped below the 50% mark. Tory MPs are no longer dealing with a near certainty and the whole backcloth to this contest has changed.

Now the Davis’s camp first objective is to stop the possible seepage in support from MPs – something that was always going to be possible because it’s a secret ballot. Also the spinning has started. This is more than a public speaking competition, aides are saying, and there’s a reminder that Mrs. Thatcher was not a great performer in the early days.


    The big difference between Mrs. T and David Davis is that the former was prepared to put real effort into making herself a better orator. The latter has known for five months about yesterday’s conference slot and should have been training each day for the great event.

The leader in the Telegraph this morning sums up the Davis dilemma this way: “..Overall, it was a poor performance. Mr Davis is a self-assured man but, perhaps for this reason, he lacks the empathy which is so essential in modern politics. He expects to be followed – he will not persuade. This is not, in itself, a demerit when it comes to leading a party but it could well hamper his party’s campaign to lead the country.”

    8 am UPDATE – Cameron now favorite on Betfair
  • Conventional bookmakers best price: Davis 5/4: Clarke 10/3: Cameron 9/4: Fox 14/1
  • Betfair betting exchange: Davis 2.05/1: Clark 4.5/1: Cameron 1.6/1: Fox 11/1
  • BinaryBet spread market. Davis 40-48: Clarke 19-25: Cameron 24-30
  • Mike Smithson






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