Nervousness in David Miliband's Camp

After reading endless tips from Mike Smithson on PoliticalBetting.com to back Ed Miliband, Guido switched his bets on Friday. David Miliband’s implied probability of victory had already dropped from 75% to 65% by the time Guido shifted his money from one brother to the other. He is at the time of writing given a 59% chance of winning the leadership (40% for Ed Miliband). Given it is too close to call that could narrow to 50% / 50% soon. Both camps are of course claiming their internal polling numbers point to victory.

In the humiliation stakes punters reckon that despite Guido’s never-ending support, Ed Balls is still the favourite to to be eliminated in the first round. His odds on avoiding humiliation have improved, dropping from a 62% certainty down to a still not good 41%, with Diane Abbott on 35% and Burnham given 30% a chance of going out first. If you are reading this Sally Bercow, and still think Balls is going to win the leadership, a £5 bet will win you £1000.

Pollsters Backing Ed V Punters Backing David

Someone is going to get a shock based on these Sunday Times/YouGov polling results. With two weeks to go until the results are known and voting already taking place it is, all are agreed, going to be close. Punters are predicting a win for David Miliband whilst pollsters YouGov are predicting a narrow win for Ed Miliband.  Admittedly the punters could change their positions on this news, but as things stand currently they are ignoring the pollster overall.


Guido is sticking with his money on David Miliband to beat his brother Ed because he disagrees with the YouGov / LeftFootForward analysis of how the second preference votes will break. It will be close undoubtedly and there does seem to have been a shift in the union affiliates section of the electoral college and Guido has taken money off David to win that section (Ed is now 60% favourite to win the union members vote). David Miliband is still overall favourite to win the leadership, the MEP/MPs votes and the members votes. Guido can only think that the switch in union affiliates to Ed is a result of Union bosses’ endorsements sent out with ballot papers.

UPDATE : Ed Balls remains favourite to be eliminated in the first round. Oh dear…

Coulson Cleared

Well not quite, but Channel 4 News have certainly put The Guardian in a tricky spot. The paper’s strategy is to drip out one former Screws hack every day to keep the story alive, but it seems that they are grasping at straws already:

“Paul McMullan told the Guardian newspaper this morning that David Cameron’s communications chief “would certainly be well aware that the practice was pretty widespread,” but Channel 4 News has learnt from the former features executive that he left the paper in 2001, two years before Mr Coulson became its chief.”

Investigatory journalism at its finest…

UPDATE : Latest betting prices from Political Smarkets – Will Andy Coulson leave? Yes 43% / No 70%.

No Vacancy on Downing Street

Officially there is no vacancy. Officially Andy Coulson has the full support of the PM and the government machine. Officially he isn’t going anywhere. Unofficially last night was quite the flurry of activity.

He may not be going anywhere just yet, but the longer the BBC, Guardian and the Labour Party keep screaming, the more they wound Coulson as he becomes the story. The damage  is not just jeopardising his current job, but any future high earners he could move on to. So the feelers are going out and seem to centre on three key names…

There may not be an official vacancy, but that isn’t stopping Boris’s spinner and former BBC man Guto Harri putting his ear to the ground. he had been rumoured to be in talks with Welsh language channel S4C about their vacant CEO position, Guido hears that Welsh speaking Harri told them that if Coulson’s job became available he wouldn’t be in the running for the channel no one watches. Though some are worried where that would leave Boris with a re-election battle looming.

Another BBC man, James Lansdale, is also said to have given a nod of the head. This Old Etonian would slip easily into the Cameron circle and is greatly respected by his colleagues. Not that there is a vacancy of course.

Another name in the fray is, as ever, Ben Brogan. His Cameroon contacts are exemplary and second to none. Interestingly Mandrake, in Brogan’s own paper, was keen to keep him out of the runners and riders suggesting instead that Buckingham Palace’s Simon Walker is in the offing rather than their Deputy Editor. They also suggest George Pascoe-Watson, who is by all accounts happy with his new well-rewarded gig at Portland. Guido’s money is still on Coulson.

Aussie Election Neck and Neck

Labor PM Julia Gillard is refusing to concede defeat tonight, she is trying to woo Independents and “fight to form a government”. “The people have spoken” she told supporters earlier, quoting Bill Clinton, she said, “it was going to take some time to work out what they’ve said”.

UK bookmakers had Labor as hot favourites, Guido just now got a few quid on the Coalition opposition winning at 35%. Well worth a punt…

UPDATE 21.30 : Coalition now given a 75% of removing Julia Gillard, it’ll all come down to how the independents go.

UKIP Leadership Race

The race has begun to succeed Lord Pearson as leader of UKIP. He has amused political observers with his candid honesty. Not a strategy for success in politics.

Nigel Farage is favourite, though one wonders if he is really up for it given his health. He hasn’t said he will run for sure, yet punters still make him the runaway favourite. The rest of the likely runners include Christopher Monckton, the leading global warming sceptic and former adviser to Maggie. David Campbell Bannerman is a policy guy, former Tory SpAd and latterly a spinner before getting elected as an MEP.

Gerard Batten is another MEP and former London mayoral candidate, Spanish Marta Andreasen is the EU auditor turned UKIP MEP.

Guido has put a few quid on Monckton on the grounds that the outsider has fewer internal UKIP enemies and UKIPpers do like exotic characters…

To AV or not AV? |This is the Question:

“Do you want the United Kingdom to adopt the ‘alternative vote’ system instead of the current ‘first past the post’ system for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons?”

Bit wordy, and the legislation may yet be blocked by Labour and Tory backbenchers and the Nats.

Currently punters give AV a 64% chance of passing…

Punters versus Wonks

It is fair to say that London Labour’s activists and wonkish elite are by and large behind Ed Miliband, unless they are ideological Blairites (like the Progress crowd) or careerist greasy pole climbers like most MPs, in which case they are behind David Miliband. The headbanging Tory hating activists go for Balls and lefties back Abbott with Burnham picking up a Northern token vote.

Supporters of Ed Miliband are adamant, despite polls showing David has more than twice as much support among Labour supporters, that he will win on second preferences.  Will Straw at LeftFootForward has even built a predictive model that forecasts Ed scraping through. Yet punters persist in making David Miliband the runaway favourite. Are the punters or the wonks right?

Guido accepts that Ed will probably win the union’s endorsements, though the Fabian’s Sunda Katawala argues that doesn’t necessarily mean he will win the votes of union members. Punters agree with Will and give Ed a 60% chance of winning the union votes.

Guido and punters make David the 80% favourite to win the MP/MEPs vote.  Will forecasts it will be closer than that but accepts that David will win this part of the electoral college.

It is over the membership vote that Will’s model and punters differ dramatically. Based on a non-representative, self-selecting poll of LabourList’s readers (DM 34.9% EM 30.8%), he predicts that the second preferences from the more left-wing candidates will switch to Ed and he will thus beat his older brother. The argument being that since Ed is positioned to the left of David, second preferences won’t tack right to the most centrist candidate. This is delusional.

Not all the voters will see the candidates in such finely calibrated positions on the centre-to-left spectrum, much of the electorate will vote on character and personality. Apart from Diane Abbott the policy positions of the candidates are in reality very closely bunched and Ed Balls’ new found tactical leftism is transparently risible.  Experience shows that second preferences tend to break in correlation with first preferences. The correlation isn’t perfect, but nor is it so weak as to be insignificant. Yet Labour sympathisers in the media and even more objective pundits like Toby Young believe Ed will come through.

So if it will be decided by the membership vote, is the LabourList poll accurate? It is unlikely that a self-selecting web poll will be. YouGov actually put Balls ahead of Ed Miliband but behind David with Labour voters (and another private poll by Survation put Diane Abbot within 5% of Ed among union members).  With the polling confusion Guido puts little reliance on the sampling and absent of clear polling evidence Guido opts to “follow the money”. David Miliband has raised more money than all the rest and he has the weight of  punter’s money backing him. It will be close, but Guido suspects Ed will lose to his big brother.

Osborne Ties Up the Bookies

Given the last thirteen budgets have been dominated by cheap tactics and false flags, it was  no surprise George Osborne had a trick up his sleeve. Well closer to his collar actually:

The cunning coin-keeper chose a tie of bluey/green today which caused a bit of headache for Ladbrokes who were offering bets on both blue and green and had to pay up for both.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Coronation or Will Cruddas Stand?

Over at Politicalbetting.com thinks Jon Cruddas might throw his hat in the ring for the Labour Party leadership. Guido has spoken to a number of Labour insiders who are divided on the issue. Some say he has to come off the sidelines as a critic and do something now Brown is banished.[…]

+ READ MORE +

When Will Gordon Go?

As was widely predicted before the election, Gordon is still squatting in Downing Street. He doesn’t seem able to accept that he personally has been comprehensively rejected.

There is of course the possibility that the LibDems could prop up a Labour regime, but that at the moment is a theoretical possibility.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Final State of the Campaigns

Above is the Guy News poll of polls taken from tonight’s final round of polls. Below is where we started the campaign.  The big story is clear, the LibDems have gained massively from the TV debates taking 6% from the Tories and 4% from Labour.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Labour Third, Pollsters and Punters Expect Cameron to be PM

This is the latest rolling average of the last week’s polls.  Political punters give Cameron a 84% chance of being the next Prime Minister, which seems like a bit of a sell given punters currently make a hung parliament a 52% probability.[…]

+ READ MORE +

State of the Campaigns : LibDems Peaking

The poll rise of the LibDems appears to have been checked in the averages, they are under a lot more scrutiny now with the front pages of the Tory press literally throwing the kitchen sink (on his expenses) at Clegg.  The whole ‘new politics’ baloney of a former corporate lobbyist who had lobbyists paying into his personal bank account isn’t really credible.[…]

+ READ MORE +

It's Not Just the Leaders DebatingHague, Miliband and Davey Next

Given the profound effect ninety minutes of television has had on the fickle electorate, it will be worth keeping an eye on the other debates happening in the run up to polling day.

The Daily Politics have organised almost all of the contenders for the senior cabinet positions to have a grilling from Andrew Neil.[…]

+ READ MORE +

Punters Backing LibDems

As Comres joins YouGov in making the LibDems the second placed party, Graham Sharpe, William Hill’s spinner, emails Guido to say that seven out of every ten political bets they took were for a Lib Dem win :- ‘Pre-debate the Lib Dems would be doing well if one in every ten bet was for them, but their support turned from a trickle to a flood on Friday with a mass of modest bets of up to £100 pouring on them to win with an overall majority or to be the largest single Party, with the larger bets were placed by regular political pundits backing a Hung Parliament.[…]

+ READ MORE +



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Boris campaign team member Jake Berry not taking well:

“There is a very deep pit reserved in Hell for such as he. #Gove”

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