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You’ll never meet a poor bookie – how betting can help campaigning

Recently, I was on the Forum for Change’s Discussion board and someone asked:

“We’re looking at PPCs and who is the most likely to get in at the next election so we can try and make contact ahead of May. Do you know if there is an easy way to bring up a list of people from each party who have a small majority?”
I don’t gamble myself, as I like to keep my money rather than fritter it away, but I am intrigued by the market that betting creates. How it uses knowledge and gives it numerical and financial values.

That’s why I replied to this question as follows:

“There are probably ways of finding or collating such lists. However, they give you little information on what’s happening beyond what happened 5 years ago in the poll.

I think you need to be cannier to identify the real marginals. This is a report released earlier in October looking at 238 marginals and polling voter intentions:

But, I would also look at the political betting markets to get an indication of potential change. You need to understand your odds and it’s probably worth having the results of the 2005 polls with you as you look.
Try – Political betting

The bookies are never 100% right – if they were no-one would bet, but they may well be 80% correct – so great information, based on real knowledge which can inform campaigning.”