The real problem for TMay from last night’s vote could be when the Brexit bill goes to the Lords

December 14th, 2017

The revolt could give their Lordships more confidence to make their own amendments

James Forsyth’s latest Spectator podcast makes a very good point about one consequence of last night’s Commons rebellion – it will make it much harder for the bill to get through the Upper House unamended.

It is clear that there is a fairly strong majority amongst against Brexit amongst peers but the government always felt that if Lords received the bill which had not been altered against its will it would be harder for the unelected peers to overrule what MPs had decided.

That has now changed thanks to the success of the rebellion last night and we could see a tricky period as an emboldened Upper House seeks to make its impression on the legislation.

It only requires one amendment opposed by the government to get through the Lords and we get into ping pong between the two houses of Parliament.

This was very much realised in Mrs Mays statement when she called the general election last April.

Another problem that the government might have is that there are now three investigations going on into aspects of the leave campaign. As well as the two into the funding by the Electoral Commission another one is being undertaken by the Information Commissioner relating to the use of data.

If these start to be upheld then you can hear the argument developing that the Leave victory, by 1.9% above the 50% threshold, does not have the same democratic legitimacy as has been suggested.

Mike Smithson


A LD gain from CON and a LAB hold in this week’s local by-election

December 14th, 2017

Newton and St. Leonard’s on Exeter (Lab defence)
Result: Con 512 (27% +4% on last time), Lab 1,044 (55% +5% on last time), Lib Dem 179 (9% +2% on last time), UKIP 40 (2% -3% on last time), Green 137 (7% -5% on last time) (No Independence from Europe candidate this time -3%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 532 (28%) on a swing of 0.5% from Con to Lab

Godalming Central and Ockford on Waverley (Con defence)
Result: Con 246 (35% -6% on last time), Lab 151 (21% -5% on last time), Lib Dem 266 (38% no candidate last time), Green 40 (6% no candidate last time) (No UKIP candidate this time -15%, No Something New candidate this time -17%)
Liberal Democrat GAIN from Conservative with a majority of 20 (3%) on a notional swing of 22% from Con to Lib Dem (actual swing 0.5% from Con to Lab)

Harry Hayfield


Trump’s approval ratings drop to new low with women voters moving most against him

December 14th, 2017

Bad news for the President from the pollster that got Tuesday most right

There’s a new US national poll just out from Monmouth University – the organisation which did best forecasting this week’s Alabama senate election. Its final survey there had it as a tie which was closest to the outcome. Monmouth uses traditional live phone interviews and calls mobiles as landlines.

It finds that Trump’s current job rating now stands at 32% approve and 56% disapprove. This marks his lowest rating since taking office in January. Prior Monmouth polls conducted over the course of the past year showed his approval rating ranging from 39% to 43% and his disapproval rating ranging from 46% to 53%.

The decline in Trump’s job rating has come much more from women – currently 24% approve to 68% disapprove – than from men – currently 40% to 44%.

To put this into context in September Trump had a 36%-55% rating among women and a 44%-42% rating among men.

What is striking is that the gender gap in the rating crosses party lines. Republican women (67%) are somewhat less likely than Republican men (78%) to give Trump a positive rating. These results are down by 9 points among GOP women since September and by 5 points among GOP men since September.

All this isn’t good for the president as we move to 2018 when of course we see the midterms. The Republicans will be desperately keen to hold on to both the house and the Senate. These will surely be the biggest political betting markets of the coming year.

Mike Smithson


Paying the price of TMay’s GE17 gamble. Tonight the saboteurs struck back and won

December 13th, 2017

We all remember the memorable front page of Dacre’s Daily Mail the day after Theresa May called her snap general election in April.

For the whole point of building up the number of Tory MPs was to give TMay The Commons numbers so that those who were in disagreement, particularly those within the party, were unable to impede what she was doing.

It all seems so easy then. The Tories had a small majority and TMay was expecting that with 20%+ poll leads the size of the Tory Party at Westminster would be enlarged to deal with rebellions on the Brexit bill.

In spite of a heavy whipping operation tonight’s Conservative rebellion, backed by LAB and other opposition parties, overturned the government on a key part of the legislation. Essentially the PM’s hands are being tied and her scope for action is there much more limited. It will be very hard to turn that round.

In spite of being in the minority the progress of the Brexit bill through Parliament has until tonight been relatively easy for the government. They have been lots of votes but prior to this evening these have been dealt with relatively easily .

The difference with the latest measure is that the proposer was Dominic Grieve the respected former Tpry attorney general and they focused on a single issue which ultimately was about the power of parliament.

Parliament is now going to be involved a lot more in the final decision on the deal something that Team Theresa had been trying to avoid.

Mike Smithson


Bookies holding back payment to Alabama punters because the result was tight and there could be a recount

December 13th, 2017

Those punters who backed the Democrats in the Alabama senate race are probably going to have to wait for their winnings. The losing candidate, Roy Moore, has refused to accept the result and it looks as though there might well be a recount. See his comment to supporters in the CNN clip above.

I actually think the bookies are right here even though I’m going to have to wait. Those who been betting on American politics for sometime will recall the Iowa Republican Primary in 2012 when Mitt Romney was declared winner of the Republican contest the result only to be overturned sometime later after a recount. I know that Betfair and some other bookies paid out on Romney and were pressed later by Rick Santorum backers when the final results were counted.

This has been a bitter race in Alabama and the outcome could have huge consequences. If there’s just chance, however slight, that this could be overturned then they are going to take it.

Compared with some of the accusations in the campaign about Moore’s sexual activities when he was in his thirties being seen as a poor loser is no big deal.

Mike Smithson


Huge blow for Trump as GOP loses the Alabama Senate election on a hugely exciting betting night

December 13th, 2017

The chart above is from Betdata.io and shows the dramatic changes in the Betfair price.

As was widely predicted this was amazingly tight with the markets changing all the time as more information came in. What was particularly good was a New York Times model that was looking at the demographics of each polling area and impacting on the overall outcome as the information came in.

This turned out to be highly predictive and those who followed that for their betting did extraordinary well.

I have been saying for a week so that where you’ve got something that appears a toss up the value bet is on the one that is the outsider and so it turned out to be. Unfortunately at the end of the day I did not take my own advice and cashed out my winnings when there was a sudden movement for the Republicans and I thought I had lost. I ended up making a few hundred pounds but nothing like what I was hoping to achieve.

    The fact that the Republicans were unable to hold onto a seat which is solidly Republican will have huge ramifications. This means that the Republican-Democrat split in the Senate is now 51-49 as opposed to 52-48 which creates a situation where only one Republican senator needs to rebel.

Of course everything in US politics now is set against the background of President Trump who made a huge effort in the final stages of the campaign to get backing for his man, Roy Moore, over whom there were several allegations of sexual abuse of underage girls.

Britain’s Nigel Farage, a former UKIP leader, was also a loser. He has played his part speaking for Moore at a rally prior to the primary that selected Moore as the candidate.

There can be little doubt that the result undermines the President who will even more be seen as an electoral negative.

Mike Smithson


The Alabama result are starting to trickle in…

December 13th, 2017


For the first time Scots CON leader, RDavidson, hints that Westminster might be a possiblity

December 12th, 2017

The first step to her becoming leader?

The woman who saved TMay’s bacon on June 8th, Scots CON leader Ruth Davidson, has hinted that becoming a Westminster MP might just be a possibility.

For a very long time Davidson has figured highly in the betting and in surveys of Tory members. There’s little doubt that it was her leadership in Scotland that helped the party gain 12 Scottish seats on June 8th. Without the CON performance in Scotland the overall party performance would have looked a bit sick.

Clearly the first requirement for her to be leader is to be an MP.

Mike Smithson