The odds: Bookies worried by buoyant Lib Dems
by Joe Fraser
It is still early days in the Liberal Democrats surge but betting activity suggests the energy behind their campaign is not the stuff of fleeting hype.
Paddy Power has revealed that 85% of bets placed since the leaders’ debate have been on Nick Clegg and his party.
That interest is seeing their odds plummet.
Darren Haines, a spokesman for Paddy Power said: “The interest hasn’t really slowed. The Lib Dems are the ones that people want to back.”
Their odds might be lower than they have ever been but they are still being heavily backed.
Before the debate the Lib Dems were 200/1 to win, they were backed down to 16/1 by Saturday and are now at a historic low of 10/1 to win the election.
Pre-debate odds on a hung parliament were 9/4. On Friday that had moved to 6/5. Today they are an 8/15 shot and hung parliament betting is the most active on Paddy Power.
The record breaking theme is continued with odds being offered on this being the Lib Dems’ best election result since the Liberals and the SDP joined in the 80s. To do so they would need more than 63 seats.
They are currently odds on at 4/5 to win 80 or more. Last week, the same bet was a 3/1 shot.
Mr Haines at Paddy Power was keen to sound a note of caution given how early in the running this effect has been felt. He said that if the Lib Dems expect to sustain this indefinitely, “they’re being ambitious with three weeks to go.”
He said the next leaders’ debate would be crucial: “We think Thursday will be the crunch for the Lib Dems. But if Clegg puts in another sterling performance, bookies will be feeling worried.”
So will Mr Cameron and Mr Brown.
Latest Paddy Power odds:
8/15 (no overall majority)
13/8 Conservative majority
16/1 Labour majority
22/1 Lib Dems majority
10/1 Lib Dems
Lib Dem Coalition
5/1 With Conservatives
6/4 With Labour
Lib Dems Best Election Result
Lib Dems Seats
100/1 Under 30
4/5 80 or more