These new general election markets are interesting in that they diverge from the many “who will win the election” bets to “will the leaders still be in place” when the dust settles at the end of the year – long after May’s votes are counted.
There is of course the added complexity of a possible second autumn election [currently 4/1] if there is no clear result – Fixed Term Parliament Act allowing.
Effectively, you are betting on how well the leaders do. If they are not outright winners will they do enough to protect themselves from being toppled by their own parties?
So let’s take a look at the bets individually.
Should he stay or should he go?
David Cameron (above) will be out on his heels pretty sharpish if he does not at least win more votes or more seats than Labour’s Ed Miliband.
The price on Ed Miliband (below) is effectively the inverse of Cameron’s for the simple reason that this is a fight to the political death. Only one of them can win.
Don’t drag me down
The Labour leader is seen by many on his own side as a drag on the party’s chances. They will be keen to dump him if he fails.
Though some say the party rule book might let him cling on if, despite losing, he makes a decent enough showing, I suspect that would only be over Andy Burnham and Chuka Ummuna’s dead bodies. Miliband is evens to still be Labour leader at year end and 4/5 to be out on his ear.
Of all the bets on who will hang on as party leader, Nick Clegg’s (below) are the most interesting. The LibDems are sure to get a hammering at the polls, so you would think that would be the end of it for Nick. However, such are the low expectations, any result better than wipe-out might see him survive.
Better safe than sorry
Take the 7/4 on him remaining if you think he is going to have enough seats to lead the yellows back into propping up the Tories.
If you look into Clegg’s eyes you see a man who is facing the electoral executioner. Put Clegg out of his misery and take the 2/5 that he’ll no longer be telling us he is a sorry party leader next year.
Finally there is UKIP’s Nigel Farage (below) – someone I have been known to enjoy a drink with on occasion. He’s been fighting UKIP’s corner for some 20 years and my guess is that if he doesn’t finally win a ticket to Westminster in Thanet South at this election, he’ll stand down as party leader by the time of their autumn conference.
Making plans for Nigel
It would be ridiculous for UKIP to have their party leader outside the Westminster parliament if they win a number of seats.
So if you think Nigel’s charms won’t keep him a seat in parliament – at his sixth attempt – you can get 2/1 on him standing down as leader by year’s end as a consequence of losing the seat for which UKIP are 8/13 favs while the Tories are 13/8.
The pollsters say it is neck and neck fort that seat so that Tory price looks a bit generous.
March over to all the latest political betting here