Saturday, 31 October 2009
It’s also worth noting that Hamilton was blisteringly fast. He was miles ahead of the field in terms of pace, getting pole by a long stretch despite having only a marginal fuel advantage over the Red Bulls in 2nd and 3rd. The two straights are also ideal for his car’s KERS, both to pass anyone who might get ahead of him (or, more likely, clearing traffic having pit stopped) and to stave off would-be passers.
The Red Bulls are pretty damned good, albeit behind Hamilton, and should both come away with podium spots.
Kovalainen qualified in 13th, but is probably going to be demoted 5 spots for a gearbox problem. Be interesting to see how he does in a car ideally suited to the circuit. I suspect he may creep into the points, but the odds are presently 2.5 and that’s too short given the opportunity for bad luck or sheer mediocrity to strike.
Hmm. The situation looks pretty clear-cut (Hamilton top dog, Red Bulls secondary with all others further behind), which is making finding any value difficult.
I’ve backed Raikonnen at 1.8 to get into the points. Yes, he starts in 11th, but he only needs to climb three places, has KERS, and has 30kg more fuel than those ahead of him so may leapfrog them come the pit stops.
Pitting may be the key here. The exit tunnel has potential for mischief, and there’s another factor I mentioned earlier: tyres. It seems that the cars took several laps to get up to speed during qualifying, which I presume is due to tyre temperatures falling off a cliff due to it being night time in the desert. Now, come the race start all’s equal, but when they start pitting it might (and I emphasise ‘might’) prove to be the case that the same thing happens and the recently pitted car typically moves backwards for a few laps.
If that’s true Hamilton will be least affected, because his ragged-edge driving style makes tyre temperatures less of a problem (punctures, on the other hand…), and Button’s silky smooth style will be difficult for him.
Unfortunately I can’t see beyond Hamilton winning it, with the top 3 of qualifying getting the podium spots. I don’t see much value there, but if you do want to back Hamilton, go for the winning car market with McLaren as (once again) the odds are marginally longer.
So, just one tip: Raikonnen to get points at 1.8. Wish I could’ve seen more, but the race looks pretty cut and dried.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
I would claim that this was an altruistic activity, but I did this entirely for my own benefit. There will probably be some errors, since I did all of this manually, and if so, apologies in advance. Happy browsing.
I have identified 13 constituencies where there is an underround: Birmingham Hall Green, Birmingham Northfield, Birmingham Selly Oak, Dunfermline & West Fife, Eastbourne, Middlesbrough South & Cleveland, Norwich South, Oxford East, Reading West, Richmond Park, Westmorland & Lonsdale, Wiltshire North and York Outer. I suggest that each of these must be worth a punt of some sort, given that the odds are skewed in our favour. The right choice(s) will vary from constituency to constituency and each punter will of course have his or her own view on the right choice.
There's been a chance to digest now the main findings of the YouGov Welsh poll. There are some interesting tidbits in the questions on attitudes to devolution (overwhelmingly positive, but with some oddly contradictory results on the prospect for a referendum on further powers), and in the Labour leadership election (which can be summarised as who, who and who?)
I'll concentrate, though, on the voting intention findings, and what that might mean for predicting individual seats. There's some worthwhile analysis in a series of posts by Daran Hill on WalesHome, the political blog voted Wales's most popular, and from a semi-outsider. For any Welsh-speakers there’s also the highly recommended Vaughan Roderick.Running the figures through UNS gives Labour 20 seats, the Tories 12, Plaid 5, LD 2 and Independents 1.
A couple of questions, though, largely from my ignorance I suspect. A blogger raises the question of weighting. Maybe it would be worth exploring whether the weightings used are entirely suitable for a Welsh context, for instance the lack of specific weighting for Plaid party ID, the slightly different demographic structure of Wales, and whether the newspaper weighting is right (I'd suspect, for instance, that Plaid supporters would be significantly more likely to read 'other' newspapers). I'm not suggesting for a moment that these issues haven't been thought of, it's just that they might be interesting to explore.
Also, the regional breakdowns. The sample sizes are small, and some of the results are a bit counter-intuitive. Perhaps it would have been more interesting to use the Balsom 3-Wales model (which, crudely put, divides Wales into psephological zones based on predominant self-definition of national identities) as a basis for any regional calculations. It might tell us more about regional variation if the Valleys, for instance, were counted together rather than being divided into 3 regions and consequently lumped in with places like Monmouth.
But I'm not really quibbling. Thanks very much to YouGov for this innovation, and to my employer (that's Aberystwyth University, not University of Aberystwyth, get with the alphabetically-inspired brand identity, Kellner!) for helping to commission it.
Sure it's one poll, from one organisation, but it's an useful tool to use alongside the marginals poll and recent local and euro elections to try and predict individual seats. Once the dust has settled I'll do a couple of pieces on individual marginals, but here are some prelimiary thoughts. I think Labour could be in big trouble in the north-east (while possibly holding a couple of their southern semi-marginals); the Tories' advance will be more geographically concentrated than in 79-83 (which will help them make up for the absence of the factor which delivered unusual numbers of Welsh marginals for them in 83 - the SDP); Plaid's slightly underwhelming headline figure hides some real opportunities in individual seats. For the Lib Dems this poll is pretty horrible, but I find them tough to predict. I'm almost coming off the fence to forecast the end of Lembit, but I'm not convinced yet.
One more thing. In the cross-tabs there are some interesting patterns if you compare Westminster and Assembly voting intentions. The figures for people who are intending to vote Tory for Westminster but Plaid for the Assembly is farily significant. I wouldn't expect it to be nil, but there traditionally isn't much crossover in support. Are we, perhaps, seeing the emergence of the anti-Labour tactical voter, who will switch votes according to the context of the election? My, wouldn't that make things interesting in Gower and Llanelli.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Below I have two poll results from October 2004 and November 2004 and if you compare them to the outcome result for the Lib Dems, you realise that the party is in trouble unless something magic happens soon.
Poll from October 2004 by YouGov:
Liberal Democrat 22%
Poll from November 2004 by YouGov:
Liberal Democrat 23%
The actual outcome for the Lib Dems in vote share relations was 22% of the vote, which brings forward an interesting argument. If 6-7 months prior to the 2005 general election, the poll results for the Lib Dems were the same as they actually got does that mean the party will only get the 18-19% at the election as this is what the party is currently getting in the polls in 2009?
Charles Kennedy in my view was an election winner for the Lib Dems, I know Nick Clegg can not achieve what Charles did and the next election will be proof of that. So media coverage didn’t help the Lib Dems, and I don’t believe it will, my view is that Charles was an election winner and the party has lost a massive asset.
From the argument put forward by the polls leading to the 2005 election, all I can predict is, it’s going to be very interesting.
Sunday, 25 October 2009
I’m convinced that there exists a picture, taken the day after the first National Assembly elections in 1999, of a small group of beaming young politicos, each clutching a fistful of notes. It’s possible that my memory is playing tricks, and at some point I’ll check the archive, but by my recollection the story was that some Plaid staffers, buoyed by their phone canvassing data, decided to put a few quid at stratospheric odds on their party to win
What’s missing, of course, is information; the sort of information that comes with polling. While there have been solid studies of questions such as attitudes to devolution, reliable voting-intention polling just doesn’t happen. Wales-only polls appear only sporadically, generally at Assembly election time, sometimes undertaken by NOP for ITV Wales. Back in ’99, the few opinion polls that were carried out had Labour cruising to an overall majority, and their record has scarcely improved since. Neither has their frequency. The BBC aren’t allowed to do polls which include intention to vote questions, ITV Wales hardly do any political coverage any more, and the Trinity Mirror-dominated Welsh press don’t seem to want to help either. We do have Beaufort Research, which can add a political question to its regular ‘caravan’ surveys of Welsh opinion (sometimes at Plaid’s commission), but all this is a far cry from a robust polling methodology. Extrapolating trends from tiny regional sub-samples or council by-election results is even more of a mug’s game.
Things might be about to change. YouGov have established a Welsh panel, and will unveil the first findings on Tuesday morning. The numbers have been crunched by Richard Wyn Jones and Aberystwyth psephologist Roger Scully, and Peter Kellner will be on hand at the launch to discuss methodology. All very interesting. I hope to get the results pretty quickly, and I’ll update this thread if and when. Apparently, they’ll also be unveiling results on attitudes to the Assembly having full legislative powers, and the Labour leadership contest (for which current betting odds are here).
I suppose we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much. It takes time to work on the methodology, and
But for what it’s worth, this year’s marginals poll indicated Conservative gains in Aberconwy, Bridgend, Cardiff North, Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Gower, Newport West, Vale of Clwyd and Vale of Glamorgan. Plaid was projected to gain Ynys Môn, Ceredigion, and the new seat of Arfon, which is notionally Labour but where Plaid have a sitting MP.
Some quite interesting seats weren’t polled – including both the main Lib Dem targets of Swansea West and Newport East. In addition, the European election results (which in
So there may be some betting value out there in the under-researched Welsh constituencies, and if readers wish I’ll put up a couple more articles on the prospects in the marginals over the next few weeks.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Mike is running a fine job over at the main site and even here at Channel 2, but I want to do more for the site. As someone who uses the site on a regular basis, can I suggest an idea to fellow PBers in hope they will give me feedback.
How about a mile run for Political Betting? Is anyone interested in running a mile for Political Betting, it would be a fund raising run and all money raised via donations would go to Political Betting.
Just to note although I am not a runner, I have never ran a mile in my life but if no one else volunteers then I would just do the run.
What do fellow PBers think of this idea?
Sunday, 18 October 2009
Now we have back-to-back British world champion drivers and constructors’ champions. Once Abu Dhabi is done I’ll write a special review of the entire season.
Did Button deserve it? I’ve knocked him frequently for being damned lucky. And he was. But the drive he put in today was outstandingly good. Based on what he did today, carving his way through the field like a hot knife through butter, I do believe he deserves the victory.
Brawn definitely deserve their title, Ross Brawn used the double diffuser to get a stranglehold on the early races and built unstoppable momentum, maintaining competitiveness in the second half of the season to win by a very good margin.
Regarding the race: it showed us some valuable things. Firstly, the Red Bull was excellent in the dry, as showed by the first practice session which is why I backed Webber rather than Barrichello. Secondly, Kobayashi[sp] put in a great debut performance, and could be one for the future. Thirdly, circuits where overtaking on the track is possible are almost always better than those where it isn’t.
We should also point out Kubica’s great second and Hamilton’s third, after starting 8th and 18th respectively. Chaotic, breathless and damned exciting. I feel sympathy for Vettel who could have come 1st or 2nd quite easily had his qualifying not been such a disappointment.
In the future, Vettel and Hamilton will be two long term contenders. I’d be staggered if Vettel didn’t win a driver’s title in the next few years (assuming he has a competitive time), and Hamilton could easily rack up more.
Abu Dhabi is the final race, no championship up for grabs so everyone will just be going for the win. Let’s hope it measures up to the likes of Spa, Monza and Interlagos.
It didn’t last. During the 165 minutes of qualifying Button came in 14th, and thanks to Liuzzi being penalised 5 grid places for needing to change a gearbox Vettel got promoted to 15th. However, the really bad news for Button is that Barrichello got pole position (something he’s had twice before, but he’s never won at this circuit in his 327 years of F1 racing).
For this race I’m betting with smaller sums than I otherwise would. The tremendous difficulty of predicting the weather in particular means it’s entirely possible a hugely unlikely result could occur.
There was little dry running during practice and sod all during qualifying, but my impression is that the Red Bull is the best of the dry runners. A combination of bad luck regarding traffic and the track conditions together with a dry running setup for Vettel explains why the rain-meister didn’t make it out of Q3 for the first time this season.
The favourite should be Webber, in my view. He’s carrying just enough extra weight compared to Barrichello to make the second place he achieved more impressive than Rubens’ pole. He also has a better car in the dry, and will be running two laps longer for the first pit stop (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/f1mole/2009/10/bbc-sports-fueladjusted-brazil.html).
At present he’s 3 on Betfair, but Red Bull are identical or marginally longer so I’d take the winning car bet, just on the off-chance Vettel shows a bit of Teutonic rage and monsters the field.
Barrichello has a great shot at first or second, but his bad record here is quite strong (he failed to finish about 5-6 races in a row), and his car is not as good as the Red Bull if it’s dry. I’m not backing him for a podium at 1.5 because although it’s likely, if rain interrupts (either by putting him on the wrong tyres, creating a pit stop/safety car drive through penalty or just making him go off the track) it could easily ruin his race, and the odds aren’t long enough for that possibility.
I’ve checked a few weather websites, and the general consensus is for showers, with about 40-50% chance of them happening. Sounds like intermediate weather to me, which we haven’t really seen too much of.
Because he’s set up for dry running, is also good in the wet and has the joint heaviest fuel load of anyone, I’m going to go out on a limb and back Vettel for a podium. Off the line he, and probably Button, will get overtaken by the two McLarens right behind them, but they’re both light and will come in earlier, and Vettel has about 10kg more than anyone in front of him. Backed him at 7.8, anything over 7 I’d take. It’s pretty risky, but the weather conditions will probably be dry or intermediate, and that will favour the Red Bull, the track is one where overtaking is eminently possible, he’s got more fuel than anyone else and he’s a man on a mission.
As I said before, I’d advocate reducing your stakes for this race. If nothing else, it should be pretty eventful. Race starts at 5pm UK time. After this, we have the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
With the expenses row reignited, it's easy to forget that the most exciting political event of this year, the Norwich North by-election was called as a result of Dr Ian Gibson's decision to resign when it was suggested that his daughter profited from the sale of his flat, partly purchased with 'expenses' money. Of course, now the offence seems relatively minor compared to others but honourable Dr Gibson stood down and the rest is history. Chloe Smith won and took her seat in the commons this week.
But there's another seat in Norwich where there's more at stake. Not only for the individual candidates concerned, but for the future direction of politics in the UK for the next decade. It's Norwich South, home of the pugnacious former home secretary and bruiser Charles Clarke, who’s defending a slim 3,653 majority.
Back in 2005 the votes were cast as follows
Candidate Party 2005Poll
Charles Clarke Labour 15,904 37.7%
Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne Liberal Democrat 12,251 29.0
Anthony Little Conservative 9,567 22.7
Adrian Ramsay Green 3,101 7.4
Plus 4 others
Majority 3,653 Turnout 65.0%
Norwich South is a typical urban constituency in southern England with a broad mix of housing & industry. There’s the leafy Cringleford suburb [Tory-leaning] with the not-quite-so-posh Costessey area to the West [Lib-Dem leaning]. The urban centre is dominated by traditional Council estates where 40% of residents are said to be living on means-tested benefits [Labour]. And then there’s the University of East Anglia, which has made a name for itself with the world’s leading multi-disciplinary environmental faculty [Greens]
So, Norwich South is that rare beast, the genuine four-way marginal with Clarke defending the seat against Simon Wright for the LibDems, Anthony Little for the Tories and Adrian Ramsay for the Greens. And each of them really is in with a chance. Let’s look at each of them in turn.
For several months now the hyper-active Wright has been telling anyone who’ll listen that he only needs a 3.9% swing to unseat the incumbent. And it’s true. But the problem for him is that the 2005 election was fought at a high-water mark for the LibDems locally. At the time they were riding high on the City council and had the benefit of their party workers in neighbouring South Norfolk to help out. But their South Norfolk colleagues were decimated in the 2007 council elections that followed and the LibDems have since haemorrhaged council seats within Norwich and only now have six Councillors out of 39. Wright will bang-on about how it’s a 2-horse race but out of the four candidates, he’s the one who’s going to need the most ‘encouragement’.
Next we have Adrian Ramsay, standing for the Greens. He’s a busy man. Fresh-faced Adrian is also Deputy Leader of the Green Party nationally and is pretty media-savvy and a darling of local radio and press outlets. He also leads the Greens on Norwich City Council, where they are the second largest party [after Labour] in a hung-council. Although trailing in second place across the whole city, in the NorwichSouth part of the constituency, the Greens are the largest party on the Council. In the 2008 Local Elections, the Greens polled 33% of the popular vote with Labour, Tories & LibDems scrabbling about on 21-24% each. This year’s County elections returned Green County Councillors to the exclusion of Labour so they’d argue that the local momentum is with them.
But Ramsay has a dilemma. Not only is he standing for Norwich South in one of the two seats the Greens are targeting [the other being Brighton Pavillions], he’s also fighting Council seats on the same day in Norwich North. The smart money would see the Greens sleep-walking to victory on Norwich City Council [where a financial disaster is unfolding], partly on the back of the canvassing returns they were able to garner in the Norwich North by-election. They’d be the UK’s first Green Council.
Labour’s on-the-rack in Norwich but, for Ramsay, with his local candidature in Norwich South, national responsibilities for the Greens, and strong-possibility of winning the City Council on May 6th, he’s at risk of spreading himself too thinly and ending-up with nothing. He’s going to have to rely heavily on his local supporters at the University to mind the shop for him whilst he’s away and hope they don’t fade away as polling day approaches as they did in the Norwich North campaign.
Next up we have local teacher and leader of the Norwich Council Tories, Anthony Little, also known as poster ‘Anthony’ on the main PB.com site. He’s not been such a confident performer in recent years and hasn’t benefitted from local media coverage, partly because the press doesn’t seem to bother with the fourth-party on a hung-council. But he’s made up for it as an early adopter of technology – his Little’s Log blog has been essential reading for a few years now. His City seat is up for re-election next May to he’s going to have to split himself in two for the campaign as well.
With such a high proportion of households on benefits, it’s going to be interesting to see how the vote splits for the Tory. Normally you’d think there’d be tactical voting against the Tory and the Greens or LibDems would benefit. But although seemingly coming from behind, his campaign has received a boost from last week’s PoliticsHome survey of the marginals, which predicted a Tory victory seeing Norwich South tumble to the Conservatives along with Brandon Lewis in Gt Yarmouth joining Chloe Smith and dead-cert George Freeman fighting the brand-new Mid Norfolk seat. With a spring in his step, he might now be a strong-finisher in the final furlongs. Don’t write him off.
And now, in the red corner, the big beast himself. Charles Clarke. I met him this week and he’s lost none of his enthusiasm for politics and zeal for reform. We joked that You could almost call him a right-winger. And these Centrist views have been manifested this week on the launch of the website http://www.labourfuture.net/, where the list of conspirators is headed by the NorwichSouth MP, whose name is [uniquely] in bold also includes our own Nick Palmer MP. Of course, being on manoeuvres like this has done nothing for his support in the party nationally and I don’t suspect that he’ll be receiving help from supporters bussed-in to help his campaign in the months ahead.
Clarke knows he’s in for a difficult fight but he hopes that the delicate interplay between his three opponents could see him come up the middle and snatch victory. He’s going to have to rely on his incumbency to a great extent but in truth I can see his core vote lending support to the Greens, just as Labour supporters lent votes to Greens & UKIP in Norwich North. It’s difficult to see him holding on. And I think he knows it.
But my analysis is that, whilst every seat is a battle, the result in Norwich South is going have wider repercussions in the war over the next two Parliaments. If the polls are right, Labour will be wiped-out next May with their main ‘thinkers’ eliminated. It’s inconceivable that Clarke will be acceptable to the rump party as leader but as a creator of ideas, his influence will be critical if the party is to dust itself down quickly and I’d even go as far as to say that Clarke’s ‘LabourFuture’ movement could speed-up Labour intellectual recovery by as much as 4-5 years – a whole Parliament.
But in a four-way marginal, it’s all down to chance and the ‘delicate interplay’. The importance of Norwich South is greater than Peter Snow’s swingometer. It’s a ‘battleground’ seat in the battle for ideas. And I’ve got a ringside seat.
Bunnco – Your Man on the Spot
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Vettel simply thrashed field. He’s a great driver, but I doubted his car more than his ability, and was surprised Hamilton didn’t get closer.
So the winning comes to a hopefully temporary end, but you can’t win them all.
Vettel just about keeps his title hopes alive and is now shorter than Barrichello for the title (wrongly, I think). Red Bull could theoretically win the Constructors’ by getting two 1-2s and Brawn failing to finish a Grand Prix from now on, but it’s bloody unlikely.
Button remains firm favourite to fluke his way to a Drivers’ title I’m not sure he deserves. On the bright side, under mad Bernie’s crazy medal system he would’ve won it a few races ago. I hope that doesn’t get adopted.
Next race is in Brazil. Home advantage for Barrichello? Probably not. I can’t remember the link but I do recall seeing that he has a dire record at the Brazilian GP.
Then we have the season-finale at Abu Dhabi. Be fun to see how good a race that is.
According to the 2001 UK census the number of Pakistani's in the UK is at 747,285 which is a very interesting figure and something to not worry about just yet. We have more than 600 parliamentary seats so even if we divided the number of Pakistani's by the number of seat I think that will show you that there isn't enough Pakistani's anywhere in the UK to elect an MP.
Places like Manchester, Birmingham, and Bradford have large communities of Pakistani's but even those communities in my view couldn't just elect a Pakistani MP on their own. So Mr BNP the argument that Pakistani's will start electing their own MPs in still a farce, people like Sadiq Khan and Shahid Malik have been elected by the FPTP system (which isn’t the fairest system) and the whole community voted for them not just the Pakistani voters in their seats.
Saturday, 3 October 2009
In my view the Lib Dems have a good campaign team, good campaigners in constituencies, good candidates but what is the problem the party is facing? The Tories are on the rise, Labour are going into a wall and will crash but the Tories will in their rise take Lib Dem seats with them in my view.
Let's look at Burnley, it is a marginal seat like Pendle and anyone can win it but who will? The Lib Dems seem to have a strong campaign that's due to the fact that the leader of the Council is the Lib Dem candidate so he is always working hard for the people of Burnley. Kitty is not the candidate in Burnley but many people are suggesting Labour party policy maker and high profile Muslim activist Azhar Ali might run in the seat. The Tories do have a candidate but his chances of winning are as slim as Nick Clegg becoming Prime Minister.
Who will win is a question that many are asking. In my view Burnley will become a Lib Dem seat after the next general election with factors like the leader of the Council being the candidate, a massive anti closure of the A&E campaign alongside other micro campaigns to compliment the parliamentary campaign on a whole.
Now let's look at the overall outcome on a whole nationally, I believe Parliament will be hung. But after I have seen the new PoliticsHome poll I think a 70 seat majority could be something to not rule out, especially at this stage.
Conclusions will be made prior to the election but the conclusion on how the people have voted and who they have elected will only be known after the polls close and results are announced.
Button and Barrichello are 12th and 10th, with outside title challenger Vettel in pole position. Despite that, I still doubt Vettel can really hope for the title barring a perfect result today, in Brazil and in Abu Dhabi.
Similarly, Webber, who went off during practice and was therefore unable to take part in qualifying, starts from the back of the grid, so the Constructors’ remains good for Brawn.
So, who is going to win?
My money is on Hamilton. He’s presently about 3.9-4.2, and starts in third. His fuel load is very slightly lighter than Vettel’s, but I think KERS could prove useful. Not only is it an advantage off the line, but if there’s a safety car (and it’s entirely possible given the multiple crashes in qualifying) then KERS gives a great advantage when the safety car comes in.
I also think Raikonnen stands a decent chance at a podium (also about 4.3). The odds are short for Vettel and Hamilton but close regarding whether Trulli, Heidfeld or Raikonnen is likeliest to get the third podium place.
I suspect Trulli will fade away and Heidfeld may well get passed off the line. The Ferrari was a dog at Singapore, but before then Raikonnen had had good form with a few podiums in a row and winning at Spa.
Unlike Singapore, the Japanese Grand Prix isn’t at night so it’ll begin at 6am UK time. Bear that in mind if you want to bet in-play, or want to set up kept lay offerings.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
The results of the poll are as followed:
Will Parliament be hung at the next general election?It's a very interesting poll with some good results, in my view I think the 89% of voters in the poll are people who have lost all hope in Labour and the government.
Don't know 2%