Home  »     »   Tories favourites to win most votes but Labour favourites to win most seats – why?

Tories favourites to win most votes but Labour favourites to win most seats – why?

| 13.06.2014

Have a look at Ladbrokes’ latest general election prices:


An interesting situation; the Tories are favourites to win most votes but Labour are favourites to win most seats. Why is that?

If you use the prediction tool at Electoral Calculus you’ll see that if Labour and the Tories get an equal amount of votes, Labour will end up with around 40 more seats. At the moment, most pundits and political scientists are forecasting that the Tories will end up out-polling Labour in 2015. The long term polling trend is certainly heading that way, but the Tories are likely to need around a 3% advantage before they win more seats.

The current boundaries explain a little of this, notably the fact that Wales and Scotland have more seats per head than England. But the main factor is differential turnout in safe seats. The Conservative’s safest 10 seats had an average turnout of 68%. In Labour’s top 10 it was just 56%. The Tories stack up huge vote majorities in seats across the South of England, for no extra benefit at all. Whereas, of the 50 lowest turnover seats in the country, 46 are held by Labour – much more efficient.

It’s a 5/1 shot that we end up with the Tories getting more votes, but fewer seats. That last happened in the February 1974 election.

For a more eloquent and detailed view of the subject, I recommend Anthony Wells as a guide.

Cameron to hit the pub?


On a more topical note, we’re quoting 6/1 that the Prime Minister is seen in a pub during any England World Cup game.






Matthew Shaddick

Matthew Shaddick has been Head of Poliical Betting at Ladbrokes since 2008. He's a writer and odds-maker with particular expertise in UK and US elections.
Also known to dabble in music, literary and other out of the way betting markets. Sometimes issues tips on horse racing and football, which are best ignored.