Bookmaker Ladbrokes has now posted on its website the betting odds for every single constituency in Great Britain (there is nothing yet on the 18 seats in Northern Ireland).
I have just spent several hours going though the odds for each seat in order to establish what they currently expect to happen constituency by constituency - my premise being that the favourite, with the shortest odds, is the party they currently expect to win the seat.
After boundary changes, the Conservatives start the election notionally holding 209 seats. Ladbrokes' odds suggest that as of today they expect the Conservatives to gain 132 seats, giving the party 341 seats in the Commons, which equates to a majority of 33.
There obviousy does not tak account of any seats the Conservatives may win in Northern Ireland, and, as noted below, there are a few constituencies which are deemed to close to call and are therefore not included in the Tory tally at this stage. The bookmaker lists joint favourites for those seats.
The lists of seats changing hands use the base of the notional 2005 results compiled by Professors Rallings and Thrasher of the University of Plymouth, which raises several issues:
- Some gains are for seats that do not technically exist in the current House of Commons (eg York Outer)
- Several seats listed as gains are already represented by the party deemed to have gained it. This is either because boundary changes mean that the party has to win it back again after unfavourable boundary changes, or because the party only holds the seat through having gained it at a by-election.
- There are some seats which are already deemed to have been gained by the Conservatives as a result of boundary changes. They are: Enfield North; Finchley and Golders Green; Rochester and Strood (the redrawn Medway seat); Selby and Ainsty; Sittingbourne and Sheppey; Solihull; Somerset North East (the redrawn Wansdyke seat); Staffordshire Moorlands; Thanet South; and Wirral West. Then there are the newly created safe Conservative seats including Derbyshire Mid; Devon Central; Filton and Bradley Stoke; Meon Valley; Northamptonshire South; and Witham.
So, here are the seats which Ladbrokes are currently expecting to change hands - and in any cases where you are confident that the bookmaker has got it wrong, then perhaps it is worth putting your money where your mouth is...Conservative gains from Labour - 118