Saturday, August 7, 2010
AUSTRALIA'S punters are putting their money on Julia Gillard. They see Labor as on track to scrape back into office with its majority cut to six or eight seats, online bookies' odds reveal.
Despite recent polls showing the Coalition either leading or on level pegging, all four online bookmakers BetFair, Centrebet, Sportingbet and Sportsbet all still have Labor as the clear favourite to win re-election.
Yesterday, a dollar punted on a Labor win would earn you between $1.50 and $1.56 from different bookies if you were right. A dollar punted on the Coalition would reap you between $2.45 and $2.74 if they get home.
Those odds are much closer than they were at the start of the campaign, when the few punters backing Tony Abbott were offered $4 if he became PM.
They are also a fair bit closer than the odds being offered for the coming Victorian election, in which John Brumby is hot favourite.
But Labor's overall lead is backed up in the odds being offered for individual seats. If the punters are right, only seven of the 150 seats are likely to change hands two of them in Victoria and Labor will return with a reduced majority.
It's a bit complex to explain, because the latest round of redistributions has made six Coalition seats notionally Labor. But the bookies expect that four of them, possibly five, will in fact stay with the Coalition.
They include Dickson (Qld), held by shadow health minister Peter Dutton, Herbert (Qld), Swan (WA), Gilmore (NSW) and possibly Macarthur (NSW).
Those seats aside, the bookies think the Coalition will pick up just five seats from Labor: Robertson, Belinda Neal's former seat, and Macquarie in NSW; and Dawson, Flynn and Leichhardt along the Queensland coast and mining towns.
Against that, the punters are betting the Coalition will lose Melbourne's north-east fringe seat of McEwen to Labor. Most of them rate Labor as being as likely to win McEwen as it is to win the election making it a good litmus test for Australia.
But all the bookies also have the Greens as clear favourites to win the seat of Melbourne from Labor. They are offering $1.60 to $1.67 for the Greens, and from $1.98 to $2.20 for Labor.
One or two bookies have the Coalition as narrow favourite or even-money chances to hold Macarthur and take Hasluck (WA) and Solomon (NT) from Labor, while Sportingbet has Labor as favourite to win Hughes (NSW) from the Liberals.
The net impact of all this is that they expect Labor to win 78 or 79 seats in the 150-member House giving it a majority of six or eight seats. The Coalition would win 67 or 68, the Greens one, and independents three.
But the bookies see five other Labor seats as pretty close, especially Corangamite (Victoria), where Centrebet, Sportsbet and Sportingbet all have Labor ahead by a nose.
Labor is seen as more certain to hold Deakin, its other marginal seat in Victoria. And vice versa; the bookies seem reasonably confident the Coalition will hold its other Victorian marginal seat, La Trobe.