Parliament Dissolves And Election Campaigns Begin
Parliament dissolved and the campaigning begins, but is anyone listening?After five years of a coalition that few people – if any – thought would last five months, the race towin the General Election is very much on following Parliament’s dissolving this week. After last week’s budget, in which sellers of Osborne’s ‘tax’ mentions cleaned up, the Conservatives failed to see the ‘bounce’ in the opinion polls that they were hoping for. For what seems like months now, David Cameron and Co. have predicted they’d comfortable pull away in the polls but we’ve yet to see that happen.
One place the Tories have separated from Labour however is on our General Election Seats Market. Labour opened on a lofty 294 seats, but a surge in support for the SNP has left Ed Miliband’s party hovering around the 271 mark, 14 seats behind the Conservatives.
It seems increasingly likely that neither party will win enough seats to govern alone, unless from a precarious minority position. However, with Labour effectively ruling out a formal coalition with the SNP, we’ve seen big movement towards Conservative led governments of any flavour on our ‘Name the Government’ market. A rerun of the current government is marginally favourite over a Conservative minority-led one at present, though with the campaigning just getting started in earnest, it’s still all to play for. We’ve all heard that major cultural events i.e. Olympics, World Cups, elections will be the ‘first’ social media dominated one for a good few years now, however this General Election does feel different.
In years past it was more difficult to escape news or opinion you didn’t agree with, as you’d see print newspapers, overhear radio stations and had limited choices of TV channels to switch over to. However, now you can create your own newsfeed through selective twitter following, for example. We caught a glimpse of this in the Scottish Independence Referendum, where social media was awash with ‘Yes’ voters who convinced themselves they’d win by a landslide as they hadn’t heard or seen contrary views. Many were stunned when they were well beaten on the night.
Could it happen again?
This election will likely be decided by individual constituencies, rather than overarching national sentiment. This week we’ve launched our markets for many individual constituencies, which will prove fascinating to follow over the course of the next six weeks. Will polls in a dead heat, it’s better to look at the spread betting markets to determine likely political outcomes. Will the Tories win 280+ seats and return to govern in some way shape or form? We’ll have to wait 40 days to find out.