Speaking on RN Breakfast on Friday, Ben Oquist of progressive think tank the Australia Institute voiced the beltway consensus that “the bookies have got this one wrong at the moment – they’re forecasting a much bigger Labor victory than anybody seems to be predicting”. Betting markets at first appeared to respond, if not to Oquist specifically, then to the view coming through in media reports that both major parties were expecting a tight contest. Labrokes was offering $5 on a Coalition on Thursday, but by Sunday this was in to $3.50. Then came Newspoll, showing Labor maintaining its lead, and the Coalition blew back out to $4.50.
The individual seat markets have been more consistent, pointing to a Labor landslide of even greater dimensions than the one currently projected by BludgerTrack, which I would have thought quite a bit too favourable for Labor, particularly in Queensland. Ladbrokes rates Labor as favourites in five Coalition-held seats in New South Wales (Banks, Gilmore, Page, Reid and Robertson), four in Victoria (Chisholm, Corangamite, Deakin and Dunkley), three in Western Australia (Hasluck, Pearce and Swan), one in South Australia (Boothby), and a Kevin Rudd-equalling nine in Queensland (Bonner, Brisbane, Capricornia, Dawson, Dickson, Flynn, Forde, Leichhardt and Petrie).
There has been some movement to the Coalition in the seat markets, notably in Flinders, where Liberal member Greg Hunt has edged to very narrow favouritism. Other significant movements have been recorded in the Liberals’ favour in Banks ($3.50 to $2.25), Lindsay ($3.50 to $2.05), Page ($2.40 to $1.90), Lyons ($5.50 to $4), Chisholm ($5 to $3.75), although Labor remains favourites in each. However, there has actually been movement in Labor’s favour in Gilmore, where they are in from $1.30 to $1.18, with Liberal out from $4.50 to $4.75.
Of the independent contenders, Albury mayor Ken Mack is rated equally likely to succeed against Liberal member Sussan Ley in Farrer as Zali Steggall is against Tony Abbott in Warringah, each offering a payout of $2.00. Both are trumped by Rob Oakeshott in Cowper, the most highly fancied non-incumbent independent at $1.75. In Mallee, where Andrew Broad of the Nationals is retired hurt, Ladbrokes is offering $3 for an independent to win, be it Ray Kingston, Cecilia Moar or Jason Modica. (Sportsbet has it at $4.75). Dave Sharma is favoured to recover Wentworth for the Liberals from Kerryn Phelps, with the two respectively at $1.57 and $2.30.
Among the many features of the Poll Bludger election guide, you can find Ladbrokes’ seat odds listed on the bottom right of each of the electorate pages, which are linked to individually throughout this post.