Britain’s main parties are getting ready for the big electoral battle and bookies are betting UKIP will be taking most of the available seats.
Thursday is going to be a big day for British politics. The 2014 European Parliament elections are scheduled to be held on May 22, the same day as the local elections in England and Northern Ireland. UK electors will get to choose who represents them in the European Parliament and 73 cozy seats are up for grabs.
Most of the results of the election will be announced on Sunday 25 May, after voting has closed throughout the 28 member states of the European Union, but online sportsbooks in the UK have already done their research and figured out who has the best chances of winning the hottest political betting race of the year.
No hope for the Lib Dems
Most popular bets, according to OddsChecker:
• UKIP 1/2
• Labour 5/2
• Conservatives 6/1
• Lib Dem 350/1
• Green 0/1
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg recently told reporters that it was “flamingly obvious” that being part of the coalition government has hurt the Liberal Democrats’ image. The party is not too optimistic about the outcome of this week’s European elections.
With a recent poll conducted by ComRes/ITV News showing the Liberal Democrats could end up losing two thirds of their 12 MEPs, including their only Scottish MEP, George Lyon, the deputy prime minister refused to comment and said that debating these results would be “a complete waste of time”.
Speaking on a campaigning visit in Edinburgh, Clegg told reporters: “I just think the prediction business is for pollsters and soothsayers.” And predictions are certainly not optimistic for the British party, as even Lib Dem strategists admit that the party is going to take a beating on Thursday.
Online and mobile betting operators in the UK also award the Lib Dems slim chances of winning. Paddy Power and Betaway posted 300/1 odds, SkyBet awarded them 350/1 chances of winning, while Betfair is going with 949/1 odds on this one.
UKIP, popular with bookies and voters
The UK Independence Party has led the polls until a few days ago and they’re still top choice in the lists prepared by bookmakers. SkyBet is betting on them to win, as the latest odds award the UKIP 1/2 chances of winning. Betfair and Betaway are less convinced though, posting odds of 4/7 and 9/20 respectively. Paddy Power is offering odds of 4/11 on this one.
It’s certainly been a tough campaign for the UKIP and the party seems to have managed to draw more voters than expected.
A poll conducted by the Independent at the end of last week showed that Nigel Farage was still a top favorite among British voters, despite accusations of racism after pointing out “differences” between Romanian and German immigrants.
In a recent statement Farage publicly denied these accusations, but added: “It is to say that any normal and fair- minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door.”
A poll published a few days ago showed that the Eurosceptic party could win MEP seats across the whole country, leading with 11 points ahead of Labour, at 35%. But a more recent one, which interviewed 2,000 voters, suggested the European elections have become a much closer fight.
The UKIP might still be leading as far as bookmakers are concerned, but the latest poll by ICM/Sunday Telegraph indicates the Conservatives have won back some of the ground they had previously lost to their main rivals. According to these figures, the Labour party is in first place, taking 29% of the votes, the Conservatives are at 26% and the UKIP is one point behind, on third place.
These changing results show that this year’s political battle will be an interesting one, especially for those who are betting money on one of the three leading parties. “Usually, polls give a pretty clear picture of what’s going to happen at any major election. Not so here. Labour could win, as could the Tories, or maybe UKIP,” ICM Research director Martin Boon said.
So prepare for an exciting political betting competition this Thursday and make sure to check out all offers posted on online sportsbooks in the UK, to get the best odds for this year’s race.