This morning’s polls in The Australian suggest a Labor Victory by a landslide but betting markets suggest the Coalition will be returned. The polls predict a two-party-preferred vote of 57% for Labor which would sweep it to power. Sportingbet however was paying $1-80 for a Coalition win and $1-95 for a Labor win for a $1 bet. A news story accompaning the poll results suggested betting on a Coalition victory had received strong support over the past couple of days – one punter outlaying $20,000 for a Coalition victory.
The polls were described as being held March 2-4 so that some of the impact of the Rudd-Burke exposé must have registered. Indeed Rudd's personal approval rating fell (from 68 to 62%) and his disapproval rating increased (from 13 to 18%).
My colleague, Andrew Leigh, argues that betting markets outperform polls as election predictors and that seems sensible because people are more serious about indicating their beliefs when they have to back these beliefs with cash. But I am surprised at the betting behaviour which expresses more optimism than I now have that the Coalition will get back.
For the seat of Bennelong, Sportingbet was paying $2-60 for a McKew win and $1-37 for JWH which seems more understandable. I don’t think the lovely Maxine has a chance – nor does she deserve one.
Incidentally poll results were also provided on support for the nuclear power option which splits starkly on party lines. A majority of Coalition supporters (61%) support the nuclear option while a majority of Labor voters (52%) oppose it. Coalition supporters will vote for a more experienced leader. They also have a better grasp of environmental and greenhouse gas logic.