Mr Abbott - a hot favourite to win in 2016

Tue, 23 Sep 2014  |  

The polls show some quite serious disenchantment with the Abbott government. The general trend shows that Labor is about 6 points ahead of the Coalition, plus or minus a couple of points for sampling variance and margin of error.

If an election was being held in the next few weeks, there is no doubt that Labor would be very short odds to win.

But the election is not a few weeks away. It is two years away and these polls count for nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

They are interesting, to be sure, just like the score at lunch on the second day of a five day test match as they give a read on how some the political themes are unfolding, but they deliver not much more than that.

While Labor are ahead in the current polls, the betting markets have the Coalition long odds on favourites to win the next election. Generally, the Coalition are $1.50, plus or minus a few cents, while Labor are $2.55.

While it is clear the odds can swing with relatively modest amounts of money, the punters are certainly not stepping up to take what appear to be very generous odds about a Labor victory. This is probably because a lot can and will change over the next two years.

Security issues, "we fixed the budget mess, stopped the boats" and all of those other seemingly hot button topics will be wheeled out by the Coalition as the 2016 election looms. It is odd that voters are so wedded on these issues which have little material impact on their way of life. Labor will, of course, run on Abbott's broken promises, they will probably promise to get rid of the bunch of horribly unfair budget measures (the Medicare co-payment, university fee hikes, pension cuts and the like) but in doing so, Labor will be vulnerable to the good old "where's the money coming from" questioning from their opponents. They better have a well crafted answer or else they will be in trouble.

Rarely does a government have just one term, which is possibly why the Coalition remain hot favourites to win in 2016. Maybe that favouritism is because of the benefits of incumbency and the judgement that the security, boats and fiscal bogie will be tough to beat, that the betting markets remain so strongly in the Coalition's favour.

Who knows. As a keen punter, I have not yet put a cent on the election. The odds for either side are just not attractive enough and there is too many unknowns that can tilt the probabilities one way or another. 

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