Labor proves a good bet in ACT

Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh  has opened at $1.01 to $50 for the Coalition candidate.
Member for Fraser Andrew Leigh has opened at $1.01 to $50 for the Coalition candidate.

It's not often an academic seeks to downplay his research, especially when it contains good news for him.

Before entering politics, Fraser MP Andrew Leigh co-wrote an academic paper in which he suggested betting markets were more reliable at predicting election outcomes than opinion polls or economic modeling.

And with online bookmaker opening markets on all 150 electorates in this year’s federal election, Dr Leigh could not have hoped for better odds.

He has opened at $1.01 to $50 for the Coalition candidate, making him the unbackable favourite.

But the first-term Labor MP laughed at the suggestion his research meant he could effectively declare himself re-elected.

“You should always treat the job that I hold as a great privilege and it always humbling being out there talking with constituents,” he said.

“Voters never like it if they think an MP takes them for granted and I certainly don’t take them or my re-election for granted.”

Labor has held Fraser since it was created in 1974 - when the ACT got a second federal electorate - and Dr Fraser won it with 64.2 per cent of the two-party preferred vote in 2010, making it one of the safer Labor seats in the country.

Member for Canberra Gai Brodtmann also has the odds comfortably on her side, if not as much as Dr Leigh. Bets opened at $1.10 for Ms Brodtmann to $6.50 for a Coalition win.

The Labor MP has repeatedly stated that she treats her electorate as though it is a marginal seat.

Over the state border, Labor’s Mike Kelly is not so safe in his bellwether electorate of Eden-Monaro. Sportsbet has opened odds in the NSW seat with the Coalition on $1.45 and Labor on $2.50.

Across the country the Coalition is favourite in 91 seats and the ALP in 54, pointing to a landslide win for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

The betting agency’s Ben Hawes said that in the overall election winner market, the Coalition was a  $1.35 favourite, with Labor the $3.30 outsider.

This story Labor proves a good bet in ACT first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.