Historic coalition could be on the cards after next election
In a former life, as a bookmaker, my job was to compile the original general election odds. For the forthcoming election and, in order to predict possible outcomes, my first instinct is to check the assessments of those whose money is on the line if they get it wrong. Who'll be next Taoiseach? How many seats for each party? Which parties will form the next administration? The most likely to be correct are the bookies, before political players (who are too biased and favour their own) and media hacks (who are too close to the Leinster House bubble).
For the uninitiated, a quick explainer about the modus operandi of bookmaking: with two possible outcomes, eg the toss of a coin - heads or tails, actual odds are evens each; to create a profit, marginal odds are 5/6 each, meaning in a perfectly balanced book for each €100 paid out, the bookie takes in €120; with three eventualities, odds of 7/4 on each means for every €7 of winnings paid out, you pocket €8. The weight of cash moves markets to keep the liabilities manageable.
Odds compilers assess the following form factors: the sum of the parts of 40 constituency battles - all politics are local in Ireland; the accuracy of current opinion polls; recent election results (local council/European May 14 and by-elections); revised constituency commission boundaries; election timing; transfer prospects; predominant issues where voters will determine the outcome; relative party momentum and leadership appeal.