Paddy Power, the bookies, have put the Tories at 1:25 on to win Norwich North in Thursday’s by-election. Labour are right out there as rank outsiders at 10:1.
Many former Labour voters are genuinely unhappy about the way their MP, Ian Gibson, was treated over his expenses. The party is broadly disliked at a national level. And now it emerges that the party candidate has gone down with swine flu.
Alex is today up in the land of Alan Partridge gathering some genuine intelligence on the ground.
But I can’t help thinking (from my London desk) that expectations management has gone well for Labour. We’ve reached the point where some pundits believe the Tories can’t lose. There is even talk of a majority of up to 5,000 for the victor in blue.
Yet Labour hasn’t been that far behind the Conservatives in the polls. A gap of just 4 per cent according to this poll by ICM.
A narrow victory could seem rather hollow for the Conservatives, given Labour’s local disarray and the Tory hopes for a knockout win in the next general election.