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Is a Romney nomination looking less inevitable?

December 1st, 2011

Could Newt Gingrich soon become favourite?

By far the biggest political betting story at the moment is the race for the Republican White House nomination in which real voters start making their choices in just 34 days. Big money is starting to be wagered and every serious political punter that I know is involved.

The past 24 hours have seen dramatic changes as one poll after another in one state after another have seen Romney’s share fall and that of the ex-house speaker, Newt Gingrich, rise.

The big focus is on the so-called “early states” – those where the decisions will be made in January. By far the most delegate rich of these is Florida where two pollsters last night reported Gingrich leads of 24% and then 30%.

Such huge deficits are a massive jolt to Romney’s primary campaign which is based on his victory being inevitable. That’s fine as long as that remains the case unlike now.

The chart above shows the movement in the Betfair market with prices expressed as percentages.

I’ve got no view as to whether Romney, Gingrich or AN Other will triumph and get the nomination. In the short-term, though, I think the polling will continue to go Gingrich’s way and that will be reflected in the betting price.

The great Newt gamble is only just beginning and it could be that he’ll become the new favourite. Will that be sustained as we get into 2012? I wish I knew.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonOGH