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The first forecast for the midterms gives the Democrats a 75% chance of winning back the House

August 17th, 2018

On Betfair punters make it a 61% punt

In spite of all that is going on in UK politics at the betting markets here continue to make the US midterms in November the most popular betting event. This is not surprising. There’s a high UK interest in US and the White House races can be almost as big in betting terms as UK elections. Also punters tend to be attracted to risking cash when they have a definable end date.

So the latest forecast from the famed 538 website is worth taking notice of even if its main impact is to move the betting.

I should say that I have two big caveats which have so far led me not to bet. Firstly the US economy is currently pretty strong and this is acknowledged in the polls by the voters. That should normally be enough to secure Trumps Republicans a victory.

Secondly the polls are not painting as convincing a picture as 538. Because of gerrymandered congrsssional District boundaries it’s reckoned that the Democrats need a lead of about 8% in the national vote share in order to ensure that they take the house. The current RealClearPolitics average has it at 6.8%.

We do know that in primaries at the moment there is a very high turn out both of Democratic party supporters and Republican ones. Both sides are very engaged and we can expect to see the same on polling day on the first Tuesday in November.

Mike Smithson