Archive for the 'America' Category


Biden drops to second place in California while his lead’s down to just 4 in New Hampshire

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

Another American White House race is starting to dominate political betting which is a  reminder of just how how long PB has been going.  WH2020 contest will be the fifth such race that PB has covered and, indeed, it was the battle for the Democratic nomination in 2004 that first prompted me to create the site.

Even though the first states to decide on Democratic and GOP nomination won’t be for nearly six months the debates have started and the incumbent’s latest racist comments have just made the Democrats more determined to make the right choice.

While 76 old Joe Biden has been enjoying leads of up to 15% in the national Democratic nomination polling he’s facing a much tighter contest, if the latest surveys are to be believed, in the first round of states where primaries will be held.

A new Quinnipiac University poll of the biggest state of all with the most delegates at stake, California, has  Harris on 23% ahead of Biden on 21% with Bernie Sanders  and Elizabeth Warren  at 18% and 16% respectively.

Overnight there have been two New New Hampshire polls one of them which has Biden the 4% ahead and the other 5%. In each poll in second place is the Massachusetts senator, Elizabeth Warren.

What is striking  is the gap between the early state polling and the national polls where former vice president continues to enjoy double-digit Leeds almost across the board.

These are the details of the latest polls from the New Hampshire,

Biden 24, Warren 19, Sanders 19, Harris 9, Buttigieg 10, Yang 1, O’Rourke 2, Booker 2, Klobuchar 0, Williamson 1, Gillibrand 1, Gabbard 1, Delaney 1

St. Anselm
Biden 21, Warren 17, Sanders 10, Harris 18, Buttigieg 12, Yang 5, O’Rourke 0, Booker 1, Klobuchar 3, Williamson 2, Gillibrand 1, Gabbard 1, Delaney 1

On Betfair Harris on 30% and Warren 20% are both ahead of Biden.

Mike Smithson



Punters continue to rate Trump as having a near 50% chance of winning a second term

Monday, July 15th, 2019 chart of Betfair exchange

The polls, though, have the top 4 Democrats beating him

We’ve not looked at the main WH2020 market for some time – who’ll win the next hear’s White House race and as the chart shows what movement there’s been on the Betfair exchange has been towards the controversial incumbent.

At the moment, of course, the Democrats are maybe a year away from deciding who their nominee shall be and it is only when that becomes clear that we will get a greater take.

New NBC/WSJ polling has the following match ups:

Biden 51, Trump 42
Warren 48, Trump 43
Sanders 50, Trump 43
Harris 45, Trump 44

The interesting thing in the polling is the continued rise of Senator Elizabeth Warren who raised nearly $20m in the past quarter. It feels that there’s real momentum with her campaign.

In two weeks we’ll see the next TV debate where Biden has got to do substantially better than last time when he really did look his age.

I remain convinced that the 76 and 77 old Biden and Sanders won’t get the nomination and that their current polling positions are based on higher name recognition. Sanders has been hurt most by the rise of Warren.

In all of this the Democrats desperately want to stop a second Trump term and who is seen best able to achieve that will likely get the nomination.

Mike Smithson


The threat to Obamacare, not Trump’s Tweets and tantrums, could be what costs him WH2020

Friday, July 12th, 2019


As we saw at the Midterms eroding what’s become an entitlement is politically dangerous

I think that it is very easy for those of us who are engrossed with politics, that’s just about all those who follow PB, to pay too much attention to the personalities and not to the substance of what’s involved.

Last November the Democrats did remarkably well in the midterm elections and now have a rock-solid majority in the House. Unfortunately the Senate seats they were up that year, and only 1/3 are elected every two years, weren’t good territory for them and they failed to take the Upper House.

But the big picture is that Trumps opponents control Congress and increasingly they are making life difficult for the incumbent president.

One of the big reasons for the party’s success last November was the perceived threat to what public healthcare there exists in the US from the president who appears to be ideologically opposed to the state have anything to do with the provision of such a service. It is not helped by the fact that the system that exists is commonly named after his predecessor, Obamacare.

As chronicled by Paul Krugman in the New York Times today there is another legal Stuart taking place and this could have the impact of impeding or actually eroding what’s provided already. He writes:

” If you’re an American who suffers from a pre-existing condition, or doesn’t have a job that comes with health benefits, you should know that if Trump is re-elected, he will, one way or another, take away your health insurance.”

The big problem is that once the state begins to provide something then it is incredibly difficult to take it away. No UK government has dared to touch pensioners’bus passes and other benefits for the oldies and look at the row that’s now taking the place over the possibility that those over the age of 75 might have to pay for their TV licences.

As the RCP polling trend chart above the Trump era has seen a big turnaround in public opinion on health provision. The current legal moves documented in the Krugman article above could, if successful, end Trump’s second term hopes.

Mike Smithson


Might Trump be impeached after leaving office?

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

Losing in 2020 might just be the start of the game

Obscure corners of the US constitution were made for delving into, particularly when they interact with a scenario which is not wholly implausible: in this case, a post-presidency impeachment.

“Hang on”, you might say; “doesn’t impeachment, if successfully carried, involve the loss of office? In which case it would be pointless for someone who’s already gone?”.

Yes, it does – but that’s not all it does, which is what might become key here.

Before turning our attention to the constitution, let’s think about one key assertion that Trump has made: that he has the power to pardon himself of federal crimes. As the constitution is written, he’s technically right. There is only one limitation placed on the presidential power of pardon for offences against the United States, and it doesn’t relate to who they can be for. If he wanted to issue himself and his family and associates blanket pardons for any federal crime committed (whether tried or not), he could do so on the day he left office. I would not put it past Trump to do so.

Which begs the question, what could anyone do about the lawful – but grossly abusive – exercise of a constitutional presidential power; one which would effectively give him a blank cheque? Well, the constitution’s checks and balances provides the answer in the form of impeachment, which is the one form of conviction that the president cannot override.

Could Congress, however, convict an impeachment without some specific ‘high crime or misdemeanour’ to hang it on, and would that be sufficient to nullify a blanket pre-emptive (and hence unspecific) self-pardon? On the first, probably no: impeachment articles would need to be more specific than a pardon would – but there is no shortage of options to work with. On the second, again, probably no: it’d be limited to the articles of impeachment.

Here we need to turn back to the constitution and in particular, the clause which limits the consequences of impeachment not just to loss of office and debarment from future office but also that “the party convicted [in the impeachment] shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgement and punishment, according to Law.”

In other words, it follows that if a presidential pardon cannot be applied to an impeachment (which the constitution says it can’t), then an impeachment must override any pre-emptive pardon and render the subject liable to the due process of law.

Trump and his lawyers might well still argue that you can’t impeach someone who’s not in office, perhaps pointing to Section 4 of Article II, which says “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. They would, presumably, argue that as he was at that point no longer president, he was no longer subject to its process. However, that would be a very limited view of its scope and far from the only one possible. While that clause identifies the automatic consequence for impeachment for the holders of the specified offices, it neither places a limit on those consequences (though other clauses do, and go beyond this one), nor does it necessarily limit impeachment to those holding the named office.

How likely is all this? Improbable but far from impossible. There’s no saying what a desperate Trump might do in an effort to win an election he could be losing – never mind what Mueller has found that he’s already done. His Louis XIV view of what his relationship should be with the state and the law provides the possibility both for the action and the pardon. But a defeated Trump does not generate the fear for Republican congressmen and senators than an elected one does. Not only would the spell have been broken but Trump’s opportunity for revenge would be limited – and we can reasonably assume that if Trump does lose, especially if surrounded by scandal, then the Democrats will control both Houses, even if they’d be well short of 2/3rds in the Senate. That might not matter though. Senators’ terms are long and the political imperative to provide cover for a former president – a loser and potentially (in this scenario) a crook – would be greatly reduced. Indeed, there may well be a desire to draw a line under the political aberration that presidency represents. Opposition from Republicans shouldn’t be necessarily assumed.

There is, it has to be said, every chance we don’t end up exploring this particular constitutional oddity. Trump may not spend the rest of his days fighting off the law. He might go quietly into retirement at the end of his term (whenever that may be), or back to the media and property – and Washington might exhale a sigh of relief and try to get back to normality. But then again, he might not.

David Herdson


Democratic voters are more fired up about WH2020 than Republicans ones which could be bad news for Trump

Monday, July 8th, 2019

By far the biggest global political betting event next year will be the White House Race and all the series of state primaries leading up to it. We have, of course, already started the TV debates for the Democratic nomination and a further round is scheduled for the end of the month.

Until now all the PB focus has been on the Democratic nomination race and we’ve barely looked at the bigger picture – will Trump get a second term?

The ABC News polling highlighted above was flagged up by the leading Republican pollster Frank Luntz and is very striking. As can be seen it shows how Democratic voters are so much more fired up about the coming election out than Republican ones and if that continues to be the case in a very divided nation it could make a difference.

Presidents are allowed to serve a maximum of two four year terms and generally incumbents retain the job when up for re-election.

White House races take place every four years are a long process, and even a year on from today it is possible that we might still not have a clear idea who Trump’s opponent will be.

For the moment, at least, not that many Americans are actually actively following the process with the possible exception of the those living in the early States to decide on the nominees Iowa, and New Hampshire.

Currently the front runner for the Democratic nomination is Joe Biden the 76 year old former vice president who has twice before run for the presidency and twice failed. He does, however the highest name recognition of any of the contenders which gives him an edge in the polling at this stage. The question is whether that’s sustainable  .

At this stage ahead WH2016 Republican nominee race the polls had Jeb Bush with a 19 point lead. He failed.

On the Betfair exchange Biden is currently rated as a 13% chance for the nomination – down from 31% before last month’s TV debates. Kamala Harris is at 33% with Elizabeth Warren at 19%.

Mike Smithson



Harris and Warrnen now dominate the WH2020 Democratic betting following their performances in the first TV debates

Monday, July 1st, 2019

The chart above shows the dramatic impact that last week’s debate have had on the fight for the Democratic nomination to take on Trump at WH2020.

Before the 76 year old former VP, Jo Biden, looked unstoppable and now all the focus is on the two women senators who are seen to have performed best in the two nights of debate.

Meanwhile new YouGov US polling has been published finding that both women were given a 59% rating to the question on who performed best in the two debates. That’s pretty convincing.

My guess is that Biden will still top the nomination polling of Democratic voters but his lead will be nothing like as emphatic as it was before last week. Looking back he showed his age and his vulnerability on how he dealt with issues decades ago.

Democratic voters have overwhelming one objective for next year’s White House race – they want Trump out – and at the moment Harris and Warren look best able to achieve that.

The next debate in a few weeks time might pitch Warren against Harris which.of course, didn’t happen last week.

Mike Smithson


Old White Man Mispriced In 2020 Presidential Election – a 140/1 shot that’s surely worth a punt

Monday, July 1st, 2019

So… there’s an old white man, whose 2020 Presidential election price on Betfair is wrong. Perhaps very significantly wrong.

And no, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump or Joe Biden. I’m talking about the Vice President, Mike Pence.

On Betfair right now, he’s currently at 150-1. The traditional bookies have him at 100/1.

Yeah, you might say, but Mueller’s over, and Trump’s not getting impeached. And his favourable numbers with Republicans are off the charts. So, why would anyone bet on any Republican other than Trump?

Well, simply, Pence’s odds are wildly wrong.

The 2020 Presidential election is Tuesday November 3rd, 2020. That’s almost a year and a half away.

If President Trump dies or has a serious medical issue in that period, then who is extremely likely to be the Republican nominee? Errr – that would be Vice President Mike Pence. Statistically, that’s probably a 30-1 (or better) chance given the demographics tables. (And while you shouldn’t pay too much attention, there are a number of stories in the US press right now about how he seems to be struggling with his balance, and is often seen holding onto things. Make of that what you will.)

But that isn’t the only way this pays out. What if President Trump sees that his reelection numbers are horrible and decides to retire declaring “Mission Accomplished”? That’s not impossible either. Or perhaps President Trump starts to worry about having to wear an orange jumpsuit. Well, promoting Pence to President makes sure he’s pardoned prior to a Democrat taking over.

This is a long-odds bet. But all in all, the chances of Pence being the Republican nominee are no worse that 30-1 or so, and may well be less. If we assume that a generic Republican has a 40% chance of winning the election, then any price better than about 65-1 is value. Were I not US resident, I would make a small bet on President Pence.

Robert Smithson


WH2020 could be the election that the US finally chooses a woman

Friday, June 28th, 2019

A look at the Presidential gender betting

Over the past couple of nights we had the first tv debates of the battle in the Democratic party to secure the nomination for next year’s White House election to come up presumably against Donald Trump .

One factor that is very striking is that the two contenders who most stood out were women. They are Senators Elizabeth Warren (16% on Betfair) of Massachusetts, clear victor on Wednesday evening, and Kamala Harris (25% Betfair favourite) of California who took the accolades on Thursday.

We haven’t seen yet any serious post debate polling on how potential primary voters view the race now but it is apparent that Senators Harris and Warren are the ones to beat. Overnight the ageing duo of Jo Biden and Bernie Sanders, both in their late 70s, failed to come across effectively and it is much harder to see either going all the way to the convention next year when the nominee will be confirmed.

Until this point one betting market that I haven’t highlighted before is on the gender of the next President. On Betfair it is about a 25% chance that the next occupant of the White House will be female and that looks a very tempting price given the current dominance of Harris and Warren.

A bet on the WH2020 winner being female would also cover you for two other women senators in the field as well as Oprah Winfrey who is being enthusiastically supported by late night TV host Bill Maher. There’s been no indication that she is interested.

Mike Smithson