Archive for the 'America' Category


The weekend polling suggests that Trump is losing voter support in the battle of “The Wall”

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Now he’s in negative territory amongst non-college whites

With the US government shutdown continuing and 800k federal workers not getting their salary cheques on Friday there’s no sign of an end to what is totally dominating US politics. Basically Trump has shut down large parts of the federal government to put pressure on the Democrats to provide funding for a wall along the whole of the Mexican-US border. This was a key Trump WH2016 campaign pledge when he said the Mexicans would pay. That, as you’d expect has not been forthcoming.

The polling suggests that Trump is losing the battle for public support. A Washington Post/ABC News poll on the government shutdown finds 53% saying Trump and the Republicans are to blame with 29% saying the Democrats. Those are not good numbers for the incumbent in the year before a presidential election.

In the US between elections the big polling numbers that matter for a first term President are his approval ratings and these are the ones that get highlighted by the media. So any sizeable shift gets attention.

A new CNN poll has the President’s approval rating at 37% approve to 57% disapprove. Disapproval has risen five points since December, while his approval number has held roughly the same. CNN reports that the detail suggests he’s now struggling with his core base.

“The increase in disapproval for the President comes primarily among whites without college degrees, 45% of whom approve and 47% disapprove, marking the first time his approval rating with this group has been underwater in CNN polling since February 2018. In December, his approval rating with whites who have not received a four-year degree stood at 54%, with 39% disapproving. Among whites who do hold college degrees, Trump’s ratings are largely unchanged in the last month and remain sharply negative — 64% disapprove and 32% approve.”

There’s no sign that either the President or the Democrats are going to give way and at some stage key public services like airport security look set to get hit. Already there are reports of many federal workers calling in sick and you can understand their feelings. It is not their fault that they are having to bear the brunt.

Key to the politics of this are leading Republicans who have largely stuck with their President though there are signs of dissent.

From Trump’s point of view the shutdown does detract attention from the wide range in probes into his dealings and whether there was collusion with Russia.

Mike Smithson


Kamala Harris – my WH2020 66/1 pick from two years ago – set to enter the race a week on Monday

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Now joint favourite for the Democratic nomination

This is from my post under the heading “My 66/1 long-shot bet for the 2020 White House race: Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California” from January 18th 2017 – two days before Donald Trump was inaugurated as President.

“..With Trump’s inauguration taking place on Friday there’s been a flurry of betting activity on the newly elected Senator from California, Kamala Harris, for the next White House Race in 2020. This followed a lot of coverage of her part in fighting against Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions.

In November she became the second black woman and first Indian American elected to serve in the Senate. She’s a former Attorney-General for California and is the daughter of an Indian-American mother and Jamaican-American father…

My reading of the Democratic party 2020 race is that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders will simply be too old to contemplate running. Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren (15/2) is currently favourite and she’s likely to play a big part in her party’s opposition to the incoming president. She was strongly tipped to run last year but didn’t. Maybe 2016 was her best chance.”

That was written nearly two years and it has aged well. Harris was only then starting her first term in the US Senate and has made a big mark. She featured a lot three months ago during the process to validate Judge Kavanagh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. This is from The Hill.

“Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will formally announce her bid for the White House on or around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, sources told KCBS Radio, a station in her home state of California.

Harris has long been considered a possible frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination and speculation that she would enter the race continued to mount this week when she launched a book tour and media blitz to promote her memoir that was published Tuesday…”

My reading of her is that she’s better equipped for a battle with Trump than her Senate colleague, Elizabeth Warren, who put her hat into the ring on New Year’s Eve.

Mike Smithson


In Jan 2017 Trump had net positive approval ratings in 38 US states – that’s now down to 21

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

US Map showing Trump approval ratings Jan 2017

US Map showing Trump approval ratings Dec 2018

It is a sign of just how long PB has been around that next year’s White House Race will be the 5th that we’ve covered on the site since its foundation in March 2004. These are massive betting events something that is helped by the build-up of primaries towards the nominations of then of course the battle itself.

With just under two years to go well over £2m has been wagered on Betfair’s WH2020 markets alone and on most days the US election markets are biggest in terms of bets laid and bets placed.

One thing we have learned over the years is that a good indicator of the whether a sitting President is going to get re-elected are his approval ratings and here Mr Trump is finding it a struggle. Overnight new polling Morning Consult which reports state by finds all finds President Trump’s net numbers are taking a big tumble.

    Critically the incumbent now has net negative ratings in nine states that were won by him in the 2016 presidential election – Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Tonight in an effort to build support for his controversial Mexican Wall project he is making a TV broadcast on why he is keeping the federal government closed in order to get agreement for the $5.8bn required. This is the first time he has resorted to such a move.

In the past when presidents have broadcast to the nation in this way all the networks have cleared their schedules. That might not be the case tonight. As I write just Fox and CNN have said they would be carrying it live.

On Betfair it is now just a 29% chance that he’ll be re-elected at WH2020.

Mike Smithson


Why changes to the primary structure are going to make WH2020 more challenging for Bernie and non-mainstream contenders

Friday, January 4th, 2019

Expect fewer caucuses & big states coming earlier

As we look towards 2020 for the next White House Race leading figures within the Democratic party are ready to follow Elizabeth Warren and put their hats into the ring in the battle to be the nominee.

Although the primaries will start off, as usual, with the caucasus in Iowa and the full primary in New Hampshire the overall structure is going to be very different this time which could effect the outcome- something thsat punters should be aware of.

    The biggest change is that the 2 largest states, Texas and California, are going to be making their selections on March 3rd which is much earlier than usual. Whoever is the front-runner on March 4th next year looks set to be in a powerful position.

Given that these two states alone will be selecting nearly a fifth of all the delegates then that day is going to be pretty decisive in determining who will be the party’s flag carrier. Interestingly two favourites in the betting for the nomination are come from California and Texas we can expect them to perform well in their home states. They are Senator Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke over who made a name for himself in November trying to unseat Senator Cruz.

A factor in California and Texas is that early voting is common and it is likely that the first votes cast there will happen before the Iowa caucuses so that is going to mean a very different campaign schedule for those who put their hats into the ring. When normally contenders would have been scrapping it out in Iowa and New Hampshire they are going to have to factor in regular trip to California and Texas.

The other big change is that there are going to be at least 4 fewer caucus states where there’s no formal election but decisions are made at party meetings. Nebraska, Idaho, Minnesota and Colorado have decided to switch to full primaries to work out how many delegates should be allocated to each of the contenders.

Back in 2016 Bernie Sanders won 12 of the 18 caucus States compared with just 11 of the 39 full primary states.

I’m on Harris at 66/1 and O’Rourke at 27/1.

Mike Smithson


Sanders drops to 6% chance in the WH2020 nominee betting following claims of sexual harassment within his last campaign

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Not so long ago Bernie was favourite

The question of whether Bernie Sanders will run in WH2020 has been put in doubt following claims by staffers of sexual harassment during his 2016 campaign. Politico is reporting:

“…that more than two dozen women and men who worked on Sanders’ 2016 campaign sent a letter last Sunday to senior Sanders officials asking for a meeting to “discuss the issue of sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign, for the purpose of planning to mitigate the issue in the upcoming presidential cycle.”

The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon published more detailed allegations of harassment and sexism as well as reported failures by campaign officials to quickly respond to inappropriate activity…”

In an interview with CNN Sanders said “I certainly apologize to any woman who felt that she was not treated appropriately, and of course if I run, we will do better next time”

This comes at a very bad time for the Socialist from Vermont who surprised everybody during the last elections with getting so close to the nomination. On New Year’s Eve Senator Elizabeth Warren announced that she was running and clearly would be competing with Sanders for the progressive vote if he ran.

There’s no suggestion that Sanders himself was responsible for any alleged harassment.

Last May Sanders was 16% favourite for the nomination – he’s now down to 6%.

Mike Smithson


On his first day as a member of the US Senate WH2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney, fires a broadside at Donald Trump

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

My 50/1 shot to be GOP nominee and 130/1 to win WH2020

In the Midterms in November the former governor of Massachusetts and WH2012 GOP nominee, Mitt Romney was elected with a huge majority to the US Senate for Utah. He takes up that seat today and has an article in the Washington Post which will make uncomfortable reading in the White House. He writes:

“..To reassume our leadership in world politics, we must repair failings in our politics at home. That project begins, of course, with the highest office once again acting to inspire and unite us. It includes political parties promoting policies that strengthen us rather than promote tribalism by exploiting fear and resentment. Our leaders must defend our vital institutions despite their inevitable failings: a free press, the rule of law, strong churches, and responsible corporations and unions….

,,I will act as I would with any president, in or out of my party: I will support policies that I believe are in the best interest of the country and my state, and oppose those that are not. I do not intend to comment on every tweet or fault. But I will speak out against significant statements or actions that are divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest or destructive to democratic institutions..”

Ouch. He’s making it clear that his support for his party will not run to backing the Trump agenda if he is in disagreement. He’s a major figure and will get a lot of attention.

I just wonder whether Romney is thinking of using his new political position as a platform for another bid for the Presidency. If things start to crumble for Mr. Trump then he could be the prime beneficiary.

I’ve just placed a bet at 50/1 with Betfred overnight that Romney will be the WH2020 Republican nominee and 130/1 with Ladbrokes that he’ll win WH2020.

Mike Smithson


Elizabeth Warren’s WH2020 annoucement is bad news for Bernie

Monday, December 31st, 2018

They both appeal to similar segments of the Dems base

The big WH2020 news today is the announcement from Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, that she’s putting her hat into the ring for the 2020 Democratic nomination

She’s declared that she’s establishing an exploratory committee — the legal precursor to a run. This comes as other candidates, including several of her fellow senators, were reported to be making made final preparations for their own announcements.

The news follows speculation that the 77 year old 2016 contender who gave Hillary a good run for her money in 2016, Bernie Sanders, is also just about ready to make a similar announcement. In the past few days followers of Bernie were urging him and Warren to come sort to some sort of agreement to stand on a joint ticket, presumably with the older man being at the head.

Both Sanders and Warren appeal very much to the progressive wing of the party and unless there is an agreement you could see them fighting for the same section of the market. By preempting him on New Year’s Eve she is making it much more difficult for the socialist from Vermont to enter the race.

I have long felt that supporters of Bernie have been over stating his position and misinterpreting two sets of data. Firstly at the last election Bernie gained greatly by being the main opponent of Hillary for the nomination. He was the stop Clinton candidate because here were few other serious contenders. Secondly Bernie backers have been putting a lot of hopes on early polling showing that their man is doing quite well. The only problem here is that, the Iowa caucuses are not for another 13 months, and polls this far out tend to be more are more bout name recognition than actual voting intention.

Mike Smithson


Bernie Sanders reported to be struggling to hang on to his WH2016 backers as he ponders WH2020

Friday, December 28th, 2018

Next year 2019 one of the big US events that will dominate political betting will be the fight for the WH2020 Democratic party nomination. The early polling here is really not that useful because it is mostly about name recognition and one of the big names is Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont.

He far exceeded expectations in the Democratic primary battle with Hillary Clinton and the question is whether the 77 year old will throw his hat into the ring. One of his initial problems according to the New York Times is hanging onto to all those who backed him last time. The paper notes:

“Mr. Sanders may have been the runner-up in the last Democratic primary, but instead of expanding his nucleus of support, in the fashion of most repeat candidates, the Vermont senator is struggling to retain even what he garnered two years ago, when he was far less of a political star than he is today.

“It’s not a given that I’m going to support Bernie just because I did before,” said Lucy Flores, a former Nevada assemblywoman. “There are going to be plenty of people to look at and to listen to. I’m currently open at this point, and I think the majority of people are.”

As Mr. Sanders considers a second bid for the White House, he and his advisers are grappling with the political reality that he would face a far different electoral landscape than in 2016. Rather than being the only progressive opponent to an establishment-backed front-runner, the Vermont Independent would join what may be the most crowded, fractured and uncertain Democratic primary in the last quarter-century..”

A big driver is that the party desperately wants to win back the White House and get rid of Trump. The question is whether Bernie is seen as the man to do that.

An early battle is already going on with Sander’s people doing their best to undermine Beto O’Rourke who is currently joint favourite in the nomination betting. This is from Jonathan Chait in New York Intelligencer:

“The rise of Beto O’Rourke poses an obvious threat. The Texas congressman has replicated aspects of Sanders’s appeal — his positivity and refusal to accept PAC money — while exceeding it in some ways. Sanders is charismatic in an unconventional way, the slovenly and cranky but somewhat lovable old uncle, while O’Rourke projects a classic handsome, toothy, Kennedy-esque charm that reliably makes Democrats swoon. Hard-core loyalists find the contrast irksome…”

My guess is that Sanders would struggle against O’Rourke and I don’t think the former will succeed but I might be wrong.

I have four or five WH2020 bets all at longish ones my best being 66/1 on Kamala Harris.

Mike Smithson