Archive for the 'America' Category


Warren on the slide in WH2020 nomination betting after negative response to her healthcare funding plan

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

There’ve been big movements in the betting in the fight for the Democratic nomination with one-time favourite, Beto O’Rourke, now pulling himself out of the race and the current favourite Elizabeth Warren seeing a dramatic slide in her betting position.

At the last TV debate she had been challenged forcefully by Mayor Pete to explain how she would fund her ambitious healthcare plan without putting up taxes for the middle classes. That led to her this week giving details which have gone down like a lead balloon. She looks nothing like the certainty that she appeared only a few weeks ago.

O’Rourke had been struggling for months following the early period of the campaign when he was the favourite to take on Trump next November. His polling has declined and declined and his TV debate performances had been lacklustre. He’d also struggled with fundraising.

Another former betting favourite, Kamala Harris, is also apparently in the trouble after closing down most of her operation in New Hampshire which is the second state to decide. Clearly she’s having problems fundraising to sustain the financial demands that is required.

Sanders and Mayor Pete continue to progress as Iowa battle takes on a new intensity. Previous nomination battles suggest that who wins in the state gets an enormous boost and these two together with Biden and Warren are really the only ones now capable of winning.

  • Chart of Betfair market from
  • Mike Smithson


    Farage plays his Trump card but Johnson surely shouldn’t be tempted

    Friday, November 1st, 2019

    Perhaps the most bizarre event so far in this election campaign was Nigel Farage talking to Donald Trump on his LBC radio programme yesterday.

    Clearly Farage has been the big loser from the emergence of Johnson as the Conservative leader and Prime Minister and we have heard very little from the the Brexit party leader over the last month or so.

    How was Farage going to get back into the game and start commanding media attention again? Well we have now seen how and the question is what does Johnson do do?

    The problem is that in UK terms a link with Trump himself is an asset that is declining in value by the day as the moves to impeach him ratchet up.

    What is the political benefit to Johnson in entering a dialogue particularly when there is the Farage link? The last thing the prime minister wants to do is to take action that puts the attention back on Farage who has been so damaging to Conservative Party interests in the past.

    Also it is hard to see how Trump adds to Johnson’s political position at the moment. Of course if the UK does leave the EU at the end of of January then the government will need to talk to the US about a trade deal but being seen to use the Farage link would not be helpful.

    No doubt Farage will use his relationship with Trump at today’s Brexit Party campaign launch.

    As the Mirror front page this morning highlights a Johnson relationship with Trump could be a very big negative because it rightly or wrongly triggers the “US threat to the NHS” meme that has been used before and seems to get traction.

    Mike Smithson


    Extraordinary – Hillary Clinton now FIFTH favourite in the betting for the Democratic nomination

    Friday, October 25th, 2019 chart of Betfair market

    This is NOT a bet I would make

    With a hundred days to go before Iowa – the first state to decide punters continue to bet on Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and she’s now rated as a 7% chance.

    I think that she would like to run but the chances are remote given the other contenders who have been gathering momentum. Sure she won the popular vote at WH2016 but Trump won several key mid-west states by small margin and ended up with the most electoral college votes.

    This from the Indy is good about her prospects.

    What’s extraordinary about the current betting is that four of the top five are in their seventies (Hillary is 72 tomorrow) while the other one, Mayor Pete is just 37. So nobody in their 40s, 50s or 60s.

    Of course you can’t rule out anything completely but there surely is no pathway there for her to enter the race.

    Mike Smithson


    Biden drops to FOURTH in Iowa in by far his worst poll of his entire campaign

    Thursday, October 24th, 2019

    Those polled were also ask to list the candidate they do not want to win the nomination. Biden and Sanders topped this list. So not a good outcome for those aged 76 and more.

    The Buttigieg second place will attract most attention and this is by far his best position in any state or national primary poll.

    Mike Smithson


    Mitch McConnell’s failure to back Trump on Syria should be worrying for the White House

    Sunday, October 20th, 2019

    The total focus on Brexit over the past few days has taken the attention away from United States politics where the ongoing saga in relation to Donald Trump is becoming even more perilous for the 73 year old.

    There’ve been two big developments over the weekend and I suggest that something might possibly be happening that might not be good for the incumbent. Firstly there is the Washington Post article by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, above, in which he is very critical of  the situation in Syria that Trump himself seems to be personally responsible for.

    Although Trump is not mentioned in the McConnell piece there is little doubt that he is the target and that should be concerning for it is McConnell who would be the one who could end Trump’s tenure.

    While the Democratic party controlled House of Representatives is advancing forward on its impeachment move Trump is secure in his position as long as two-thirds of the Senate does not back any move for him to stand aside. Republicans continue to hold the Upper House in Congress and the key figure is Republican Senate Majority leader, McConnell, For him to be publicly raising his concern about the president’s strategy should be worrying.

    The other development has been quite extraordinary and suggests that maybe Trump has started to realise the limits of what he can do. The G7 is meeting in the US next year and Trump’s initial plan was for them to gather at one of his resorts in Florida at a time of year when normally it is not very busy. The Trump organisation would be a major beneficiary financially.

    This sparked off a huge storm and the latest news is that Trump has gone back on this which of itself is really quite remarkable. I can’t recall other occasions when there has been a turn around in his position but that has happened here. I wonder if McConnell, who is said to talk with Trump three times a day, has had a word.

    If Trump were to stand down that would happen very quickly and no doubt everybody would say of course this had been coming all along. It is easy to be wise after the event.

    Whatever my biggest betting position at the moment is that Trump will not be the Republican party nominee at next year’s presidential election. I laid on Betfair at 1.12 and this has moved out considerably.

    Mike Smithson


    Post Democratic debate polling finds Klobuchar and Buttigieg getting the biggest ratings boost

    Thursday, October 17th, 2019

    My 760/1 bet on Amy starting to look less of a loser

    A couple of weeks ago on the Betfair exchange’s WH2020 winner market I noticed that there was £8 available at 760/1 on the Minnesota Senator and contender for the nomination, Amy Klobuchar who so far has had a fairly quiet race.

    My view than was that anybody in the running and qualifying to take part in the next debate should have been on tighter odds than that and I made the bet. There are still three and a half months to go before the Iowa Caucuses which kick off the primary season.

    Well in this week’s debate she came out well getting a fair bit of attention and demonstrating that she’s clearly capable of holding her own. As can be seen in the table above from the Fivethirtyeight/Ipsos post debate poll she saw the biggest improvement in her net favourability ratings.

    She’s yet to reach the qualification threshold for the November debate but if this latest Ipsos polling is on the right track then she could see the movement that will get her over the line.

    Second in the net favourability increase was 37 year old Mayor Pete who also had a very good debate. He’s sharpened up considerably.

    Currently the top three in the nomination betting – Sanders/Biden/Warren – are in their seventies whilst Trump, who is heavy favourite to secure the Republican nomination is at 73 and also in that age range. I’m betting that the winner of WH2020 will be a lot younger.

    A big negative ove Amy Klobuchar is that she’s said to have a furious temper and is terrible boss. If she continues to make progress that will become a bigger issue.

    Mike Smithson


    Elizabeth Warren drop to below 50% in the betting after the latest Democratic debate

    Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

    Betfair market tracked by

    The big event in US politics overnight has been the latest Democratic TV debate and having now just caught up with it this was the best so far. It was great political TV and there has been some impact in the betting.

    Favourite Warren has now slipped below a 50% chance after being on 54% within the past few days. Inevitably as front runner she was the focus of attacks by other contenders of who there was a total of 12. Such a number should have been unmanageable but it worked.

    Warren’s achilles heel is that while she strongly advocates a universal healthcare plan she won’t explain where the money is coming from. The Oxford-educated Pete Buttiegeg did himself a power of good in attacking Warren on this point and made her position even less explicable.

    Bernie was back in fine form after his heart attack last week. It seems to have done nothing impede his approach.

    I thought Mayor Pete did himself the most good and he’s now clear third favourite in the betting. I agree with Robert’s thread earlier today about how he could pull off a shock result in Iowa on February 3rd coming perhaps in the top two.  He’s certainly the strongest contender under the age of 70.


    Mike Smithson


    Mayor Pete’s The One To Beat

    Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

    Iowa. Iowa. Iowa.

    I keep repeating it, because it’s important. The winner (and potentially the runner up) in Iowa define the primary process. After Obama won Iowa in 2008, he saw his national polling pop more than twenty points. In a crowded a Democratic field in need of much culling, the winner’s pop could be even greater. (Simply: there are a lot of 2% candidates whose supporters will need to find new homes after they get null delegates in Iowa.)

    And what’s going on in Iowa?

    Well, in the last couple of days we’ve seen a couple of polls and they show one candidate surging. And that candidate’s not Elizabeth Warren.

    First there was a YouGov poll last week (where the fieldwork started before Bernie’s heart attack) and that showed:

    Biden 22% (-7%)
    Warren 22% (+5%)
    Sanders 21% (-5%)
    Buttigieg 14% (+7%)

    And then yesterday there was a Firehouse/Optimus poll:

    Warren 25% (+2%)
    Biden 22% (-1%)
    Buttigieg 17% (+10%)
    Sanders 5% (-6%)

    The pattern from both this polls is the same: Warren and Buttigieg are on the rise while the old white men are in decline. If Sanders really is polling in single digits in a primary he won in 2016, then he will surely leave the race post Iowa.

    Now, one of the curious things about Iowa is how it works. The 15% bar at the precinct level means that it is almost like an alternative vote system. Say you turn up to vote for Harris (and sit through prepared remarks and discussions for a couple of hours in a draughty church hall), but it’s clear that she won’t make the 15% mark, and your vote will be wasted… Well, then you look around for your second choice, and see if they’re well represented.

    This is where organisation matters. This is retail politics at its finest. Successful candidates’ organisers cajole and persuade the newly undecided to join their groupings.

    Three candidates, I would forecast, will leave Iowa with meaningful numbers of delegates: Warren, Biden and Buttigieg. The polling has Buttigieg as being very transfer friendly, which will benefit him. He also has by far the most built up ground organisation in Iowa (with Warren a little behind, and then Biden a long way behind). In many rural counties, there’s a Buttigieg office, and that’s it.

    This means that Buttigieg will, I suspect outperform his poll ratings. And I suspect Biden will continue to fade. Sanders is out the race. He just doesn’t realise it yet.

    So, what does that mean for Iowa? I think the delegates split something like:

    Warren 40%
    Buttigieg 40%
    Biden 20%

    (Yes, I know the numbers seem high relative to polling. That’s because most of the candidates will get zero delegates and those voters have to go somewhere.)

    This means that the 15 on Buttigieg on Betfair to be the Democratic nominee is too skinny; ditto the 29 on 2020 President.

    (PBers should know that I will be visiting Iowa for the first time next month. I will make sure I share my findings.)

    Robert Smithson