Archive for the 'America' Category


As we wait for the Newport result an interesting chart on the rise Pete Buttigieg for the WH2020 Democratic nomination

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

There ‘s little doubt that the “story” of the WH2020 Dem race in recent weeks has been the rise and rise of the 37 year old gay mayor of a small city in Indiana to be the Dem nominee.

The latest news is that his fundraising in going well $7m in Q1 which while not in the Sanders’ league is far better than was expected.

I’m on him at 40/1 although I know many PBers have got much longer odds than that.

Meanwhile there’s tonight’s Newport West by-election with result expected about 2am. This looks set to have a very low turnout with a LAB hold seen as almost a certainty. The Tories are favourite for second place. This is how the seat has gone at the past two general elections.

I’m expecting a very low turnout an in that context just about anything can happen. I’ve 100/1 on Renew coming in as best without LAB.

Mike Smithson


Following the overnight allegations about WH2016 Dem favourite Biden it is hard to see him entering the race

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Chart –

The ex-VP’s betting price plummets

The past few days have been a taxing one for 76 year old former Vice President Joe Biden as he ponders whether or not to throw his hat into the ring for the 2020 White House Democratic nomination.

First came a revival of criticism about his handling in the early 1990s of the Anita Hill hearing when he was chairman of the Senate judiciary committee. She had been brought in as a witness claiming harassment against a Supreme Court nominee and was given a rough time by senators on the all-male committee.  Biden had to apologise later for the way that he handled it.

This is now being followed by inappropriate and unasked kissing claims of a former Nevada state assembly woman who said Joe Biden made her feel “uneasy, gross, and confused” in 2014 at a campaign event where she says he kissed her on the back of her head.

This has prompted a series of YouTube and other social media pictures and videos of Biden which don’t look good in the current context.

He has apologised for both incidents but that’s perhaps not enough in the #MeToo culture. If he runs this would dog him throughout the campaign.

I’d always thought that Biden’s age would finally be the factor that would prevent him getting the nomination. Maybe it has. He comes from a previous generation when what appeared appropriate in bygone years is not appropriate now.

My guess is that Biden will take some time before announcing that he’s not going to put his hat into the ring. Back in 2015 there were months of speculation over whether he would fight Hillary Clinton and it was only in the October that he ruled out the possibility.

Mike Smithson


The first thing Trump’s likely to do when Jo Biden finally declares is to dub the former VP “copycat”

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

The man who copied almost word for word a Neil Kinnock ad

A new US  poll has Joe Biden beating Trump by 7% in a WH2020 match-up which puts him in the best position of all the Democrats who are seeking the nomination. In the RCP polling average he’s 5.8% ahead of his closest rival  even though he has yet to formally declare. In the betting he’s favourite although the top 4 are all within three points.

Of course Biden, who got a lucky late career break when in 2008 Obama asked him to be his running mate,  served for eight years as VP. He’s well known.

I’ve long been a Biden sceptic because of his age, 77, his gaffe-prone reputation, and what happened 31 years ago when he first made an unsuccessful bid for the White House.

What should concern those ready to risk their cash on a Biden bet is that which features in the 1988 YouTube clip which highlights the reason why he had to quit his first presidential bid. The allegations of plagiarism went well beyond just using almost word for word  the famous Neil Kinnock pitch from the 1987 general election. There were suggestions, well documented at the time, that he had plagiarised other people’s work while he was at university. He was also accused of plagiarising JFK amongst others.

Compared with the dirt on Trump this is of course peanuts but Biden, unlike the president, has to appeal to a very different group – Democrat primary voters whose prime concern will be to select someone who can beat the current incumbent.

The plagiarism charge is going to be thrown at him and being the front runner means it is much more likely to be examined in detail. No doubt Mr Trump will create one of his deadly nicknames based on this for the former vice president.

The age thing is not yet a factor but is likely to be so as we start the Democratic primary debate program in June. This will be highlighted by being surrounded by several younger contenders in their late 30s.  Is Biden going to have the stamina for an 18-month fight the presidency let alone the stamina for actually doing the job if successful?

From the start I have ruled out Biden and Sanders in my betting on the age grounds alone.

Mike Smithson


Pete Buttigieg – the 37 year old former Rhodes Scholar now running 3rd in Iowa

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Probably worth a punt as a good long shot

A new poll for next year’s Iowa caucuses is just out and puts a 37 year old former Rhodes Scholar from Indiana who you have probably never heard of in 3rd place.

He’s Pete Buttigieg and the polling reflects the fact that over the last few days he’s been the hottest property on  US political TV shows. He’s telegenic, personable, articulate, gay and almost exactly half the age of front runners Biden and Sanders. Like Bill Clinton he is a former Rhodes scholar and studied at Oxford University. He’s currently mayor of South Bend in Indiana.

I’ve had a few bets on him in the past hour for president and the longest price I got was 40/1.

We are now only a couple of months before the first Democratic primary debates and the fact that Buttigieg has satisfied the donor threshold is a key development.

The Democratic party is desperately looking for someone who can beat Donald Trump and a plus for Buttigieg is that he comes from Indiana. Generally the Democrats receive their most support from East and West Coast States with a very big void in the middle of America. Someone from the centre might just be appealing.

The Iowa caucuses take place in just over ten months making the state the first to decide in the Democratic primary. That Buttigieg is polling so well there is very good for him and will help with fundraising and building the team that’s necessary to have a chance of winning the nomination.

His odds will tighten.

Mike Smithson


Matthew Shaddick of Ladbrokes on the WH2020 betting phenomenon of Andrew Yang

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Why the US betting support?

The 2020 US Presidential Market is gathering steam right now with most of the top-tier Democratic possibles having announced their candidature. Just waiting on Joe Biden who has recently become favourite for the nomination at Ladbrokes. No doubt his price will drop a little further if and when he announces, but the bigger impact on the overall market would be if he says no.

Oddly though, the biggest loser with Ladbrokes would be someone who the vast majority of US voters have never heard of, and typically polls at 1% (if pollsters even bother to include him):Andrew Yang.

He’s been backed down from 200/1 into 33/1 to be elected President and now shows at just 16/1 fifth favourite to be the Democrats’ nominee. Amazingly he’s now ahead of people like Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker in the betting.

He seems like a smart guy and is pushing a few unique policy positions, notably Universal Basic Income. His odds are no doubt massively influenced by his appeal to a young, internet savvy fan base and this feels a lot like the huge 2008 gamble on Ron Paul to become President. Despite hovering at around 5% in polls of Republican voters for most of the run up to the primaries, Paul got down to around 12/1 in the outright Presidential odds as an army of fans backed him to win.

Also, take a look at how highly American punters like Yang’s chances. Here are the latest odds from PredictIt.

That makes him about 9/1 on the only platform that US citizens can legally bet on politics. Although people from outside of the US can’t trade on PredictIt, it will have a knock on effect on the rest of the worldwide betting market, as a lot of people will no doubt assume that the US facing odds are more accurate. I think there’s a big problem with this though which arises from the very restrictive terms on which PredictIt allows people to bet. For regulatory reasons, they don’t allow people to have more than $850 at stake on any one contract, which hugely limits the ability of layers to resist market moves on outsiders like Yang (who probably has a lot of small-staking fans).

PredictIt also has some quite high commission charges, which makes it quite hard for anyone to correct any arbitrage opportunities, even if they could get access to US and non-US odds. So, we might continue to see some pretty big differences in the two markets right up until election day.

On the plus side for Yang, the rules for who gets in the Democratic debates later in the year mean he’ll probably make it (because of the number of individual doners to his campaign) whatever his opinion poll rating shows. Perhaps that will give him a big boost, although he probably wouldn’t get more than a few minutes to say anything very much.

I won’t be backing him, but I have had a bit of money on another little known outsider, Pete Buttigieg, who I think might have a better chance of making a run for it. Ladbrokes have him at 50/1 to be elected POTUS. Don’t know if anyone has any past examples of 50/1 Presidential election winning bets?

Matthew Shaddick


Key fact: Biden leads the Dem 2020 polling despite not yet running

Saturday, March 16th, 2019


This is more than name recognition: he’s very viable candidate

One reason above all others convinced me in October 2015 that Donald Trump should be taken seriously as a presidential candidate: his performance in the opinion polls. It was easy to write him off as an amateur with a penchant for controversy and self-publicity; someone who would be overtaken by both his own absurdity and by professional politicians come the actual voting in the primaries. Easy but wrong, and the signs were there.

Trump had headed the polls for about three months by that stage: more than long enough to be tested in the spotlight. Lesser candidates who rose to brief prominence faded in the glare: Trump didn’t.

We’re not at anything like the same stage in the 2020 campaign yet but we are far enough in that we should now be taking the polls seriously. Candidates are declaring and campaigns are organizing. We’re past the shadow-boxing and into the real thing.

And yet for all the focus on those declared candidates, the most obvious stat from the polls is that one at the top: Joe Biden leads them. All of them. In the more than two dozen nationwide Democrat primary polls published this year, Biden has headed every single one in which he’s been named. Furthermore, since Sanders declared his candidacy four weeks ago, none but the Vermont senator and the former Vice President have scored more than 11% (Sanders has ranged 14-27; Biden, 24-39).

This is despite the fact that Biden isn’t yet a declared candidate and hasn’t even formed an exploratory committee, whereas the likes of Klobuchar, Warren, Harris and Sanders all have. To me, that says that there’s both a lot of goodwill towards Biden among Democrat voters, and that those same voters are sceptical of other candidates, which is an extremely healthy position for him to be in. Put another way, this is more than name-recognition now.

There are of course reasons for us to exercise caution. Most obviously, he isn’t yet a candidate and might not become one. However, at the very least he is seriously weighing another tilt at the Oval Office, dropping strong hints in recent appearances and signing the sort of people he’d need for a campaign. Biden’s age might be an issue – he’d be the oldest-ever US president on his first day in office – though age didn’t harm Sanders in 2016, nor is it obviously adversely affecting either man this time round. Likewise, while Biden does have a reputation as gaffe-prone – a legacy of previous failed presidential bids – I wonder whether that’s now outdated: he served for eight years with distinction and without embarrassment as Vice President.

There’s a lot of time between now and the Iowa caucus in February next year; plenty enough for one or more to capture the public imagination and emerge from the extremely large field. However, front-runners can and often do win the nominations. The current betting has near four-way co-favourites, with Sanders, Harris, Biden and O’Rourke all available at either 9/2 or 5/1, which makes little sense to me given the strength of Biden’s polling. Sure, he should have a discount because of the possibility that he might not run but it’s a diminishing risk.

I think Biden is getting ready to announce that he’ll run, and that based on his polling and record, will make an extremely strong contender for the nomination and indeed the presidency. 5/1 is definitely value.

David Herdson


Nancy Pelosi says Trump shouldn’t be impeached + other US developments

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Ten days to PB’s 15th birthday the latest US political betting developments

While everything in the UK has been focussed on Brexit, the Commons votes, and the looming Article 50 deadline of March 29th there’ve been big political betting developments in Trump’s USA.

For almost within days of his election in November 2016 betting markets were opened on Trump’s possible impeachment and there’ve been many markets on when he would go. But he’s still there although weaker as a President following the Republicans loss of the House to the Democrats last November.

Meanwhile the legal moves against Trump and the Mueller investigation into whether there was Russian collusion at WH2016 continue. Things are getting much tighter.

So a key move was the announcement by House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, that Trump should not be impeached is significant. She takes the view that such action would be divisive. She said:

“”Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she said. “He’s just not worth it.”

Pelosi is a shrewd cookie and has clearly done this for a reason.

Meanwhile in the battle for the Democratic nomination where’s a new favourite – the ex-VP now in his late 70s, Joe Biden. I’ve never been convinced of him given his failure in previous White House races at the nomination stage. He’s gaff prone. If the Dems want to unseat Trump they need a fresher face.

Another move is that the previously highly fancied Ohio Senator and one of my picks, Sherrod Brown, has announced that he won’t run.

NOTE: There are problems with the Vanilla comments system – to reach the thread please click here.

Mike Smithson


John Hickenlooper, my 270/1 longshot for WH2020, becomes the latest to put his hat into the ring

Monday, March 4th, 2019

It was back nearly a year ago that I suggested that the ex-Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, might be a good longshot bet for WH2016. I know several PBers are also on him a very long odds.

I think that his appeal is that he is total antidote to Trump who has proved himself a successful election winner in Colorado where he’s now stepped down after two terms as governor. I think Trump would have a tougher job riling him compared with other candidates.

Now the field is becoming very crowded and with most of the Democrat primaries dividing their vote proportionately then it is possible even likely that we’ll get to the convention without any one contender having a majority.

Hickenlooper has built up a reputation for getting noticed through quirky TV ads like this one.

The early primaries are going to be crucial and Hickenlooper won’t be competing for the hard progressive vote. I’ve put more money on him today at 150/1.

AT very long odds you can back quite a few possibles and I’m also on the current favourite, Kamala Harris at 66/1 in a bet placed just before Trump’s inauguration.

Mike Smithson