Archive for the 'America' Category


Trump facing right-wing backlash for caving in on the shut down

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

Yesterday has raised doubts over his WH2020 bid

My biggest long-term bet for a long time has been that Trump will will not be his party’s nominee at WH2020.

This has been my Mueller collusion probe bet on the basis that at some stage there’d be bad news for the President which would send the odds out. My thinking has always been that I could then decide whether to take a profit or stay in.

Well the events of yesterday, the indictment of close advisor Roger Stone and his caving in on funding the wall, are hardly going to help his re-election plans if that is what he wants to do.

    Until the shutdown his great strength within the party was that he appeared an election winner and however outrageous some of his actions might appear few Republicans were going to rock the boat for fear of what could happen to was perceived to be their greatest asset.

For me the most significant development this week has been the sizeable rebellion on funding the wall by Republican party senators. On Thursday six of them supported the Democratic party Senate motion on the issue. Given that there are only 53 Republican Senators that is quite a high proportion.

The shutdown was always going to be a big gamble and I doubt if Trump realised that he was up against such a formidable opponent as the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. She is just about the most hardened political operator in Washington and it was she who played a critical part in getting it described in December as the Trump shutdown.

What we don’t know is how Trump is going to respond to the right wing criticism of his decisions yesterday.

Mike Smithson


The Dems, surely, are. not going to choose someone in their late 70s to oust an incumbent in his mid-70s

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

But Biden and Sanders head the polling

We are going to see a lot of polling like this over the next 18 months as the Democratic party goes through the prolonged process of choosing who should be the one to block Trump’s second term.

Joe Biden, of course, was Obama’s VP while Bernie Sanders was the one who gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money at WH2016. Both are well known which clearly gives them an edge in polling at this stage.

The other names listed in the PPP polling list have yet to make an impact that moves them beyond where they are at the moment but that will change over the coming months.

I’m not convinced that Sanders and Biden will run. It is a massive undertaking and requires a huge commitment. A challenge for Sanders is that some of his team from last time are following a different course for WH2020 while Biden might just delay making a decision to see how the declared runners get on.

What is striking about the poll is that all listed beat Trump.

Mike Smithson


Kamala Harris, betting favourite for the Democratic nomination, chooses today, Martin Luther King Day, to launch her campaign

Monday, January 21st, 2019

Will she be able to stop Trump?

The big news in the 2020 White House race is that as expected, Kamala Harris has formally announced that she is running for the Democratic nomination, and of course, the presidency.

In recent months her star has been rising within the party following some widely publicised Senate grillings in which she has given some of Trump’s nominations for high office a hard time. She’s the former Attorney General of the biggest state in the Union, California, and is of Tamil and Jamaican descent. Appropriately she chose today, Martin Luther King day, for the big announcement.

She enters a field that is already becoming crowded not the least with some of her fellow senators. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was first in on New Years Eve while New York’s Senator Kirsten Gillibrand put hat her hat into the ring last week. Another Democratic Senator, Sherrod Brown, is likely to follow her. He first won his Ohio Senate seat in 2006 and only 2 months ago retained it with a majority of 6.8%. That compares with the 8% margin that Donald Trump had in the state at at the WH2016. A nominee who could win in swing-state of Ohio could be very attractive to the party.

We have yet to hear from the second favourite for the nomination, Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman who had a very good result in the November Senate election against the Republican Ted Cruz.

All this is building up to a fascinating primary battle and it is hard to make predictions until you’ve seen how the first States to participate actually rate the candidates.

Remember the runaway odds on favourite Howard Dean in 2004 who apparently could do no wrong until he failed at the first step in a Ohio and made a speech afterwards that effectively knocked him out of the race.

It will be interesting to see how Trump reacts to Harris’s arrival in the field. So far, unlike with other prominent Democrats, he has failed to attach a tag line to her which has stuck.

Mike Smithson


Trump is clearing the road to his own impeachment

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

‘La Famiglia’by Marf

His shutdown has backfired and he’s vulnerable

For all the attention on Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s campaign and associated activities, the thing that will ultimately do for Trump – or save him – is politics. The latest reports, that Trump directed his lawyer to lie to Congress, are certainly not good news for the embattled president but nor are they catastrophic. For one thing, as he is fond of noting, Michael Cohen is not necessarily a reliable witness (although Trump’s relationship with the truth is hardly straightforward). More importantly though, impeachment is and has always been a political process rather than a legal one – and the politics have favoured him so far.

Trump’s presidency has been all about keeping his base happy and generally he’s done a very good job of that. That has two related effects. Firstly, it all-but assures his renomination, barring accidents; and secondly, it creates a very significant disincentive for Republican senators and congressmen to act against Trump’s interests, for fear of a backlash.

    Take away the support of his base though and he begins to look a lot more vulnerable. And Trump’s problem is that his support is falling and it’s his own fault.

Having taken ownership of the federal shutdown right at the start, the public are taking him at his word. More than half of those polled in nearly all the polls on the shutdown blame the president, against about a third who blame Democrats in Congress, and the figures are, if anything, getting worse for Trump.

Worse, his ratings have taken a hammering with his natural support. His net approval rating in one poll fell by 18 points among suburban men (+12 to -6), 13 points with white evangelicals (+56 to +43), 10 points with Republicans (+83 to +73) and 7 points with non-college white women (+20 to -4). Now, some of those scores still look pretty good – and they are – but they have to be offset against the very large numbers who hate him with a passion.

Given that the Mueller investigation has been going on so long that it’s essentially become background music, the Cohen revelations have probably been treated by those who choose to believe in Trump as a combination of fake news and Deep State conspiracy. It’s Inside-the-Beltway talk. By contrast, the federal shutdown isn’t. Even if it doesn’t affect all that many people directly, it has a big indirect effect and it’s undermining Trump’s reputation as the Great Dealmaker. After all, the government has been in shutdown with workers furloughed for longer under Trump (within just his first two years of presidency), than under Carter, Reagan, Bush-41, Bush-43 and Obama combined.

Will it affect his support enough to cause Democrats to pull the Impeachment trigger? That does depend on whether Mueller can find something of a smoking gun. It also depends on whether they wouldn’t rather run against what ought to be a very beatable incumbent if he can’t rediscover his touch. But some Republican senators are already wavering on the shutdown; the hyper-partisan period of his presidency might already be coming to an end. If Trump’s ratings with his base continue to fall, that will have a knock-on effect on the generic Republican brand, which senators will have to take seriously (and note that the Republicans gained 9 seats in the 2014 senate elections: that’s a very high tidemark to be defending).

At present, Trump is 5/4 against with Ladbrokes to be impeached in his first term, and 2/1 to leave office due to impeachment or resignation. I don’t think there’s yet any value in either of those bets. It’s getting closer though.

David Herdson


More Democrats put their hats into the ring in the fight for the nomination to take on Trump

Friday, January 18th, 2019

While all in the UK have been focused on Brexit and it’s aftermath things are starting to hot up in the race to be elected president of the United States in November 2020. This will be the 5th White House campaign that will be covered by Politicalbetting since the site’s foundation in 2004.

These are massive betting events and throughout the next 22 months there’ll be a wide range of markets to bet on.

There’s a lot of early activity going on at the moment as prospective Democratic party nominees put the toe into the water to try to determine whether they’ve got a chance. This is important because securing the funding and organisational backing for a prolonged campaign is essential.

Ahead of WH2016 Hillary Clinton had so squeezed the potential funding and campaign expertise resources available to her party that other contenders were almost excluded from attempting a bid right from the beginning.

This time it is going to be very different and by the time the first TV debates take place in the summer there could be more than a dozen serious contenders.

Of the leading names Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was first to move making an announcement on New Year’s eve. Then there was Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii and this week New York Kirsten Gillibrand from New York made announcements.

My 66/1 tip from January 2017 now current favourite for the nomination , Senator Kamala Harris is due to launch her bid on Monday while we wait for the prominent men to move. These include Senator Bernie Sanders, ex-VP Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke.

Biden and Sanders have the best name recognition which is helping them in the early polls though I’m not convinced by either. Age is a factor.

The latest betting from the Betfair exchange.

Kamala Harris 19%
Beto O’Rourke 18%
Joe Biden 13%
Elizabeth Warren 6%
Tulsi Gabbard 6%
Bernie Sanders 6%
Kirsten Gillibrand 5%
Cory Booker 4%
Amy Klobuchar 5%
Sherrod Brown 5%

I’ve got longshot bets on all apart from Booker, Biden and Sanders.

Mike Smithson


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