Archive for the 'America' Category


At last the Pennsylvania Special election is resolved with the Republicans conceding defeat

Friday, March 23rd, 2018

What had been a 627 vote lead on the night became more than 800

Overnight the GOP contender in last week’s Pennsylvania special Congressional election, Rick Saccone, conceded defeat which means that the sensational victory by the Democrats in a District won by Trump by a 20% margin at the last presidential election has been confirmed.

The margin was incredibly tight. With more that 228k votes cast the margin on the night was 627 votes. That’s now move out to 800+

In the final days before before the election the betting switched a fair bit between the Republican and the Democratic contenders because the polls were so split.

I, like many other than PB, took the view that in a 50-50 situation the best betting option is the one with the longest price. This was the right betting strategy even for those who ended up backing the Republican and losing.

I was fortunate that I placed my bets on the Democrat when he was at 2.4 on Betfair or quite a bit longer than evens.

One thing that we are learning about betting on American politics is that it can take time to settle the markets if there is a close outcome. Bookies have learnt by hard experience not to pay out on the basis of the on the night winner.

One of the confusing factors for British punters is that the postal votes can be counted a week our so after the main count.

Mike Smithson


It looks as though it could be after Easter before Pennsylvania punters get paid

Monday, March 19th, 2018

The above from the Wikipedia page on last Tuesday’s Pennsylvania special election sets out the result as it stands at the moment but those who have bet on It are going to have to wait some time before this has been resolved.

The on the night winner was the Democratic contender but the margin was a fraction of a percent and it looks as though there will be a recount or some other move that could impact on the outcome.

Interestingly the Republicans have placed TV ads to find out if individual voters had any difficulty getting their votes cast on the day suggesting that some sort of court challenge could be possible.

In a letter the party’s lawyer outlined five areas of concern, ranging from calls about machine errors to confusion about polling places and a dispute over whether a Republican attorney could watch part of the elections process.

So we have yet another US election where punters are going to have to wait for their money. Before Christmas, of course, we had the Alabama Senator race where the Democrats won by a tight margin.

I understand why the bookies have to be careful. Back in 2012 at the Iowa caucuses the bookies paid out on Mitt Romney who was, after all the votes had been verified, the loser. Those who had backed Rick Santorum, some like me at long odds, were mighty displeased when our winning bets were countermanded by the on the night result.

Mike Smithson



Now the US orders sanctions against Russia for interference at WH2016

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

This is starting to get serious


Meanwhile from the White House as the staff turnover continues –

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Tonight’s Leonard and Cochrane cartoon.


The Pennsylvania election almost a dead heat and hard to see how a clear result tonight

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

As expected the special election in Pennsylvania has been extraordinarily tight and as can be seen from the New York Times table above this is a virtual dead heat. At the moment, 0300GMT, about 11000 absentee ballots have still to be counted and it is hard to see how we can get a result overnight.

Betfair has been swinging all the time with news of each minute precinct pushing it one way or the other.

Whatever this is a very good result, even if at the end of the day they don’t win the seat, for the Democrats given how well the Republicans have performed in this part of Pennsylvania in recent elections. At the White House Race in 2016 Donald Trump won this area by 20%.

Mike Smithson


The Democrats now odds on favourite to take Pennsylvania 18 – the Congressional district won by Trump at WH2016 by 20%

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Polls close at midnight UK time

The big political betting event today is the special election (a by-election in UK parlance) in Pennsylvania Congressional district 18 which covers the outskirts of Pittsburgh and where Trump had a 20 point margin at WH2016.

As the RealClear Politics polling table above shows this is looking very tight with the Democratic party believing that they are in with a shout of taking the seat.

Both campaigns have thrown a huge amount of money, at least $10m, at the race which looks set to provide a goodish pointer to this November’s MidTerm elections.

This is very natural Trump territory with a large number of white working class voters.

On Betfair on Monday punters rated this as a 60-40 shot for the Republicans. That’s now flipped the other way moved in following a final poll that is pointing to a 6 point victor for Lamb, the Democratic contender.

Mike Smithson


Trump ups the ante in Pennsylvania 18 staking a lot on his man winning tomorrow’s special election

Monday, March 12th, 2018

A Republican hold would be big boost to the President

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, UK time, I expect to be glued to CNN coverage of the results in the Pennsylvania 18th District special election. This is proving to be a massive battle and the outcome looks set to frame the narrative of how the November midterms are seen.

The President is very aware of this and at the weekend made another highly publicised big visit to the district with a packed rally.

What makes this election, which is on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, particularly interesting is that this is natural Trump territory and at WH2016 the President won there by a margin of 20%. A win by the Democrats would be a sensation. It also might encourage wavering Republican congressman in similar areas not to fight in the November elections.

The Democratic aim of taking the House will be a whole lot easier if they are facing fewer incumbents in key targets. A GOP hold tomorrow could have the opposite effect.

This is from James Arkin of EealCRear Politics

..“The election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District has become a flash point for both parties eight months before this year’s midterms. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the district by nearly 20 points, but the Democratic candidate is running neck and neck with state Rep. Rick Saccone in the final days of the campaign, a potential sign of both Democratic enthusiasm and apathy among GOP voters.

Trump’s visit was an attempt to reverse those trends and help put Saccone over the top in a district that many Republicans concede should not be so competitive. But it was carries risk for Trump, who could face questions about his ability to generate support for down-ballot candidates if Saccone loses despite campaigning alongside the president…

..Trump did everything he could to tie himself to Saccone on Saturday night. He invited him on stage at the end of the rally, calling him a “good person” and a “very hard worker.” Trump didn’t downplay the significance of the race, saying the whole world was watching, but added that he didn’t want to put pressure on the candidate..”

Clearly Trump was there to motivate his supporters to turnout tomorrow. It might be that it encourages more marginal anti-Trump voters as well.

This hasn’t set off much UK betting interest and, as I write, the Republican is the odds on favourite on Betfair at about 60% with the Democratic contender on 40%. Given the polling it looks like a 50-50 chance so the longest price option is the value bet.

Mike Smithson


Warren makes first move for a possible 2020 White House bid

Friday, March 9th, 2018

At a dinner in Washington on Wednesday high profile Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, made what is being seen as the start of her bid to win the 2020 White House race.

She announced that she is donating $5,000 to all 50 state Democratic parties in the US. She is also giving $15,000 to the national party. According to Politico:-

“Warren also began laying out a national political argument, calling for the party to pick fights on consumer rights, guns, immigration and investigating and punishing “this president, his Cabinet, and his family.”

“Folks are hurting, and they’re scared, and they’re angry, and they’re desperate for someone to put up a fight on their behalf. And it sure isn’t going to be Donald Trump and the Republicans,” Warren said, adding later, “I don’t want us to settle for being the party that takes the right side when it comes to the fights facing ordinary Americans. I want us to be the party that picks fights on their behalf.”

In terms of name recognition Warren is probably at the top of the list at the moment of current Democratic contenders apart from Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. The last two who are 75 and 76 years old respectively are surely too old and runs could be portrayed as vanity trips.

I would have liked Warren as the candidate in 2016 but Clinton had so tied up the Democratic machine that it was hard for anybody else to get any traction.

But I’m not convinced that Warren is worth a punt at her current odds of about 7/1 for the nomination. There is an awful long way to go and there are several other youngster contenders who could mount serious challenges.

Mike Smithson