Archive for the 'America' Category


The Republicans lose control of the Virginia House of Delegates after a seat moved to DEM by a single vote

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

What has happened in a Virginian election this week is a story that will be remembered and repeated time and time again on election days as party organisers seek to mobilise their volunteers.

After the first count the Republican had a lead of 10 votes. Following exhaustive recounts that flipped to a Democratic party win by a single vote.

What makes this even more significant is that the Republicans had control of the house by 51 to 49 seats. That has now gone to 50/50.

Mike Smithson


Farage’s man’s refusal to admit defeat means Betfair Alabama punters won’t get their winnings this side of Xmas

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

It is now 5 days since the white supremacist, Roy Moore, lost the special election in Alabama for the US Senate.

The vote margin of 1.5% was in excess of that which is allowed under state law for a losing candidate to call for a recount.

The winner, the Democrat, is widely regarded as such and there is no suggestion anywhere that the result can be overturned. All the focus now is on the political consequences of the GOP position in the Senate being cut to 51-49.

Most bookies have paid the punters who backed the Democrats. Not so yet on the Betfair exchange which saw nearly £0.75m being traded.

Under state law the result will be formalised on December 28th which looks as though it will be the day when Betfair and will settle the market.

So if you’ve made money on Alabama on Betfair it looks as though you are going to have wait.

Mike Smithson


Trump’s approval ratings drop to new low with women voters moving most against him

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Bad news for the President from the pollster that got Tuesday most right

There’s a new US national poll just out from Monmouth University – the organisation which did best forecasting this week’s Alabama senate election. Its final survey there had it as a tie which was closest to the outcome. Monmouth uses traditional live phone interviews and calls mobiles as landlines.

It finds that Trump’s current job rating now stands at 32% approve and 56% disapprove. This marks his lowest rating since taking office in January. Prior Monmouth polls conducted over the course of the past year showed his approval rating ranging from 39% to 43% and his disapproval rating ranging from 46% to 53%.

The decline in Trump’s job rating has come much more from women – currently 24% approve to 68% disapprove – than from men – currently 40% to 44%.

To put this into context in September Trump had a 36%-55% rating among women and a 44%-42% rating among men.

What is striking is that the gender gap in the rating crosses party lines. Republican women (67%) are somewhat less likely than Republican men (78%) to give Trump a positive rating. These results are down by 9 points among GOP women since September and by 5 points among GOP men since September.

All this isn’t good for the president as we move to 2018 when of course we see the midterms. The Republicans will be desperately keen to hold on to both the house and the Senate. These will surely be the biggest political betting markets of the coming year.

Mike Smithson


Bookies holding back payment to Alabama punters because the result was tight and there could be a recount

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

Those punters who backed the Democrats in the Alabama senate race are probably going to have to wait for their winnings. The losing candidate, Roy Moore, has refused to accept the result and it looks as though there might well be a recount. See his comment to supporters in the CNN clip above.

I actually think the bookies are right here even though I’m going to have to wait. Those who been betting on American politics for sometime will recall the Iowa Republican Primary in 2012 when Mitt Romney was declared winner of the Republican contest the result only to be overturned sometime later after a recount. I know that Betfair and some other bookies paid out on Romney and were pressed later by Rick Santorum backers when the final results were counted.

This has been a bitter race in Alabama and the outcome could have huge consequences. If there’s just chance, however slight, that this could be overturned then they are going to take it.

Compared with some of the accusations in the campaign about Moore’s sexual activities when he was in his thirties being seen as a poor loser is no big deal.

Mike Smithson


Huge blow for Trump as GOP loses the Alabama Senate election on a hugely exciting betting night

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

The chart above is from and shows the dramatic changes in the Betfair price.

As was widely predicted this was amazingly tight with the markets changing all the time as more information came in. What was particularly good was a New York Times model that was looking at the demographics of each polling area and impacting on the overall outcome as the information came in.

This turned out to be highly predictive and those who followed that for their betting did extraordinary well.

I have been saying for a week so that where you’ve got something that appears a toss up the value bet is on the one that is the outsider and so it turned out to be. Unfortunately at the end of the day I did not take my own advice and cashed out my winnings when there was a sudden movement for the Republicans and I thought I had lost. I ended up making a few hundred pounds but nothing like what I was hoping to achieve.

    The fact that the Republicans were unable to hold onto a seat which is solidly Republican will have huge ramifications. This means that the Republican-Democrat split in the Senate is now 51-49 as opposed to 52-48 which creates a situation where only one Republican senator needs to rebel.

Of course everything in US politics now is set against the background of President Trump who made a huge effort in the final stages of the campaign to get backing for his man, Roy Moore, over whom there were several allegations of sexual abuse of underage girls.

Britain’s Nigel Farage, a former UKIP leader, was also a loser. He has played his part speaking for Moore at a rally prior to the primary that selected Moore as the candidate.

There can be little doubt that the result undermines the President who will even more be seen as an electoral negative.

Mike Smithson


The great Alabama polling Gamble. Robo calls v human interviewers

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017


Above is the latest polling table from Real Clear Politics with surveys on today’s special senate race in Alabama where the Republican candidate is Roy Moore – the man who has been accused of sexual abuse against girls as young as 14.

As can be seen the surveys give a totally mixed view of what is likely to happen ranging from Moore 9% ahead to the astonishing Fox News poll that came out yesterday afternoon with a Democrat lead of 10%.

Looking a bit deeper the huge variations in the numbers can be put down to polling methodology. This is Nate Silver on his 538 site.

“..Most polls of the state have been made using automated scripts (these are sometimes also called IVR or “robopolls”). These polls have generally shown Moore ahead and closing strongly toward the end of the campaign, such as the Emerson College poll on Monday that showed Moore leading by 9 points. Recent automated polls from Trafalgar Group, JMC Analytics and Polling, Gravis Marketing and Strategy Research have also shown Moore with the lead.

But when traditional, live-caller polls have weighed in — although these polls have been few and far between — they’ve shown a much different result. A Monmouth University survey released on Monday showed a tied race. Fox News’s final poll of the race, also released on Monday, showed Jones ahead by 10 percentage points. An earlier Fox News survey also had Jones comfortably ahead, while a Washington Post poll from late November had Jones up 3 points at a time when most other polls showed the race swinging back to Moore. And a poll conducted for the National Republican Senatorial Committee in mid-November — possibly released to the public in an effort to get Moore to withdraw from the race — also showed Jones well ahead..”

The big difference between automated polls and those where live interviews are used is that the former are prohibited by law from calling voters on their mobiles. Research has shown that those voters with landlines are older than the average voting population and the more likely to be white – characteristics which correlate strongly with voting Republican.

    One statistic from the Fox News poll that stands out is that amongst those within the sample who were contacted on their mobiles the Democrats have a 30% lead. The same poll found that support amongst the landline the part of the sample had a very balanced response between the Republicans and the Democrats.

The betting has been bouncing around particularly in the immediate aftermath of the Fox News data. It then swung back to the Republicans when other surveys more favourable to GOP came out.

The hardest thing to judge in this election is turnout and how many Republican voters might follow the lead of the senior senator in the state who has announced that he is not supporting Mr. Moore. There’s also an expectation that GOP women might be less inclined to back Moore.

As I’ve been saying for the past week or so this race is wide open and that the value has been on the longer odds option – the Democrat.

Mike Smithson


With speculation that Michael Flynn is cooperating with Robert Mueller punters think Trump won’t serve a full term

Friday, November 24th, 2017

Despite the Flynn speculation I won’t resile from my position that Trump will serve a full term because the Democrats won’t be close to having the two thirds vote to successful convict a President following impeachment. Plus the Republicans will only vote to convict in sufficient numbers if Trump is caught in flagrante delicto handing over the US nuclear codes to Russia.


PS – This video from the 2016 GOP convention featuring Michael Flynn and the crowd chanting  ‘Lock her up’ about Hillary Clinton is in no way amusing in hindsight.


Astonishingly Roy Moore remains the odds on favourite to win the Alabama Senate race

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017