Archive for the 'Betting' Category


Will Theresa May be Tory leader at the 2019 Tory Party conference?

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

Why I’m betting on Theresa May to still be Tory leader at the 2019 Tory party conference.

This Paddy Power market is essentially a bet on Mrs May getting a deal done and passed in the Commons. Iff she manages to achieve those two things then I’d expect Mrs May and the Tories to get a boost in the polls so ditching her straight away might not be possible.

With Boris Johnson confirming once again he is the modern day Churchill, Randolph that is, not Winston, the ERG in their desperation are talking about installing David Davis as interim party leader and Prime Minister. The tweet below shows why he is quite incompetent and lazy to be Prime Minister, and would struggle to be a reasonably competent head of a Wolverhampton Job Centre Plus. If Mrs May was at risk of being toppled David Davis would not be the great hope of the Leavers.

If we get a no deal Brexit then I’d advise piling on the no side of this bet but my expectation is that Mrs May (and most other Tories) realise that no deal results in the Tories being out of power for a generation, they cannot let no deal happen for their own interests as well as the country. No wonder stories emerged last night that a deal could be finalised today and has today seen Dominic Raab rush to Bruxelles for talks.


PS – I’ve always had a strong hunch that serial flouncer David Davis wouldn’t contest the next Tory leadership election but endorse and campaign for his former Chief of Staff  Dominic Raab.


It had to come. West Virginia becomes the first state where people can vote by smartphone

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

Politco is reporting that West Virginia will become the first state in the US where it will be possible to vote by smartphone in the crucial election on November 6th.

An app has been created that will allow hundreds of overseas residents, members of the military stationed abroad and others to cast their ballots remotely. It is being emphasised that the app will rely on blockchain, which is the same technology technology that underpins Bitcoin.

Politico reports that that this has sparked off a number of worries:

“..cybersecurity and election integrity advocates say West Virginia is setting an example of all the things states shouldn’t do when it comes to securing their elections, an already fraught topic given fears that Russian operatives are trying again to tamper with U.S. democracy.

“This is a crazy time to be pulling a stunt like this. I don’t know what they’re thinking,” said David Jefferson, a computer scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories who is on the board of Verified Voting, an election security advocacy group. “All internet voting systems, including this one, have a host of cyber vulnerabilities which make it extremely dangerous.”

West Virginia is the scene of one of the key Senate races where the Democrats are defending in a state that was taken by Trump two years ago by a 40 point margin. Currently the Dems have a poll lead but not that great.

No doubt this will spark of a lot of controversy. The question is how are they going to ensure the integrity of the election.

Mike Smithson


DUP-No10 relations mean that 6/1 for Corbyn as Next PM is value

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

There is enough uncertainty over the next year to give him a decent chance

When Ian Paisley said “No!”, people believed that he meant what he said. The Big Man may be gone but his party lives on and it would be extremely unwise for anyone to assume that when Arlene Foster says “no”, she means any different from her predecessor. The DUP do not bluff. Ever. They might occasionally change their minds but when they do, they do so in their own time and on their own terms.

All that ought to be obvious to anyone who has paid any attention to N Ireland politics, which presumably rules out the N Ireland secretary. Which is why it was a measure (and perhaps an explanation) of the difficulties the government is in to see a tweet from the political editor at UTV stating that many senior Tories at Westminster believe that the DUP is bluffing when they threaten to veto the Budget and, implicitly, bring down the government in the Confidence vote that would inevitably follow.

Presumably, the government’s thinking is twofold. Firstly, that the DUP have the balance of power and, hence, huge leverage. To bring down the government and precipitate an election would very likely throw away that position. And secondly, to call an election, particularly at a moment when the Tories were in turmoil, would be to invite IRA-sympathising and United Ireland supporting Jeremy Corbyn into Number Ten: not exactly an appealing prospect for hardline unionists.

But to think along those lines is to misunderstand the situation. Governments come and governments go. At some point, the Conservatives will lose power and in all probability, Labour will replace them. That might be this year, it might not be until the 2030s, but at some point it will happen – and the DUP know that. By contrast, the implementation of a border in the Irish Sea would be a genuine game-changer and fundamentally alter the relationship between Britain and N Ireland (and, implicitly, between the Republic and N Ireland). If it comes to a choice between a temporary setback and a permanent one, it’s not difficult to see which the more attractive is.

Which brings us to the betting markets. For a long time, I’ve not seen any value in Jeremy Corbyn as next PM. I’ve always been of the opinion that if it looked likely that Labour would win the next election, the Tories would switch leader meaning that the next PM would come from Theresa May’s party. That thinking was based on the assumption that the Conservative administration would last through to 2022 with DUP support, which with sensible management, it should.

The Ken Reid tweet however has prompted me to reconsider.

    I think there is a very real risk that May could put her initials to an agreement that crosses the DUP’s red lines, in the belief that they, like the ERG, will prove more hot air than substance. That would be a fatal error.

If she does, my guess is that it will come after the Budget and possibly not even this year.

The would present the DUP with an even starker choice. They will not want a deal that contemplates an Irish Sea border to even come to the Commons because of the risk that the government might gain enough Labour support (on what would, after all, be a soft Brexit), to outweigh ERG and DUP opposition. That means liaising with Labour to bring about a Vote of No Confidence before the Commons could vote on the Brexit deal. Given that Corbyn’s main aim is to bring down the government, he would probably go with that. After all, if he could force a general election – and form a government afterwards – he could request an extension to the A50 period and seek a different deal, one which would produce an even softer Brexit but, crucially for the DUP, no GB-NI differential.

As far as the bets go, we might not even need to think about a general election. How governments are formed after a No Confidence vote now that the FTPA is in place is unknown territory. We do have the guidance of pre-FTPA history, the Cabinet Manual, and the Act itself, but these are not exhaustively prescriptive.

If May’s government were to be No Confidenced, I would fully expect Corbyn to demand to be given the chance to form a government, which would not be an unreasonable request in the circumstances. Whether the Palace would accede to such a demand is the crucial unknown, not least because Labour wouldn’t be the only ball in motion (which we’ll come back to). There certainly wouldn’t be time to do full deals with the SNP, Lib Dems, DUP and others; Corbyn and McDonnell would have to wing it and hope for the best. Crucially, however, they would not have to prove that they could form a government: that would be to test in the Commons. The strongest argument would be that with May out of the game, the Tories couldn’t and that they might.

Importantly, as far as the FTPA goes, to head off an election, the Commons has to pass a motion “that this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.” In other words, we are not talking about a potential government; we are talking about the ministers already in office. If Corbyn was to be given a chance to test support in the Commons, he would have to be PM already.

However, the Tories would be unlikely to allow that to passively happen. If May’s ministry were to be No Confidenced, there is a good – but not overwhelming chance – that she would either resign as party leader or be no confidenced, in the hope that some other Tory leader could build something from the wreckage. The problem there is that the replacement would have to be in place almost immediately. There could be no time for the election the Conservative Party constitution demands – unless there were only one candidate. If the Tories could swap leaders within days, that would place them back in the game; if not, it would leave them in a horrible position.

The enormous risk that the Tories would be taking in dumping May immediately would be that if neither Labour nor an alternative Tory could gain the confidence of the House, then a general election would be triggered before the Conservatives had had chance to complete their own election. The Party would be in a state of utter turmoil, without a leader and divided into warring factions, and having failed to deliver a Brexit Deal. The temptation would surely be for Corbyn to not try very hard to win the vote. On the other hand, if May were not ousted, there could still be a general election but in that case, with the Tories stuck with a lame duck leader whose campaigning skills have already been tested and found wanting. (And note – under this scenario, a bet on Corbyn as Next PM would be likely to still pay out).

The chance of a misunderstanding between a No 10 machine which has always been a bit tin-eared, and a DUP which sees what it stands for under existential threat, leading to the government falling means that the 6/1 available for Corbyn to be Next PM is now value.

David Herdson


The betting markets are still pretty solid that the UK will be out of the EU by March 29th

Friday, October 12th, 2018


Punters make it a 54% chance that TMay will go next year with Sajid Javid the 14% favourite to replace her

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Charts from the excellent site which monitors the main political markets on the Betfair exchange updating its charts2 4/7.

Mike Smithson


First post-Kavanaugh polling suggest the Democrats are moving up with less than 4 weeks to go

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

The female-male gap widens

With so many different elections in 50 different states taking place on November 6th it can be hard to discern specific trends. One polling series is the Generic Congressional Vote and the latest numbers we have are in the CNN report overnight and posted above.

The big number is that the survey shows the Democrats with a 13% margin over the Republicans which, even taking into account local variations should be enough for the them to win back control of the House of Representatives.

The Senate, though, could be a different matter and individual key state polling suggests that Trump’s might hold on.

In the betting punters on Betfair make it a 63% chance that the Democrats will win the House which is now some way below the US-based prediction markets. Betfair has it as a 69% chance that the GOP will retain control of the Senate.

The thing to remember is that all seats in the House are up on November 6th but only 35 of the 100 Senate seats. Those at stake this year have been held since 2012 when Obama won his second term and are mostly held by the Democrats.

A big issue is that turnout rates are generally much lower at the midterms than in Presidential races which puts a premium on turnout.

There’s little doubt that last week’s Senate hearing and vote approving the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination has fired up voters. The question is whether the Blues (Dems) or the Reds (GOP) will benefit more.

In my betting I was laying (betting against) the Republicans holding onto the Senate but cashed that in taking a profit last week. Some more numbers like the CNN data and I might go back in but that is just one poll.

Mike Smithson


Punters now make it a 57% chance that TMay will be out next year

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

There’s been more movement on the TMay exit year market on Betfair as seen in the chart.

The 57% that next year is now rated is a record high and reflects the view that she’ll hang on until the UK is out of the EU at the end of March and then she’ll stand aside.

But will she? That she is still in Number 10 today is a remarkable achievement given that last year she took the advice from DDavis and made the fatal decision to call the last election.

Almost every day at the moment we hear of growing pressure on her over Brexit some accompanied by threats to her leadership. She’s still there because there’s no clear view amongst CON MPs about her successor.

I’m not convinced that she intends to go quietly next year. She has said in the past that she wants to lead the party at the next election which means that she’d only go earlier if she was ousted.

Detractors within the party are always making threats which they never follow up – thus weakening their credibility even further. They’ve cried wolf too often to be taken seriously.

Mike Smithson


New Midterms survey finds the Democrats making progress in 69 key marginals

Monday, October 8th, 2018

In what we in the UK would describe as a poll of marginals the Washington Post is reporting a survey in 69 key Congressional districts which overall voted 56% Republican to 41% Democratic last time,

This latest survey by the Schar School at George Mason University has the Democrats on 50% to the Republicans on 46%. In UK terms that represents quite some swing.

The paper notes that they went for this approach because “we know less about the opinions of this decisive slice of the electorate, which is demographically and politically distinct from the country as a whole.”

This sounds similar to the ComRes polling of groups of marginals at GE2015 which proved to be just about the most predictive polling of the campaign.

In the betting the Democrats are a 63% chance to take the House with the Republicans on 37%. This has remained fairly stable although the Senate betting has seen a GOP majority harden up to a 69% chance.

Voting is four weeks tomorrow.

Mike Smithson