Archive for the 'Coalition' Category


As Trump’s legal troubles mount punters now make it a 34% chance that he’ll win WH2020

Monday, December 10th, 2018

A good bet but which way?

If it wasn’t for Brexit we’d be doing several threads a week about the US and particularly the prospects for Trump as the investigations appear to be getting closer.

With the Mueller probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 campaign coming to a head it’s highly likely that we could see a lot of activity on Trump survival betting markets in the coming days and weeks. This is how the New York Times is summing up where things are.

The latest revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged.

In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him. At the same time, in this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law.

The prosecutors made clear in their memo that they viewed efforts by Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to squelch the stories as nothing less than a perversion of a democratic election — and by extension they effectively accused the president of defrauding voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.”

Both his former campaign chief and personal attorney looks set to be facing possible long prison sentences and each new development seems to bring us closer to the Oval Office.

    Looking to the next presidential election it is hard to envisage anything about Trump that will undermine the confidence that his core base has in him. But to win again against a fired up Democratic party he needs more than just the core and has to appeal to independents and Trump sceptics who are currently Republican Party voters.

I think a lot depends on whether the GOP establishment is ready to stick with Trump for another four years. After last month’s midterm setback Trump might struggle to be seen as the electoral asset that he was. Having him at the top of the ticket in November 2020 might hinder the party in the multitude of races for all the other positions on that day? A real worry as we saw in the midterms, is that the incumbent is a big turnout driver for the other side.

There are several betting markets. The biggest, of course, is who will be next president which currently has Trump at a 34% chance. There is also betting on the Republican party nomination where Trump’s chances are currently rated at about 67%. You can all have bets on the year of Trump’s final departure from the White House and whether or not he will finish a full first term.

My current best WH2020 bets, all placed some time ago, are 66/1 on Kamala Harris, 270/1 on outgoing Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper and 25/1 on Beto O’Rourke.

Mike Smithson


If TMay survives a confidence vote she’d be immune from another challenge for a year

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

After an extraordinary 24hrs at Westminster in which a total, as I write, of six ministers having resigned all the talk now is that Theresa May could soon be facing a confidence vote.

For this to happen it requires 48 different CON MPs to write to the chairman of the 1922 committee, Graham Brady, asking for such a move to take place.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced that he has sent a letter in and has indicated that he might support Priti Patel or Penny Mordaunt. Moggsy made clear though there was now nothing that the Prime Minister could do to change his mind that she wasn’t right for the job.

So we could be heading for a leadership contest but the first requirement is that a majority of Tory MPs participating in the ballot actually vote that they have no confidence in Mrs May.

    That is far from certain. There is a big difference between getting the 48 letters in to trigger the ballot and securing the support of perhaps 155 MPs in order to ensure that the motion succeeds.

It would, however, clear the air.

The big Gamble the letter signers would be taking is that if Mrs May did survive that confidence vote then she would be guaranteed a full year before another challenge could be made. In the ensuing period, of course, Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29th.

My guess is that the PM would probably survive the VONC but it is nothing like as certain as it might have been a week or so ago.

If she was forced out Mrs. May would arguably be the fourth consecutive CON PM to have been brought down by the EU issue.

Mike Smithson


Good news for TMay: Montgomerie’s backing suggests that the deal has a better chance of being agreed

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

That the founder ConHome, Tim Montgomerie, has Tweeted that he’s backing the deal suggests that this is going to be less of a struggle for TMay than many thought.

A couple of years ago Newsnight described him as “the most famous conservative who is not an MP” and there’s little doubt that he still has a lot of influence particularly as he as always been seen as a strong Brexiteer.

In 2016, a few months before the referendum vote, Tim announced that he was quitting the party over Cameron’s Brexit stance.

ConHome itself has always been strongly pro-Brexit.

No doubt Tim will be writing of the reason for his decision and my guess is that he’s taking the “half a loaf is better than none” approach. The last thing those strongly opposed to the EU want is another referendum which could could open up the issue.

Mike Smithson


With polls showing a sharply contrasting picture let’s look at the trend in real election with real voters

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

Harry Hayfield’s 2018 Q3 review

For all the talk of Labour advancing and the Conservatives getting stuck in the quagmire that is Brexit, the fact that in the third quarter of 2018 in the local by-elections there’s been such a tiny swing from Con to Lab really does show that the Westminster bubble is just that, a bubble.

Perhaps this is why the national polls are showing anything from a Con lead of 6% to a Lab lead of 1%, suggesting that people are not confident with either party to lead them towards Brexit. This, if it is indeed the case raises a serious question. Why, despite their good performance in local by-elections, are the Lib Dems missing in action at Westminster?

Harry Hayfield


PB Video Analysis: Optionally Rewarding – The Dark Side of Share Options

Saturday, September 29th, 2018

Look in any company report, and you’ll see pages of details about executive compensation. And the biggest part of this is – however dressed up – share options.

Get the share price moving, and management is set to make serious money. But what if share options made companies, and the economy, more fragile and encouraged poor decisions.

This time, we’re talking about the dark side of share options.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’


PB Video Analysis: Demographics Two. The Big Drag

Friday, September 28th, 2018

In my last demographics piece, I looked at the boost developed countries got from falling fertility freeing up females from childcare duties. (I adore alliteration.) This piece looks to the recent past, to the experience of Japan, and asks what next?

And the picture isn’t, if we’re going to be honest, a pretty one. Rising life expectancy, and birth rates below replacement almost everywhere mean that population pyramids will continue to invert. Old people produce less economic output than young ones. And they require more healthcare and expensive pensions.

This is not good for economic growth. And intergenerational squabbles will increasingly become a feature of our politics. It’s always harder to distribute losses than to share gains.

But, hey, at least it probably means lower house prices.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’


The Senate Kavanaugh hearing begins taking evidence from the woman who says she was sexually attacked by Trump’s nominee

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

BBC News

Its odds-on that he’ll be confirmed

All eyes in the US are on the Senate Justice committee which is taking evidence from a woman who says she was sexually assaulted by Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, Brett Kavanaugh.

Christine Blasey Ford told the committee that Kavanaugh’s attack on her 38 years ago had left her “afraid and ashamed”.

Because of the power of the Supreme Court and that its members serve for life the stakes couldn’t be higher. There are 100 Senators of which 51 are currently Republicans. If the vote is tied then the decision would be down Vice-President Pence.

PaddyPower make it 8/11 that Kavanaugh will be confirmed and evens that he won’t.

Mike Smithson


More evidence that Corbyn is not now getting anything like the personal backing from GE2017 LAB voters than he was

Monday, September 24th, 2018

PB regulars will know that I am a great fan of leader ratings and believe that they are a better pointer to electoral outcomes than standard voting intention surveys. That was certainly the case at GE1992, GE2015 and GE2017 – all elections where the standard voting polls didn’t do well.

This morning I posted on Twitter the top tweet showing the just 34% of those who had voted Labour on June 8th last year now believe that the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, is doing well. This seems a remarkably low figure and one party should be concerned about. I cannot recall EdM ever slipping to that level.

The second Tweet has an analysis of how CON and LAB voters are responding to “who would make the best PM ?” questions. Normally you would expect party voters to go with their man or woman but the trend recorded here is quite striking.

The good news for the Tories is that almost nobody is questioning Corbyn’s survival chances in the way they are with TMay.

Mike Smithson