Archive for the 'WHITE HOUSE RACE' Category

h1

First Winfrey – Trump polling has Oprah 10 points ahead

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018


Boondocks

And she’s a favourability rating of 55%

New polling just out this afternoon from the right-leaning pollster Rasmussen has a big boost for TV personality, Oprah Winfrey who has now entered, though not the race, the frame for WH20020. This is from the pollster:

“TV personality Oprah Winfrey is the likely winner over President Trump if the 2020 election were held today, but there are a lot of undecideds.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters would opt for Winfrey, while 38% would choose Trump. But a sizable 14% are undecided.

Winfrey has the support of 76% of Democrats, 22% of Republicans and 44% of voters not affiliated with either major political party. The president earns 66% of the vote from Republicans, 12% of Democrats and 38% of unaffiliateds.

Twelve percent (12%) of both Republicans and Democrats are undecided given this matchup. One-in-five unaffiliated voters (19%) aren’t sure which candidate they would support.

Fifty-five percent (55%) of all voters view Winfrey favorably, including 27% with a Very Favorable view of the longtime media personality and entrepreneur. That’s little changed from 2011 after Winfrey announced she was ending her TV talk show after 25 years on the air. Thirty-four percent (34%) share an unfavorable view of her, with 18% who have a Very Unfavorable one.”

Clearly at this stage there is a novelty element but Oprah, like Trump as WH2016 has high level of name recognition simply because she’s is a high profile TV star.

Whether these sort of numbers would survive an actual run for the nomination and the cut and thrust of a campaign we do not know.

She is second favourite, behind Trump, on Betfair to win WH20120.

Mike Smithson




h1

What 2018 could have in store for Trump (and who might he face in 2020)

Monday, January 1st, 2018

On his return from the U.S., Keiran Pedley gives us the rundown on what is happening stateside

Having spent a few weeks in New Jersey, as I usually do this time of year, it will not come as much of a surprise that the news media there is wall to wall Trump. However, as a keen observer of US politics, I do enjoy being over there and watching the political comings and goings ‘live’ – you can often pick up some nuances that you might not when watching from overseas. Here are some observations from my time there over the Christmas break.

Trump faces a tough election cycle in 2018

Unless the ongoing Russia investigation finds a ‘smoking gun’, or war breaks out on the Korean peninsula, the big story of 2018 in Washington is likely to be November’s midterm elections. Here Trump’s Republican Party, which currently holds both houses of Congress, could potentially lose both. Any sense that this prospect was ‘fake news’ was pretty much dispelled by the Democrats taking deep red Alabama in December’s special election (granted under very ‘special’ circumstances given the objectively awful Republican candidate Roy Moore).

The two charts below spell out the difficulties faced by Trump and the GOP in no uncertain terms. The first chart, courtesy of Jennifer Agiesta of CNN, shows President Trump is the least popular president after his first year in office since modern polling began. The second chart, courtesy of FiveThirtyEight shows the Democrats are on average 12 points ahead of the Republicans in the so-called ‘generic ballot’ – polling that measures which party Americans would support for Congress irrespective of who is running locally. The conventional wisdom, reflected here again at FiveThirtyEight, suggests a lead of more than eight points (maybe less) would be enough for the Democrats to win back the House of Representatives.  As it stands, they are favourites to do so.

Table 1: Trump’s approval rating after one year versus other presidents

Table 2: Polling average for the ‘generic ballot’

But it isn’t all bad news for Trump

The race for the House might be going the Democrat’s way but the race for the Senate is much less certain. Whereas the whole House is up for re-election every two years, only a third of the Senate is up each cycle and the 2018 map is not kind for Democrats. At the time of writing, they need a net gain of two seats to win back control of the Senate, yet the Republicans are only defending 8 of the 34 seats up for election (many of these in very ‘red’ states). Furthermore, the Democrats themselves happen to be defending seats in several states that Trump won in 2016 (notably Vice President Pence’s Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia, Ohio, Florida and several others in the now infamous ‘blue wall’ that failed so miserably for Hillary Clinton). Put simply, two Democratic gains may not be enough if they fail to hold seats elsewhere.

Table 3: Senate seats up in 2018

So for the Democrats to take the Senate everything would need to go right for them. The prevailing political mood now suggests this might happen. However, Trump will hope to shift this mood if his recently passed tax plan provides a turbo boost to a US economy that is already chugging along quite nicely and the Russia investigation comes to naught (a crisis in North Korea is never far away too). He will hope for a second hearing, if not from Democrats, from Independents that currently give him an approval rating of just 33% with Gallup (57% disapprove).

The risk for Trump is that the 2018 election cycle may not really be about his record at all. It could be a referendum on the man himself as president and in that case there is nothing he can really do to avoid the Democratic wave he faces. Even if he ‘only’ loses the House, his domestic agenda will be severely hampered. If he loses both the House and Senate, it will stall completely.

However, this does not mean impeachment.  The US constitution requires two-thirds of the Senate to vote for impeachment to remove a president from office. Despite many suggesting that the GOP might ‘dump Trump’ if he became a liability, I find that idea highly dubious, unless clear and unambiguous illegality emerges that is explicitly linked to Trump’s own hand. Never say never but I won’t hold my breath.

In a bizarre way, Trump may even find his prospects for re-election boosted to some extent if the Democrats control Congress. He will once again have an enemy to run against in 2020 and nothing motivates the Republican base more than getting one over on the Pelosi’s and Schumer’s of this world. Make no mistake, losing Congress is bad for any president’s agenda, but there could be a silver lining of sorts for Trump – particularly if he manages to boost his credentials as a ‘dealmaker’ by governing with the Democrats (unlikely as that sounds).

Meanwhile the Democrats lack leadership – and that makes 2020 unpredictable

It is too early to make any definitive judgements about who the Democratic nominee will be in 2020. There are large question marks over who will actually run from the early list of front runners. Yet the skeleton of a field is starting to emerge nonetheless. Here are some names that consistently come up in the conversation about 2020 and their odds with Ladbrokes. This list doesn’t include some of the more fanciful names that feature, such as Michelle Obama, Mark Zuckerberg or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson:

  • Elizabeth Warren (Senator, Massachusetts) 6/1
  • Kamala Harris (Senator, California) 6/1
  • Bernie Sanders (Senator, Vermont) 7/1
  • Cory Booker (Senator, New Jersey) 20/1
  • Joe Biden (fmr. Vice President) 20/1
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (Senator, New York) 25/1

Selection of odds taken from Ladbrokes

What should worry Democrats at this stage is that there is no obvious spokesperson for the party right now. No clear leadership. That suggests that the field for 2020 will be large, much like it was for the GOP in 2016, this makes the contest itself extremely unpredictable.

A number of dynamics will be at play when the Democrats choose their standard bearer in a couple of years’ time. Race and gender will loom large as ever but so too will a generational divide. In ‘normal’ circumstances, 2020 would be a contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; yet both will be comfortably in their late 70s come 2020. We cannot be certain if either will actually run. Therefore, the race is on to see who will emerge as the ‘next generation candidate’ to challenge or replace them.

In this context, I think Kirsten Gillibrand is a great value bet. She has made a lot of running in 2017, surprising many by saying President Clinton should have resigned following the Monica Lewinsky scandal and decisively calling for the resignation of Al Franken following accusations of sexual assault. Aged 51, she is seeking to make herself a leader of the #metoo movement and seems to have made the early running better than others that might seek that ‘next generation’ mantle; such as Kamala Harris or Cory Booker.

Of course, it is early days and just because a generational divide exists, it does not necessarily follow that the Democrats ‘have’ to move to the next one. It may well be that Biden and Sanders both run and they dominate the field. However, I think it is highly likely that at least one woman makes a strong bid for the Democratic nomination next time and this makes Gillibrand one to watch.

Nevertheless, for now I am still watching Bernie Sanders closest of all – whether he runs or not. If the 2020 Democratic field is as crowded as it was for the GOP in 2016, it is easy to see how Sanders, with his loyal supporters, racks up primary wins without winning a majority of the vote each time. If he doesn’t run, Elizabeth Warren could take his progressive mantle. Given that she is a woman as well it is not hard to see why Ladbrokes have her as favourite but she probably needs Sanders not to run. A Biden run from the centre has to be taken seriously too – more seriously than 20-1.

For now this is all speculation. In 2018, it will be important to watch Trump’s approval rating as we approach the midterms and keep a keen eye for which Democrats emerge as party leaders with one eye on 2020. It should make for interesting viewing.

Keiran Pedley

Keiran Pedley tweets about politics and public opinion at @keiranpedley





h1

Tips for WH2020: Bullock, Hickenlooper – and Trump

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

The field is too clogged up with the debris and echoes of 2016

One of the enduring mysteries of political betting is the continuing strength of David Miliband in the Next Labour Leader market. Despite his not having sat in the Commons for four and a half years, despite his showing no inclination to return, despite there being little opportunity to return in the near term, despite his politics now being completely out of line with a Labour Party whose membership is utterly transformed from the one he left in 2013, and despite his close association with Blair – hardly flavour of the month these days – his odds are no longer than 33/1 anywhere and are ludicrously as short as 14/1 (co-fifth favourite!) with BetStars. In reality, he should be at least 200/1.

The mystery is perhaps best solved by looking at punters rather than bookies. For all the evidence, some people place far more weight on the past and far too little on the present and the future.

What is true of Britain is even more true of the United States, with its four-year presidential cycle. Of the nine Democrats listed at 40/1 or less, four will be in their seventies by Inauguration Day 2021. They include two former candidates, Biden (78) and Sanders (79), and one frequently speculated about as a potential candidate, Elizabeth Warren (71). Following Trump’s victory, proving that inexperience in politics was no bar to victory, the top of the list is unusually heavy with celebrities and businessmen. Mark Zuckerberg is priced at just 33s (his current age, as it happens), with Oprah Winfrey at 40s. Several more are rated as 50/1, as, for that matter, is Hillary Clinton.

I’m sceptical about the chances of most if not all of the above. The first and most important question is: will they run? As with the Miliband example in Britain, the field at this stage in the cycle tends to be heavily influenced by considerations of the last campaign, not the next one. Square pegs are attempted to be hammered into round holes. Hence Biden, who should have run in 2016 but will be too old in 2020, or Warren, who offers little that Hillary Clinton didn’t. As for non-politicians, they rarely run. Trump is a highly unusual exception and is proving the difficulty of changing careers as he has.

I ought to be equally sceptical about the woman who is the fourth-favourite Democrat, Michelle Obama. Surely 25/1 is too short? Is this not just lazy thinking, tied back to a mixture of the Obama White House and Hillary’s ex-First Lady presidential bid? That was certainly my first impression, bolstered by previous comments that she wouldn’t run for office and past polling that’s shown the public to be unsympathetic to the idea of her candidature.

In truth, 25/1 is too short, but only a little. For all that she doesn’t want to run, the fact is that her husband remains hugely popular among Democrats and with decent ratings in the country at large. The only problem is that he can’t run again; not under his own name anyway. That is of course hugely patronising to Michelle, who is an accomplished speaker in her own right and a far more human and sympathetic figure than Hillary ever was. All the same, I doubt if she’d be so high up the favourites were the promise of two-for-one not a consideration. Unless some rising star can break through, the pressure will no doubt continue to mount as Democrats survey a field of has-beens, second-raters and enthusiastic amateurs and come to the conclusion that Trump could potentially beat any of them.

Are there such candidates? At this stage, it’s hard to tell. Kamala Harris (18/1) and Cory Booker (33/1) are ‘next generation’ in the senses both of following those now in their seventies and in when they broke through into national politics, even if they’re both in their fifties. All the same, I’m not convinced by the odds. Harris’s have dropped following speculation that she’ll run which of itself is fair enough but I think they’ve overshot. Booker is also being touted but I’m far from convinced that the US is ready to elect a man who’s never married and who refuses to address questions about his sexuality.

In terms of value, I’d look even down the field, into the zone where there are all sorts of oddball candidates, together with some who I think shouldn’t be there. Two who shouldn’t be there, both available at 100/1, are the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, and the governor of Montana, Steve Bullock.

But there’s only so much value to be extracted that far down. Some also exists at the top. I’ve said that there are precious few Democrats worth backing. That’s because one Republican in particular is too long, namely the president himself: Donald Trump. For him to be 5/2 to win re-election is for punters to forget all the lessons that should have been learned in 2016. Never underestimate his chances against an opponent with a weak spot.

David Herdson





h1

Labour’s Brexit dilemma: the right policy led by the wrong people? Plus Kasich 2020 rumours

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Despite Labour voters support for a second referendum on EU membership, the party’s support for Brexit is probably the right policy writes Keiran Pedley. The Conservatives are vulnerable if Theresa May cannot negotiate a deal but not if Labour looks ‘pro-Brussels’.

As June the 8th rapidly approaches, many have criticised the Labour Party’s approach to Brexit. With the Prime Minister solidly in favour of a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ and the Liberal Democrats the unapologetic party of Remain, Labour has seemed lost.  Many pro-European Labour supporters have expressed exasperation that the leadership will not pursue the Blairite ‘second referendum’ policy and Labour as a whole has been criticised for having no real answer on the biggest question of the day.

On this week’s Polling Matters podcast we looked at the numbers on this issue. As part of our Polling Matters / Opinium series we repeated the question on whether there should be a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU once the terms are known. After a slight shift in opinion in March, we can see that public opinion remains (pardon the pun), solidly against – yet Labour voters are solidly for.

Q. Once we know what terms the government has negotiated, should there be a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, where voters can choose between leaving under the terms negotiated or remaining in the EU after all?

Among all Remain voters Leave voters
Dec 16 Mar 17 May 17 Dec 16 Mar 17 May 17 Dec 16 Mar 17 May 17

Should be

33%

38%

36%

59%

66%

64%

9%

11%

9%

Should not be

52%

52%

53%

27%

23%

26%

81%

83%

85%

Don’t know 15% 10% 11% 14% 10% 11% 10% 6%

7%

 

Labour voters

Dec 16 Mar 17 May 17
Should be

54%

60%

57%

Should not be

32%

29%

31%

Don’t know

14%

11%

12%

If, as we all expect, the Conservatives are returned to power with an increased majority in June then whoever leads the Labour Party in the future will be faced with a real dilemma. There is likely to be a clamouring for a change in Labour policy on Brexit and we should expect someone to stand for the Labour leadership on the basis that a second referendum should be ‘on the table’. It may very well be the entire basis on which a candidate for the leadership challenges Jeremy Corbyn should he choose to try and hang on. Perhaps a change of policy is a good idea. If Brexit goes badly, then Labour can differentiate from the government by being the party offering a way out of a disastrous Brexit?

I’m not so sure. There is no real evidence from the past few months to suggest that a difficult Brexit will do anything other than increase support for the government and harden anti-EU sentiment. I am far from convinced that Labour will benefit from being positioned as the ‘pro Brussels’ party during exit negotiations. There is a prevailing mood in the public to ‘get on with it’ now and I see no real electoral dividend in fighting the tide. Indeed, the numbers above show that 1 in 4 Remainers (26%) do not want to revisit the question of EU membership along with 1 in 3 Labour voters (31%). Perhaps there was a time for the ‘2nd referendum’ idea to take root but that time appears to have passed.

A far better policy for Labour now would be to support Brexit but to insist that walking away with no deal would be a disaster. To position Labour as the party that wants a positive relationship with the EU in a post Brexit world and to say clearly that a ‘no deal’ scenario would represent a failure of leadership on the part of the Prime Minister. This strategy puts the Conservative Party’s reputation for competent leadership and economic stability on the table rather than make Labour look like it is siding with the EU against Britain. Labour could say that any decision to re-join the EU would be subject to another referendum, that one would not take place during the first term of any future Labour government but that it could be on the table in the future.

If this sounds like I think the current policy is broadly right it’s because I think it is. In my view, Labour’s problem isn’t that its policy on Brexit is wrong, the problem is that this election is about ‘who negotiates that Brexit?’ and the public are quite clear that person should be Theresa May and not Jeremy Corbyn. Nevertheless, just because Britain is leaving the EU, that does not mean voters want bad relations with Europe, nor does it mean that issues around funding for schools, hospitals and social care have gone away. Labour can get back in the game. It just needs strong leadership and a sense of direction to do so.

Meanwhile in America

As American politics is dominated by the ongoing row over healthcare you may have missed the most recent episode of David Axelrod’s podcast ‘The Axe Files’. On this week’s episode, Axelrod interviews Ohio Governor John Kasich, who offers the worst ‘non-denial denial’ on the prospect of him running for President in 2020 that you are ever likely to hear. Could he run against Donald Trump in the Republic primary? Here is what he said:

On his support in the country:

“What I have found is that when I travel around on this book or when I travel around period people come to me and many of them are almost begging me to run again…”

When pressed on 2020 he goes on:

“My folks advise me because my inclination is to say ‘I’ll never run for anything again’ ok and they say ‘why do you say that John, you don’t know what the future is going to be’ and they’re right. So. I don’t know. Am I planning on for it? No. Do I have a political organisation still active? Yes. Why? Because I want to have a team of people that can help me to have an effective voice…It’s extremely difficult to maintain a voice if you don’t’ hold an office…’

Not exactly squashing it is he? More here.

John Kasich is 50/1 to be the GOP nominee in 2020 by the way. I am taking that.

Keiran Pedley is a regular contributor to Politicalbetting.com and editor of the PB/Polling Matters podcast. You can listen to this week’s episode below:

Keiran tweets about politics and public opinion at @keiranpedley



h1

This YouGov US polling says an awful lot about current US politics and its worrying

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017



h1

My 66/1 long-shot bet for the 2020 White House race: Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Could she be the one to take down Trump?

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.

As I’ve found in the past it can pleasurable and profitable backing a long-shot three to four years out and watching their progress. Occasionally you might back a winner.

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.

Michelle Obama (8/1) is also being tipped but somehow I can’t see her taking the plunge.

For bets that won’t mature for nearly four years I like long-shots and have 53 year old Harris at 66/1 for the Presidency and 40/1 for the nomination. As I write these odds are still available and might be worth a punt.

Mike Smithson




h1

Clinton is being urged to challenge the results in three key states

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

pic
NYMag.Com

Interesting report overnight suggesting that there might have been irregularities in three key states which could turn the election.

It is very hard to draw conclusions from this but where votes are cast electronically and there is no paper trail of a ballot paper then the potential for issues and possible hacking will exist. This is one reason why I prefer the British method of ballot papers.

The pressure is on all parties to ensure a smooth transition and it would be hard politically for Hillary at this stage to mount such a challenge.

Questions about the legitimacy of the outcome could, however, dog the Trump administration in the four years ahead.

Mike Smithson




h1

If you’re expecting final WH2016 vote totals quickly don’t hold your breath. In 2012 we had to wait till January

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

white-houe-symbol-google-search

After election night in 2012 Obama was 2% ahead in the popular vote. By January 2013 it reached 3.85%

At the 2012 White House Race we had a very special reason on PB to pay close attention to the precise national popular vote numbers in the period after the election.

William Hill had offered £1,000 in free bets and the competition was to predict the winning national vote margin to two decimal points.

My naive assumption in devising it like this was that we’d have the final numbers within a couple of days and the prizes could be handed over.

Not so. The process of gathering in the data to produce a definitive competition verdict took weeks and we had the wonderful spectacle of entrants thinking they’d overshot, getting excited as the total moved up to their number and then disappointed as it went past.

In the end we had to wait until early in the New Year to get the final count. Amazingly Obama’s margin went from 2% on election night to 3.85% at the end.

I was grateful during this period for PBer Andy JS who played a huge role monitoring changing totals from across the US and maintaining a publicly available spreadsheet.

This time there was no competition but the final Hillary Clinton vote lead will be politically important.

Mike Smithson