Archive for the 'WHITE HOUSE RACE' Category


Biden drops 15 in new Democrat primary poll as Mayor Pete moves to within 4%

Friday, April 19th, 2019

The former VP seems to be most affected by the rise of Buttigieg

In the first democratic primary polls carried out since last weekend when Mayor Pete enters the race formally at a big rally in his home city there’s a new national poll that has good news for him and bad news for Joe Biden, the former vice president, who has yet to declare.

Biden is still in the lead – just. When the pollster Change Research last looked at this in March Biden was on 36% and Buttigie was on just two. Now Biden is down to 21 with Buttigieg up to 17.

In a separate question asking people how they’d vote listing only those who had formally declared Sanders was on 26% with Buttigieg on 21% O’Rourke on 14, and both Harris and Warren on 10%

That the rise in the Buttigieg share should be the same as the decline in the Biden share is very telling and perhaps reflects the media coverage of the race that’s been taking place this week. Maybe things will change for Biden when he formally declares that he’s running but I wonder whether the polling might cause him to ponder.

The other big event in the race this was the appearance of Bernie Sanders at a Fox News Town Hall when he which has been very much a major victory for him. Clearly Fox News is not home territory for Sanders and they weren’t going to give him an easy time. As it turned out the Senator from Vermont didn’t give the network an easy time. See some extracts here.

The latest nomination betting has Sanders on 21%, Harris on 17% and Buttigieg on 14%.

Mike Smithson


In the fight for the WH2020 Democratic nomination 37 year old Mayor Pete moves to 3rd in the betting

Tuesday, April 16th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

But will the bubble burst?

One of the quite extraordinary features of the fight for the Democratic nomination to take on Donald Trump has been the rise and rise of a 37 year old Harvard graduate and Afghanistan veteran from South Bend Indiana, Pete Buttigieg,  who’s now moved to third in the betting behind Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris. He’s currently Mayor of his home city.

This followed his formal entry into the campaign in a disused car factory there at the weekend which was widely covered by the US media.

I have to admit that from a betting perspective I was a bit late getting on Mayor Pete, as he likes to be called, and my longest odds are 40/1 for the Presidency. I know some PBers are on at much longer odds than that. Since then, about 3 weeks ago, he’s been on the media almost consistently and comes over as very much the antidote to Donald Trump. There is a British interest him in that he was a Rhodes scholar and spent time studying in Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar when he was in his early 20s.

The big question is how the next round of nomination polling goes and whether we’ll see him moving forward here as well. The former vice president and two times White House failure, Joe Biden, continues to leading most polls but that arguably is very much a factor of his high name recognition. He hasn’t yet declared that is running and he’s struggling to deal with recent allegations of inappropriate  touching of several women.

One of the key metrics to look out in all of this is how much money the contenders are able to raise. US law is very restrictive on the amount that individuals can give to a campaign so there is a need for a large support base of people who can be contacted easily who are able to keep a campaign afloat. There has been a hint of that already from Mayor Pete but his numbers for the past 24 hours after his formal launch could be very interesting.

Just watching US TV over the weekend when he made his formal announcement there were many commentators ready to compare him with Jack Kennedy and Barack Obama. Maybe that’s getting ahead of ourselves but the former President did tip Buttigieg shortly before he left the White House. There’s no doubt that he does come over very effectively. I can see the Democratic race coming down to Sanders, Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete.

Mike Smithson


The first thing Trump’s likely to do when Jo Biden finally declares is to dub the former VP “copycat”

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

The man who copied almost word for word a Neil Kinnock ad

A new US  poll has Joe Biden beating Trump by 7% in a WH2020 match-up which puts him in the best position of all the Democrats who are seeking the nomination. In the RCP polling average he’s 5.8% ahead of his closest rival  even though he has yet to formally declare. In the betting he’s favourite although the top 4 are all within three points.

Of course Biden, who got a lucky late career break when in 2008 Obama asked him to be his running mate,  served for eight years as VP. He’s well known.

I’ve long been a Biden sceptic because of his age, 77, his gaffe-prone reputation, and what happened 31 years ago when he first made an unsuccessful bid for the White House.

What should concern those ready to risk their cash on a Biden bet is that which features in the 1988 YouTube clip which highlights the reason why he had to quit his first presidential bid. The allegations of plagiarism went well beyond just using almost word for word  the famous Neil Kinnock pitch from the 1987 general election. There were suggestions, well documented at the time, that he had plagiarised other people’s work while he was at university. He was also accused of plagiarising JFK amongst others.

Compared with the dirt on Trump this is of course peanuts but Biden, unlike the president, has to appeal to a very different group – Democrat primary voters whose prime concern will be to select someone who can beat the current incumbent.

The plagiarism charge is going to be thrown at him and being the front runner means it is much more likely to be examined in detail. No doubt Mr Trump will create one of his deadly nicknames based on this for the former vice president.

The age thing is not yet a factor but is likely to be so as we start the Democratic primary debate program in June. This will be highlighted by being surrounded by several younger contenders in their late 30s.  Is Biden going to have the stamina for an 18-month fight the presidency let alone the stamina for actually doing the job if successful?

From the start I have ruled out Biden and Sanders in my betting on the age grounds alone.

Mike Smithson


Pete Buttigieg – the 37 year old former Rhodes Scholar now running 3rd in Iowa

Monday, March 25th, 2019

Probably worth a punt as a good long shot

A new poll for next year’s Iowa caucuses is just out and puts a 37 year old former Rhodes Scholar from Indiana who you have probably never heard of in 3rd place.

He’s Pete Buttigieg and the polling reflects the fact that over the last few days he’s been the hottest property on  US political TV shows. He’s telegenic, personable, articulate, gay and almost exactly half the age of front runners Biden and Sanders. Like Bill Clinton he is a former Rhodes scholar and studied at Oxford University. He’s currently mayor of South Bend in Indiana.

I’ve had a few bets on him in the past hour for president and the longest price I got was 40/1.

We are now only a couple of months before the first Democratic primary debates and the fact that Buttigieg has satisfied the donor threshold is a key development.

The Democratic party is desperately looking for someone who can beat Donald Trump and a plus for Buttigieg is that he comes from Indiana. Generally the Democrats receive their most support from East and West Coast States with a very big void in the middle of America. Someone from the centre might just be appealing.

The Iowa caucuses take place in just over ten months making the state the first to decide in the Democratic primary. That Buttigieg is polling so well there is very good for him and will help with fundraising and building the team that’s necessary to have a chance of winning the nomination.

His odds will tighten.

Mike Smithson


Key fact: Biden leads the Dem 2020 polling despite not yet running

Saturday, March 16th, 2019


This is more than name recognition: he’s very viable candidate

One reason above all others convinced me in October 2015 that Donald Trump should be taken seriously as a presidential candidate: his performance in the opinion polls. It was easy to write him off as an amateur with a penchant for controversy and self-publicity; someone who would be overtaken by both his own absurdity and by professional politicians come the actual voting in the primaries. Easy but wrong, and the signs were there.

Trump had headed the polls for about three months by that stage: more than long enough to be tested in the spotlight. Lesser candidates who rose to brief prominence faded in the glare: Trump didn’t.

We’re not at anything like the same stage in the 2020 campaign yet but we are far enough in that we should now be taking the polls seriously. Candidates are declaring and campaigns are organizing. We’re past the shadow-boxing and into the real thing.

And yet for all the focus on those declared candidates, the most obvious stat from the polls is that one at the top: Joe Biden leads them. All of them. In the more than two dozen nationwide Democrat primary polls published this year, Biden has headed every single one in which he’s been named. Furthermore, since Sanders declared his candidacy four weeks ago, none but the Vermont senator and the former Vice President have scored more than 11% (Sanders has ranged 14-27; Biden, 24-39).

This is despite the fact that Biden isn’t yet a declared candidate and hasn’t even formed an exploratory committee, whereas the likes of Klobuchar, Warren, Harris and Sanders all have. To me, that says that there’s both a lot of goodwill towards Biden among Democrat voters, and that those same voters are sceptical of other candidates, which is an extremely healthy position for him to be in. Put another way, this is more than name-recognition now.

There are of course reasons for us to exercise caution. Most obviously, he isn’t yet a candidate and might not become one. However, at the very least he is seriously weighing another tilt at the Oval Office, dropping strong hints in recent appearances and signing the sort of people he’d need for a campaign. Biden’s age might be an issue – he’d be the oldest-ever US president on his first day in office – though age didn’t harm Sanders in 2016, nor is it obviously adversely affecting either man this time round. Likewise, while Biden does have a reputation as gaffe-prone – a legacy of previous failed presidential bids – I wonder whether that’s now outdated: he served for eight years with distinction and without embarrassment as Vice President.

There’s a lot of time between now and the Iowa caucus in February next year; plenty enough for one or more to capture the public imagination and emerge from the extremely large field. However, front-runners can and often do win the nominations. The current betting has near four-way co-favourites, with Sanders, Harris, Biden and O’Rourke all available at either 9/2 or 5/1, which makes little sense to me given the strength of Biden’s polling. Sure, he should have a discount because of the possibility that he might not run but it’s a diminishing risk.

I think Biden is getting ready to announce that he’ll run, and that based on his polling and record, will make an extremely strong contender for the nomination and indeed the presidency. 5/1 is definitely value.

David Herdson


Trump’s WH2016 victory could be the last time the national popular vote loser becomes President

Monday, March 4th, 2019


State moves are afoot to by-pass the electoral college

We all know that in November 2016 Donald Trump won the White House Race even though in terms of the national popular vote he had 3.1% fewer votes overall than Hillary Clinton. This was not the first time this has happened.

The actual decision on who should be President is determined by members of the electoral College which features in the map above. The numbers in each box are the number of electoral College members that each is allocated. The map also shows the latest WH2020 projection from

In almost all state in the US the electoral College votes are allocated on a first past the post system to the candidate who actually picks up most votes in that state.

Trump managed to win in 2016 even though he trailed Clinton secures because his vote was very efficiently distributed in several key swing states which he picked up with very small margins.

Now there is a move afoot that’s designed to prevent a further national vote loser getting the job. This is coming from decisions in some states to change their state law on how their electoral votes should be allocated. Instead of the state’s own presidential election result being the determining factor several are now deciding that they should go to whichever contender wins the national popular vote.

Colorado has just enacted such a provision conditional on sufficient other states doing the same to represent a majority in the electoral college.

If enough states follow suit before November next year then it would completely change the dynamic of the presidential election. For if you live in a strong blue state (Democrat) or a red one (Republican) then the outcome where you vote at the moment is a foregone conclusion. This inevitably depresses turn out.

The campaigns which in the past have tended not to focus on banker states would see a lot more activity.

Is this going to happen in time for next year’s election? That’s hard to say but it’s interesting that in recent weeks this has started to get traction in many parts of the US media.

Maybe the long-term consequences of Donald Trump’s election in 2016 would be to change how America chooses its president.

Mike Smithson


Sanders aged 77 and Biden 76 move to 2nd and 3rd favourite in the WH2020 Democratic nomination betting

Thursday, February 28th, 2019 chart of movement on the Betfair exchange

Both old white male failures from previous White House campaigns

There’s been a big shake up in the betting for the 2020 democratic nomination. Last week Bernie Sanders came into the race and established himself as second favourite. Now, the latest development is that Joe Biden, who first ran for the White House in 1984, is said to be on the point of putting his hat into the ring.

Both, because they’ve been around for so long – the former running last time and the latter being Obama’s VP – have strong name recognition and my guess is that’s what driven their apparent support in early polling. Bernie at least can point to his large fundraising base and the amounts raised so far.

If Biden does decide to go for it, and the signs are that he will, it will be his third attempt. His previous runs for the White House were abject failures. In 1984 he secured just one delegate in the primaries and four years later he secured two. He is notoriously gaffe prone.

Sanders did a whole lot better in his only previous bid, 2016, when he was effectively the only candidate running against Hillary Clinton and was helped enormously because of the concerns over the electoral appeal of the front runner.

What the party needs now is someone with the ability to appeal to a broad base particularly many of the centre ground voters who have concerns about Trump. Last November in the midterms it was former Republican voting college educated white women who switched to the Democrats. I cannot see either of the older white men having that appeal.

The first campaign challenge for Sanders will be the Iowa caucuses in about 11 months time and no doubt people will compare his 49%+ that he achieved there in 2016 with what he does. It is hard, given there are so many contenders, seeing Sanders doing better there.

Mike Smithson


Bernie Sanders, 77, decides to take the plunge and moves to third in the nomination betting

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

But how seriously should we view his campaign?

I must admit that I cannot see either 76 year old Joe Biden or 77 Bernie winning the nomination in eighteen months time. The former has yet to decide while Bernie, who ran Hillary close at WH2016, announced today that he’s going for it.

He joins an increasingly crowded field of aspiring nominees and the race will be so unlike last time when it was really just down to two.

What he has got going for him is a substantial supporter base as well as the experience of fighting a prolonged and hard primary campaign. The question is whether he has the appeal of 2016 or has the party moved on?

This is how the New York Times assesses his chances:

“A sensation in 2016, Mr. Sanders is facing a far different electoral landscape this time around. Unlike his last bid for the White House, when he was the only liberal challenger to an establishment-backed front-runner, he will be contending with a crowded and diverse field of candidates, including popular Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who have adopted his populist mantle.

Victories in the 2018 midterm election by women, minorities and first-time candidates also suggest that many Democrats may prefer fresh energy, something that skeptics believe Mr. Sanders could struggle to deliver. A 77-year-old whose left-wing message has remained largely unchanged in his decades-long career, Mr. Sanders will also need to improve his support from black voters and quell the unease about his campaign’s treatment of women that has been disclosed in recent news accounts, and that has prompted two public apologies.”

The thing that all prospective nominees have to do is demonstrate that they can beat Trump who will fight a fierce and rough campaign against them. I’m not sure he fits the bill.

Current Betfair betting – Harris 25%, Biden 14%, Sanders 11%, O’Rourke 10%, Brown 7%, Klobuchar 7%, Warren 6%.

Mike Smithson