Archive for the 'WHITE HOUSE RACE' Category


Beto O’Rourke, third favourite for WH2020, gets closer to putting his hat into the ring

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Is he the white Obama?

The biggest UK political betting market continues to be the US presidential election in 2020 and overnight there have been big developments with Beto O’Rourke saying that he isn’t rulling out a bid.

He had said on repeated occasions that he would not seek the Presidency at the next election but in a town hall meeting last night in his home city of El Paso he suggested that he is now open to a presidential run. This is a significant shift from his remarks on the matter before the midterm elections on November 6th.

He came to prominence during that campaign for his hugely successful fundraising and for running the incumbent Ted Cruz a very close second in a state which has been dominated by the Republicans for decades.

    If the betting is anything to go by then the nomination flight is between O’Rourke and the California senator Kamala Harris who is just favourite at 17% compared with O’Rourke at 15%.

His senate campaign received a huge amount of publicity ahead of November 6th and he became very much a favourite of the liberal left within the party because of the energy of his campaigning and his strong views on healthcare and immigration. The former became the number one issue in the midterms following the efforts by Trump to undermine Obamacare.

Bernie Sanders, the elderly former favourite has now slipped to sixth place in the betting on 6% and Beto backers will surely hoping that the ageing socialist from Vermont and his energetic base will support their man. I know many PBers, including myself, are on the 46 year old Texan at considerably longer odds than you can get now.

There is still an awful long way to go. Generally potential candidates put their hats into the ring in the first half of the year before the presidential election and the action starts the following January.

This latest news will help prospective campaign funders as well as Democratic party campaign professionals who had been waiting on news from O’Rourke before deciding who to back in the primary campaign.

Mike Smithson


The PB MidTerms Prize Competition – did you get closest to the O’Rourke vote share?

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Meanwhile the money goes on O’Rourke for WH2020

Exactly a month ago we launched the PB Prize Midterms competition with the question being:

What will be the vote share (to 2 decimal points) of the Texas Democratic candidate, Beto O’Rourke, in the election set for four weeks on Tuesday?

It was noted then that “Because it can take some time for final vote share in US elections to be determined this competition will be settled on the vote shares the New York Times is showing at 2200 GMT on Wednesday November 7th.”

The precise share down to two decimal points at the stated time was 48.32%. Whoever got closest is the winner.

If you think you were close then please check your entry on the thread here and send me an email.

The prize is the Phil Cowley/Denis Kavanagh study of the 2017 general election which has just been published.

Meanwhile the money has been going on Beto to be the Dems’ nominee for WH2020. He’s now second favourite. This was the view of Beto by Cruz’s chief strategist, Jeff Roe:

The Democrats don’t have anybody like him. I’ve seen all of them. They don’t have anyone of his caliber on the national stage. I pray for the soul of anyone who has to run against him in Iowa in 453 days.

Mike Smithson


The restoration of Florida felons’ voting rights could tip the balance against GOP at WH2020

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

We all know how Florida can have a huge impact on presidential elections and that it is always a tight race there. Overnight the incumbent Democratic Senator was ousted and replaced by a Republican winning by a very small margin.

One of the other things that the state voted on yesterday was Amendment 4 which restores voting rights to 1.4 million people in Florida with past convictions. 

The outcome, which required a 60%+ vote, restores the voting rights specifically to felons not convicted of murder or a sexual offense after completing their sentences, including parole or probation.

The total involved represents a colossal 9.2% of Florida’s voting population and is being hailed as the largest expansion in voting rights since the Voting Rights Act was enacted. This disproportionately impacts on African-Americans and having them as part of the voter pool could clearly have a huge impact on electoral outcomes in the state.

Most states in the US have restrictions on the right to vote for people convicted of felonies. Generally the law bars people who are currently in prison. The Florida regime which this puts right impacted on felons for the rest of their lives.

Mike Smithson


Beto O’Rourke: not the new Lincoln but perhaps following in his footsteps

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Could losing an election be the best thing to happen to the 25/1 shot?

These are not normal times. In normal times, US presidential candidates are vice presidents, senators and governors: people who already have a record in high office. There have always been exceptions but even then, they usually conformed to the rule in a wider sense. Trump does not conform to the rule. Indeed, Trump fails to conform to many received rules of politics. The easy conclusion would be to suggest that it’s Trump who is the exception and while there’s an element of truth in that, the proper conclusion has to be that the old rules are now very imperfect guides – a conclusion strengthened by how close Sanders came to winning the nomination.*

If that’s so, what lessons should we take from it for the 2020 presidential election? The most obvious one is that we shouldn’t restrict ourselves to the usual suspects. Given that for quite a while, the Democrat field was dominated by the usual suspects – Sanders, Biden, Warren – that should have provided value elsewhere, and early backers of California Senator Kamala Harris will have already done well out of the woman who is now second favourite to win outright at 9/1 (behind Trump at 13/8).

So far, so normal. However, rising stealthily to seventh is Congressman Beto O’Rourke, priced at 25/1. For someone with only six years’ experience in the House, those would normally be extremely short odds. But as we’ve established, things are not normal. Qualifying criteria have changed and making an impression counts for more, and old-fashioned CVs, less.

    O’Rourke has benefitted hugely from that because he’s run a high-energy campaign in Texas against incumbent senator (and 2016 hopeful) Ted Cruz, raising more money in the process than any other senate candidate in history. Despite that, the likelihood is that he’ll lose.

Current polling puts him about 7% behind Cruz, which is a little more than the 3-5% it’s been for most of the campaign proper. As long as Cruz can get his vote out, he should win.

However, winning isn’t everything. No Democrat has won state-wide office in Texas since Ann Richards won the governorship in 1990 so although the state is trending back to them, to win it this time would be a remarkable achievement and O’Rourke’s result has to be seen in that context.

All the same, there are many losing candidates who run good campaigns. What makes him special? Firstly, sometimes it’s just being the right person in the right place at the right time against the right opponent. Catching the mood of the moment is something that can’t be planned, only captured, but he might have taken that chance – as his fundraising exploits have shown. Being a fresh face in a field of septugenarians also does no harm.

O’Rourke has also taken a deliberate choice to run a positive and optimistic campaign; something that stands in marked contrast to politics in general and Trump in particular. Trump might try to nickname him with something belittling – ‘the rookie’ or ‘the boy scout’ – but it’ll be hard to pin something as damaging as ‘crooked’ or ‘lying’ (though that won’t necessarily stop him from trying).

Which is where we come to a little history. The 1850s were another time of flux in America, when candidates from outside the usual circle had a better than usual chance is breaking through. One, in particular, did: a gangly lawyer from Springfield, Illinois. Lincoln was able to secure the Republican nomination in 1860 in part because his party was new and had yet to develop the full machine politics that was typical later; in part because he too had – unusually – achieved national prominence in a losing senatorial contest; and in part because as well as his own support, he was a transfer-friendly candidate. That matters as much in the days of primaries as when the convention was king.

None of which is to say that O’Rourke is a new Lincoln. It is to say, however, that Lincoln’s path to the White House is once again open. Does that make O’Rourke value at 25/1? I don’t think so. There are simply too many variables. We don’t know whether he has presidential ambitions for 2020 and while he’s run a good campaign in Texas, will that translate to the national stage? The senior members of the Democrat field are flawed and that certainly creates space for someone like O’Rourke (as in 1992, there was space for Bill Clinton to come through – though Clinton was an experienced Governor), but it also creates space for the likes of Harris and others.

In fact, the shortness of his odds is probably more a measure of the inadequacy of more prominent Democrats than of O’Rourke’s chances. I think the better strategy at this stage is to lay those front-runners.

David Herdson

* In one sense, Sanders didn’t actually come all that close. Hillary had a comfortable lead nationally during the early stages and though Sanders closed it through until about late April, when he was within a few percentage points, he could do nothing about those votes cast early on which were already in Hillary’s bag. In addition, the unpledged delegates were likely to go for the establishment candidate. However, Sanders came within a fraction of winning Iowa, did take New Hampshire and was close in a flawed Nevada contest. Had he won all three – and he could have – the national polls would likely have changed much more quickly. Further, the superdelegates might not have been so reliable for Hillary had Sanders gone into the convention with a lead in pledged delegates and votes cast.


If you think Beto O’Rourke is going to win Texas in November then these might make for good bets

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

The Dems winning Texas in a Presidential election changes the electoral maths.

In recent times Texas has been a safe banker for the GOP but demographics are trending back to the Dems, so what might help tip the balance is if the Dems choose a native son or daughter to be their nominee.

If you think Beto O’Rourke is going to win his Senate battle this autumn then looking at him being a future Presidential nominee seems logical. Tying up my money for 22 years isn’t very appealing but 66/1 and 100/1 for six and ten years might be worth a punt with William Hill. If you think he might do it in 2020 he’s 27s to win the Presidency in 2020 and 16s to be the Democratic Party nominee on Betfair.

If Hillary Clinton had won Texas in 2016 she’d have won the Presidency, that’s how important Texas is.


PS – William Hill also offer 33/1 on a party other than the Tories, Labour, Liberals (sic), UKIP, or Greens to win the most seats at the next UK general election. So if a new party is formed the only way I can see this bet winning is if we get a results across the country reminiscent of Inverness, Nairn, and Lochaber in 1992.


PB Video Analysis: Will Donald Trump be Re-Elected in 2020?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

So, after many economics and finance related posts, I thought why not do a politics one?

It’s a simple question: will President Trump be re-elected in 2020? But while the answer will – Schrodinger’s cat-like – resolve itself when the box is opened in two years time, for now the answer is unknowable.

Which is the stronger force: an improving economy or the drip, drip of scandals? What matters more: who the Democrats choose or whether inflation returns?

And I suppose, as it’s obligatory, I’ll end the video with a prediction. Although – as Marvin said – I don’t suppose you’ll like it.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’


My 270/1 shot for the White House indicates that he might run

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

Watch out for John Hickenlooper – Governor of Colorado

Back in early April I reported that I’d backed Governor John Hickenlooper for the presidency at odds of 270/1 on Betfair.

One of the things about super long-shots is that you generally don’t know when you place your bet whether your man/woman will actually make a bid. So today’s strong indication that he is considering putting his hat into the ring is a big step forward.

I’d first noticed Hickenlooper a couple of years ago when he was being tipped as Hillary Clinton’s running mate and I liked what I saw. He appears to be everything that the Trump isn’t lucid, self-deprecating, intelligent and someone who comes over well. He’s also appears to have a strong sense of public service and has a good record in Colorado and Denver where he used to be mayor.

At this stage he’ll be assessing whether a bid is feasible – will he get the backing of key figures in the party and donors? My guess is that the most important thing the party will be looking for is someone who appears as though he/she could be competitive against Trump.

Today’s comments are exactly what you would expect from a potential runner at this stage. Even though WH2020 is more than two year away the battle will start in only about nine months.

Mike Smithson


The polling that should give great succour to Trump

Monday, June 11th, 2018

The above chart I found really interesting. Trump is retaining his support that is unmatched bar by George W Bush, by the hopefully unique set of circumstances that was 9/11.

Despite the general hostility directed towards Trump this is quite an achievement by Trump. His supporters are very loyal and shifting him from the White House in 2020 will be difficult, as it usually is with incumbent Presidents.

Of those eight Presidents who first became President after being elected in their own right and retained 74% and over of their support after 500 days only two didn’t win re-election. George Bush Senior, lost his re-election campaign and JFK, tragically, didn’t live long enough to fight a re-election campaign.