Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category


On the eve of the critical Mississippi senate election Trump’s approval ratings plummet

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Meanwhile the Mueller investigation gets closer

Tomorrow sees the final chapter in this year’s midterms with the runoff for the Senatorial place in Mississippi. Today the president is attending two mass rallies in different parts of the state in the hope of shoring up his core vote ahead of the election.

This is one that Republicans should really hold. It is in a solid “red state” and the expectation is that the party will be able to see off a hugely determined campaign by the Democrats. The current split in the Senate is 52 to 47 and if the pundits are right tomorrow should see that increase to 53 seats.

In the meantime a big shadow is hanging over the White House as the investigation into possible links between his WH2016 campaign and Russia. More indictments are expected by the day and this is getting very close to the incumbent and or members of his family.

He has reacted with anger and aggression taking on a Bush Supreme Court appointee who is now the Chief Justice.

All this might have driven the big drop in his approval ratings from Gallup. As the chart shows he’s now at just 38% approval with 60% disapproval number. Although his base remains loyal Trump needs much more than that.

Mike Smithson


I just wonder if Trump could decide to call it a day and quit

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Just be thankful you don’t work in the West Wing

Away from Brexit for a moment and things do not appear to be happy in the White House. This from the excellent Political Wire

For weeks this fall, an ebullient President Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6. With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment.”

“Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials.”

There’s a similar picture in the latest Vanity Fair by Gabriel Sherman under the heading “INSANITY,” “FURIOUS,” “ON HIS OWN”: TRUMP’S POST-MIDTERMS BLUES ARE VEXING HIS STAFF AND ROILING THE WHITE HOUSE.

“Last Tuesday, he was in high spirits as he watched election returns come in with about a hundred friends at the White House. Trump told people that his barnstorming rally schedule had mobilized his base and held Republican losses to historical lows, while increasing Republican gains in the Senate. “He really thought he won the midterms,” a prominent Republican who spoke with Trump said..

..But by Wednesday, after hours of commentary about the suburbs’ distaste for him and with seat after undecided House seat slipping toward the Democrats, his mood slid, too, hitting bottom in a bizarre and combative press conference. “He was furious about the narrative. He said, ‘Look, I went to all these states and now people are saying Trump lost the election,’”

Meanwhile the outstanding counts continue and the Democrats increase their stranglehold on the incoming House of Representatives. A total of maybe 40 net gains is being talked about and in the new year Trump’s administration could face a whole range of investigations with subpoena powers.

The last thing that Trump and his family want is to be probed and I just wonder whether he might call it a day. I’ve had a little flutter on Betfair at 55/1 that Trump will be out this year.

Mike Smithson


Trump slips in the WH2020 betting after his party’s midterms performance

Monday, November 12th, 2018

It is now the nearly week since the US midterm elections and still we have to wait for a final outcome. There are two big state results to be completed both of which are on a knife edge.

There is a strong argument for saying that the midterm performances 2 years before a presidential election are not a good pointer to the outcome. There are certainly a number of precedents to support that position.

    What makes the 2018 elections different is the exceptionally high turnout getting closer to what would you’d expect from a presidential election. About 114m votes were cast this year, which is much closer to the WH2016 total of 137m than the 2014 midterm total of 82m

Thus on the figures we have at the moment it looks as though the overall turnout last Tuesday will be about 48.5%. This compares with the turnout of 35% at the 2014 midterm elections.

The reason of course is the presence of Mr Trump as president and the fact that he is an extraordinary polarising figure. The surveys showed that about two-thirds of voters last week said Trump played a big part in there choice both for the Republicans and against the party.

A real worry for the Republicans now is that the Democrats had significant victories in Wisconsin Michigan and Pennsylvania three big states that if 2018 can be replicated at WH2020 would see Trump lose.

As the chart shows the President has edged down in the betting but he’s still a 35% chance to win WH2020.

Mike Smithson


After Tuesday Trump surely has less than a 69% chance of being the Republican WH2020 nominee

Saturday, November 10th, 2018

The value bet is that he won’t

A number of US commentators are taking the view that the order in which results came in on Tuesday evening is giving a distorted picture of what happened. The early news about the races in Ohio and Florida dominated the initial thinking and overshadowed what is now clear was in fact a big success for the Democrats. The party looks set to make more House gains than at any Midterms since Watergate.

The latest house seat calculations put the party on 230+ and there are good prospects that that will be exceeded. There’s also a strong chance that the Arizona senate election might produce a victory for the Democrats and now Florida is in doubt.

    That Trump’s administration is going to be much more accountable to Congress is going make things much less comfortable 2 years for the incumbent and his style of government.

He made the election a referendum on himself and the voters gave their verdict which was not good however he tries to spin it. The big question now is how the Republican party establishment see him and whether the view takes hold that having him at the top of the ticket in 2020 might produce more negative results for the party than having a different candidate.

On top of that we do not know how Trump is going to cope with the extra detailed scrutiny and whether he might just feel the time is right to call it a day and not to put himself forward again. We must never forget that Trump is quite old, 72, and does not give the impression of having a lifestyle that ensures longevity. Health could well be a major problem.

With long-term positions on the Betfair Exchange I like to go with ones where there could be a fair degree of movement. One of those, I would suggest, is on the Republican nomination for 2020.

My best price secured yesterday afternoon, layng Trump at 1.38, suggests that Trump has a 72% chance of being nominated which I believe is far too high which is why I’m reinvesting part of my midterm winnings by laying Trump on the nomination market. The Betfair price has now edged to 1.45 – a 68% chance.

Bets, as I always say, are not predictions but assessments of value. My guess is that this price will bob up and down quite a lot in the next 2 years and there will be plenty of time to cash out at a reasonable profit if that seems the best option.

Mike Smithson


PB Video Analysis: Who Won The Midterms? Does It Matter?

Friday, November 9th, 2018

There’s this parody of Guardian readers children’s parties, where pass the parcel involves presents with every layer, and nobody is ever eliminated from musical chairs. This “all must have prizes” mentality seems to have reached US politics, as it appears that everyone won the midterms: the Democrats, the Republicans, Nancy Pelosi and President Trump.

Who really won, and – ummm – does it matter? I’m diving into the numbers and letting you know who should be pleased.

Robert Smithson

Robert tweets as ‘@MarketWarbles’


Mid Terms 2018 : Hour by hour, state by state, your timetable for tonight

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

The Mid Term Elections of 2018 are shaping up to be one of the most important elections in recent times, perhaps up there with the 1994 Republican “Contract with America” or the 2010 “schallacking” that the Republicans gave the Democrats. Whatever happens, all the twists and turns will be poured over for years to come, so instead of looking at the issues, I will be focusing on which congressional districts are likely to flip (GAIN) and what impact that will have on the House.

The first thing to note is that, with all Houses, there have been a number of by-elections. In the 2016 – 2018 Congress there have been 10 by-elections so far, five caused by appointments to President Trump’s cabinet, two caused by ethics investigations and three by normal resignations. However, unlike at Westminster, when by-elections, once the general election is called, there are four by-elections being held on general election day, two caused by a resignation, one by the honourable member dying, and another one caused by an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, but the list of new comers doesn’t end there.

On the Republican side a staggering number of members have chosen these elections to stand down with names such as Rep. Issa (CA 49), Rep. Gowdy (SC 4) and biggest of them all Rep. Ryan (WI 1) the Speaker of the House. There are of course Democrats standing down with perhaps Rep. Delaney (MD 6) reminding us of what is coming next by announcing that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for President the day after the Mid Terms.

In all, 58 congressmen are standing down at this election. This means that when the polls open on Election Day a total of 235 Republicans will be seeking re-election and 193 Democrats will be seeking re-election. This means that if the Democrats score twenty five net gains (or more) they take the House and make President’s Trump’s second half of his first term a political and literal nightmare.

Now, twenty five gains doesn’t sound very much at all, however there is an unwritten rule about US elections, it is very tricky to get rid of an incumbent. Indeed, on average only nine districts change hand at a congressional election, but as shown in 1994 and 2010 when circumstances allow, the House can and does change, so, how could this happen? Well, it would take a 7% swing to the Democrats since the 2016 congressional election for that to happen and here’s an hour by hour guide through the night to give an indication of which seats could change hands and when.

0000 GMT Polls close in GA, SC, VT, VA, IN, KY

Virginia’s 10th district (GOP majority of 5.8%) is what is known as a “topsy-turvy” district. Although it elected a Republican congressman in the 2016 elections, it voted for Clinton on the presidential ticket and therefore as it only needs less than a 3% swing to the Dems to flip, this has to be in the bag, therefore if at midnight the Democrats haven’t made at least one net gain on the projections, then something has gone disastrously wrong with the Democrats campaign and if that is the case then watch out for the President gloating like mad

0030 GMT Polls close in NC, OH, WV

With the polls closing in another three states, a new battleground district sees it’s polls closing North Carolina’s 13th district (GOP majority of 12.2%) and this will be a real test for the GOP as this time this Republican seat voted for Trump in the presidential election. A 6.1% swing is a big ask for the Democrats, but if they take this (and others in the same range later in the evening) then the House is within grasp.

0100 GMT Polls close in CT, DE, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, PA, RI, TN, AL, FL, IL, MS, MO, OK

With the polls closing in 17 states, this is when the direction of votes will start to become clear, by now a total of twelve battleground seats will have seen their polls close with Florida’s 26th district (GOP majority of 11.8%) being of particular interest, as it’s another GOP / Clinton district. A gain here on a swing of 5.9% would certainly put the wind under the Republicans and give notice that their hold on the White House may not be as long as they had hoped, but we all remember in 2016 when Florida started out as a Clinton win, slowly drifted into too close to call and ended up as a Trump win.

0130 GMT Polls close in AR

Although Arkansas doesn’t hold much interest, by now the shape of the House should be becoming clear indeed, most experts agree that if the Democrats haven’t made at least 12 gains by now, they have no chance of winning the House

0200 GMT Polls close in NY, LA, MI, MN, NE, WI, AZ, CO, KS, NM, SD, TX, WY

With the polls closing in another 13 states, the big battlegrounds of Texas and Arizona come into play and we start to see whether the Democrats dream of winning the Senate comes true, after all the former Democratic congressman for Texas’s 16th district is hoping to unseat Sen. Cruz and if he does, then Texas 23 and Texas 7 must surely follow. Similarly if Arizona’s Senate seat (the most marginal out of all the GOP defences) also flips then Arizona’s 2nd district (the winning line for the Democrats) must also flip and if it does, that is it. Nancy Pelosi will come onto the airwaves and declare herself Speaker Elect of the House, the Democratic Party will jump for joy and all eyes will be on President Trump who could face within weeks of the Democratic House gathering a vote of impeachment on a simple majority.

0300 GMT Polls close in IA, MT, UT, NV

With these states polls closing, the Democrats will on the cusp of gaining the House in actuality as 24 of their 25 targets will have their polls closed including Utah’s 4th district (GOP majority of 12.5%) and, if my records are correct, a Democrat gain here would be the first Utah Democrat ever elected since Utah was given four congressional districts and leave the GOP with absolute egg on their faces.

0400 GMT Polls close in ND, CA, ID, OR, WA, HI

Given how marginal it is California’s 49th district (GOP majority of 0.5% ad Clinton district), the winning line for the Democrats will be crossed in style and then attention will turn to what happens when the Dem House gathers in the New Year and given how the President loves to tweet in the early morning, a tweet saying that “Nothing has changed” is bound to appear before too long

0600 GMT Polls close in AK

And with that the Mid Terms come to an end, with the Democrats liable to be in need of scraping off the ceiling, the experts will discuss what the election means and no doubt come to the conclusion, dependent on the results, that America has spoken and that it is down to both parties to respect that voice

Colours to the mast time – my forecast

House Forecast: Dem +16 (GOP majority of 11)
Senate Forecast: Dem +1 (GOP majority on VP’s casting vote)

Harry Hayfield


Never mind the House, watch the governors’ races for 2020

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018

At the margins, who controls America’s imperfect democracy could be decisive

Notoriously, Hillary Clinton never paid a campaign visit to Wisconsin in the five months between securing the Democratic nomination on 7 June 2016 and polling day, before losing the Badger State by less than 23,000 votes out of nearly three million cast. There is an element of mythology about Clinton’s Rust Belt absence. In truth, Trump didn’t spend any days there in the final month before polling day either – though he did devote five days campaigning earlier on – and he gave only slightly more in-person attention to Pennsylvania and Michigan too.

Those three states were worth 46 Electoral College votes – more than enough to tip the election – and had two important things in common: they all voted for Trump by margins of less than 1%, and they all had (and still have) a Republican-controlled state legislature. All bar Pennsylvania also have Republican governors. Add Florida to that list, which Trump won by 1.2% and where the GOP is similarly entrenched at state level, and Trump’s path to the White House is flanked not just by judicious electoral targeting but also by friendly state apparatus.

“Party-friendly state apparatus” is not a concept all that familiar to those in the UK, where elections are run according to the same rules the country over and where officials are required and expected to execute the administration of elections impartially and to a high standard. By contrast, arguments over, for example, voter suppression in Georgia, where 670,000 voter registrations were cancelled last year and where the Secretary of State – responsible for running the election – is the Republican candidate, are more routine. Within constitutional limits, states can apply their own rules as to who can vote, and how, and where and when.

As far as the 2020 presidential race goes, this is a particularly crucial round of elections. Almost three-quarters of the states elect their governors afresh next week, including all four Trump-won knife-edge states mentioned earlier, plus also New Hampshire, Minnesota, Nevada and Maine (all won by Hillary by less than 3%), and Arizona and Georgia (the other states Trump won by 5% or less). Only North Carolina (Trump, 3.7%), of these swing states doesn’t elect its governor this time.

After the 2016 experience, we should be more than a little sceptical of state-level polling and insofar as the 2020 election goes, we don’t need it: we’ll have the real results soon enough. But not yet. For now, polling is all we have. This is a summary of the average lead in the most recent polls in the gubernatorial battles in the ten states mentioned above (from RCP):

Wisconsin – Dem +1
Florida – Dem +1
Pennsylvania – Dem +21
Michigan – Dem +9
New Hampshire – Rep +9
Minnesota – Dem +7
Nevada – Rep +1
Maine – Dem +8
Arizona – Rep +13
Georgia – level

In some ways, were the Republicans to lose the House that would provide Trump with a very handy excuse for everything from not building the Wall to the deficit to Iran (the Democrats are 1/2 to win, which I think is a touch too short). He operates off hate and to do so, he needs a target. A Democrat House would provide him with one.

But against that has to be offset the risk of his party losing control of the executive machinery of some, perhaps most, of the crucial states for the 2020 presidential battle: defeats which could prove pivotal in two years’ time.

David Herdson

p.s. I’m grateful to @eddie2003PRT for drawing my attention to this issue and convincing me of the importance of these elections.


Seven days before the Midterms Trump sees a sharp drop in his approval ratings

Monday, October 29th, 2018

With just a week to go before Trump’s first major electoral test since becoming President the latest Gallup approval rating sees a biggish drop. The chart shows that polling over the past week his net ratings edging down 4% to minus 14. This reverses a recent trend of his ratings getting better.

In previous midterm the President approval ratings have been a broad indicator. Although Trump will not appear on any ballot next week his big message as he has toured the country is that these elections are about him.

What’s happened in the past few days is that Trump’s campaign has been thrown a off track by first the pipe bombs that were sent to major figures including two former Presidents. Then there was the slaughter of Jewish people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Trump’s irritation at not being able to campaign in the manner he would like has been reflected in a range of Tweets.

He had been developing as an issue the so called “caravan” of potential immigrants who are moving through Mexico with the apparent intention of going to the US.

We need, of course, more polling but if other pollsters are showing a similar direction then that could add to the Republican party challenge in the elections. If punters are right the Democrats will take the House of Representatives while the Republicans will hold onto the Senate.

Mike Smithson