Archive for the 'Donald Trump' Category

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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




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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’




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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



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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.





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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




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Many Democrats are viewing the November 6th Midterms in same way Remainers would view a second referendum

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

The Dems lead in generic poll but will that be enough?

In 2016 there were two elections which had global reverberations – Brexit and, of course, the election of Donald Trump. Both were close, both were seen as defeats for the liberal establishment and in both those on the losing side would dearly love to see the outcomes thwarted in some way.

In the US Midterm election a week on Tuesday those opposed to Trump would dearly like to “clip his wings” by overturning the Republican majorities in either or both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Just winning one would considerably impede Trump in his final two years. Having control of the House would also allow possible impeachment proceedings or similar actions.

The RCP Generic Congressional polling average in the chart above shows the Dems in what would appear to be a positive position. Only problem is that they need a big national margin to ensure they have most seats. Gerrymandering of the Congressional District boundaries in Republican controlled states legislatures gives the party an advantage.

    The other Democratic worry about relying on national generic polls is the memory of the WH2016 national Presidential polls which had Hillary with clear margins. It’s what happens in individual district and states that matters

In many states voters will be electing Governors and a whole range of statewide and local elections including to state legislatures. Picking up some of those might allow the Dems to do their own gerrymandering!

This is the first big test for Mr. Trump since winning WH2016 on a minority of the popular vote and the signs are that turnout will be at a much higher level than is normal on non-presidential election voting days.

Mike Smithson




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Trump’s massive midterms gamble has been to make it about himself. Now he needs to beat expectations

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Two weeks to go and Trump intensifies his campaigning

We are now into the final fortnight of the crucial US midterm elections and the question is whether the Republicans can hold on to both parts of Congress. Certainly the Senate looks pretty strong because of the races that are up this year but holding the House of Representatives is going to be a huge challenge.

Congressional generic polls have the Democrats with an average margin of 7.7% and individual local surveys suggest that the party is doing well and all is pointing to it regaining control of the House.

Trump, who has been throwing everything into the final phase of the battle, has made the election about yourself. Republican voters are told incessantly that a vote for a GOP candidate is a vote for Trump and there’s no doubt that his base is highly energised. But will that be enough? Trump energises Democrats as well but in he opposite direction.

A new WSJ/NBC NEWS poll finds nearly two thirds of registered voters with a high level of interest in the midterm election — the highest ever recorded which points to big turnouts.

    What Trump needs to do is to beat expectations. That would mean holding on to the House or restricting the Democrat margin to only a few seats.

    If the outcome is worse for the GOP than that then it will send out strong messages that Trump isn’t electoral winner many in the party believe he is.

For the President’s total control over the Republican party is based one simple fact that he seen as somebody who can give them power and hold on to it. The party establishment might be uneasy at aspects of Trumpism but you can’t argue with a sure-fire election winner.

But what happens if the midterms show that his appeal is nothing like as potent as before?

Mike Smithson




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Whoever the Dems choose to fight Trump at WH2020 will have to cope with the incumbent’s devastating nick name strategy

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

One of the things that the Elizabeth Warren DNA argument has highlighted is how successful Trump is at undermining anybody who is an opponent by the use of well thought out nicknames. These encapsulate the main negative and he uses the attack time and time again.

Just remember from the 2016 nomination and election when we had,”Little Marco” , “Low energy” Bush, “Lying Ted” , and, of course, “Crooked Hillary”. Those all in their own way contributed to Trump’s victory.

He seems to have a way when he does this of getting under an opponents skin in a manner that undermines the efforts to oppose him. Expect similar things in 2 years time during the next campaign.

His attacks on Senator Warren over her claims to have a Native American background a good illustration of how this approach can work. I’d argue that Warren, second favourite in the betting for the nomination, really has undermined her chances with her actions over the past week. You have to find another way of dealing with Trump.

Looking at the list of potential Democrat contenders the one I believe would be more impervious to this approach is John Hickenlooper the Governor of Colorado. He has a laid back self deprecating manner which I think Trump would have difficulty with.

There maybe other contender who are similarly equipped but you can’t out-Trump Trump.

Mike Smithson