Archive for the 'Betting' Category


The WH2016 betting moves markedly back to Clinton after convincing first debate performance

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016


On Betfair it is now Clinton 68% Trump 30%

Well over £3m was traded on Betfair as the market moves back to Hillary Clinton following a confident first debate performance against Donald Trump.

This is how Taegan Goddard of Political Wire summed up the night’s event:

“. Clinton was particularly effective when needling him on not releasing his tax returns, saying, “Why won’t he release his tax returns? Maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is.”

Trump couldn’t resist and in the resulting back-and-forth, he actually bragged about not paying his workers and not paying taxes. “It’s called business,” he repeatedly said.

On the substance of the debate, Clinton was the clear winner. She was controlled and methodical in making her case. Trump was constantly interrupting and spit out jumbled talking points that sounded like they came from some obscure corner of the Internet.

It wasn’t even close. Clinton crushed him…”

There are still two more Clinton Trump events as well as the VP debate and we must remember that in 2012 Romney hammered a lacklustre Obama in the first session but was beaten in the remaining two encounters. My guess is that Trump will learn from what’s happened and be better prepared next time.

The Clinton campaign will be clearly hoping that the narrative of the election will move back following a difficult period when everything seemed to be moving against her.

The next national and swing state voting polls are eagerly awaited.

Mike Smithson


Tonight’s the big one in WH2016 and the betting could be turned on its head

Monday, September 26th, 2016

In previous White House Races the first debate has been seen as a sort of official start to hostilities. This is said to be the point when voters start to get engaged. This time that is much less so because public interest in the fight to succeed Obama has been far higher than anything we’ve seen before.

The fight for the GOP nomination saw the biggest TV debate audiences ever and records are expected to be broken overnight.

The reason is, of course, the ultimate marmite contender, the real estate magnate turned TV star and now GOP nominee, Donald Trump. He’s a totally divisive figure who is up against an opponent who arouses equal hostility or backing. Never before have the two contenders had such negative personal poll ratings.

As the CNN report at the top shows it is going to be very hard for TV viewers to avoid the debate because it is being carried on so many networks and no doubt Tuesday will be dominated by reporting, analysis and reaction.

For WH2016 punters there’s a good chance that things could look markedly different tomorrow. There’ll be the initial polling reaction on who won and this will be followed by new national and state voting polls over the next few days.

In past elections it is not who is deemed to have came out of the debate best that mattered but how they looked and what their responses said about them. In 2008 when McCain faced Obama a big and damaging story was that the Republican had not even looked at his opponent for the entire debate.

I am long on Trump after betting on him on July 25th on Betfair when his price was not as tight as it is today. I can’t decide whether to take my profits now or risk things changing post debate.

For UK viewers both Sky and BBC news will be showing this live.

Mike Smithson


The betting market that reflects the mess Labour finds itself in

Sunday, September 25th, 2016


2031 onwards is the favourite for when Labour will next form a majority government.

Sometimes a betting market beautifully captures the political zeitgeist, and this market from William Hill eloquently expresses Labour’s current predicament with Jeremy Corbyn as leader, it’s not so much Labour are up a certain creek without a paddle, Labour are up that creek sans a canoe too.

If I were forced to choose, I’d go for the 2031 onwards option, but I’m loathe to place bets for time periods longer than five years, 15 years is way outside my comfort zone, so it’s no bet for me, but the anticipated damage to Labour of Corbyn’s leadership will last long after he ceases to be leader.

Even if Labour ditches Corbyn before the next general election and replaces him with someone more centrist and electorally appealing, the Tory attacks lines will adapt to say you cannot risk letting in a Labour government, as Labour are only a heartbeat away from a ‘hard left’ takeover. This is all before we consider the proposed boundary changes which are set to be sub-optimal for Labour.

Of course betting markets can be wrong, and Labour could form a minority government long before 2031. I’m sure if a similar market had existed in mid April 1992, I’m fairly certain Labour winning a majority in or before 1997 would have been very long odds.



Punters continue to make Clinton a 60%+ chance even though the polling remains very tight

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Just three days to go before the first WH2016 debate

This is, of course, all about the outcomes in the key swing states but the national surveys gives us a good overview of the election that takes place in just 46 days time.

The betting remains remarkably static and Hillary’s 9/11 incident seems to have worked its way out of the system.

Trump is dominant amongst white working class men while Clinton has the edge with women, non-white and those who went to college. The demographic splits have a BREXIT look about them.

Its a cliche to say it’ll all be about turnout which is what happened in the UK on June 23rd. The segments with a history of low participation voted in greater numbers than many forecast.

My betting remains on Trump because I think there is more potential for his price to tighten. Whether I stick with that I don’t know.

Mike Smithson


Who’ll win the LAB/LD/UKIP Witney battle for 2nd place in the parliament’s first CON Westminster by-election defence?

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

Ordnance Survey

Farron’s party is under most pressure to perform

Betfair have now got up a Witney market on which party will be the winner excluding the Tories who clearly are red hot favourites to hold onto the seat that Cameron held from GE2001 until a week last Monday.

Both the LAB and UKIP will have just gone through leadership elections and both UKIP’s Diana James and, presumably Corbyn will want a good result to stamp their authority on their parties which remain divided because of the leadership contests.

Farron’s LDs have been doing remarkably well in local by-elections but have performed poorly in this parliament’s Westminster by-elections. They are also way behind in the national polls. A clear second place could help change the narrative about their party which has largely been ignored since their drubbing at GE2015.

The LDs have chosen as their candidate the woman who came a credible second in the seat behind Cameron at GE2005. No doubt it will be that result that features on the bar charts!

LAB have chosen Labour Duncan Enright who came second 43% behind Cameron at GE2015. He’s also not a JCFanBoy.

UKIP have yet to choose. In relative terms they did poorly here at GE2015 though ahead of the LDs.

Organisationally the LDs have a lot of activists living quite close to the seat including some key personnel who played a big part in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election defence.

Mike Smithson


Is George Osborne the answer to Brexit?

Sunday, September 18th, 2016


I didn’t think this would be a post I’d ever write. Anyone who’s followed my posts over the last three years will know I’m not exactly George Osborne’s biggest fan. I felt he turned from being a huge asset to the Conservatives in the opposition years into a Chancellor who cynically viewed his voters and supporters as mere chesspieces – only worthy of narrow tactical calculations that might advance his career – and his fellow MPs as either his vassals or his enemies. Unfortunately for him, too many of his colleagues eventually picked up on it and his conduct during the EU referendum sealed his fate. So I think it was right that he left Government.

Nevertheless Osborne is clearly a very intelligent and clever man: he understands strategy and, when he was Chancellor, I always had a sense the Conservatives had a strategic plan, even if it wasn’t one I agreed with. So, in terms of raw ability alone, in the medium-long term it is hard to conclude that the Conservative frontbench team isn’t weaker without him.

I am now reassessing my previous views and wondering if he could undergo the greatest political rehabilitation since Richard Nixon.


Two things have caused me to change my mind since:

(1) Theresa May. She works hard and likes to personally reflect on difficult decisions for a long time, and to do so in comparative silence – as she did with her decisions on Brexit and Gary McKinnon whilst still as Home Secretary – but being PM is different. You can’t just convince yourself and then issue your orders, as you might within a major Government department. You have to be flexible and quick on your feet, and this is clearly not how she operates. Also, you just don’t have the time: you need someone else to help you stitch your approach to Government all together and do some of the detailed heavy thinking for you. And there’s a huge amount of that to do in the next 3 ½ years.

Theresa May is badly in need of a master strategist

(2) David Cameron. George Osborne was the loyalist of allies. But, whilst Cameron still remained in parliament, I think it was very difficult for him to do anything other than honour his whole legacy. Now David Cameron is leaving, and George Osborne has decided to stay, he has the luxury to reassess. That opens up opportunities for him. However, in order to stage a comeback, he would have to show he’s changed his tune: that he now fully respects all Conservative party members, voters and colleagues and that it’s not his career but the future success of his country that now matters most to him.

Crucially, George Osborne would have to be committed to making Brexit work

The challenge of successfully negotiating a good Brexit deal for the UK is going to be huge. The EU is increasingly firming up and hardening its negotiating position and we need someone who thinks several steps ahead, can anticipate outcomes, moves, and countermoves, and react very quickly. And that person has to be joining up all the dots and plugged straight into the Prime Minister. She’s the one who’ll be going into the negotiating chamber.

Personally, I would sleep much more soundly in my bed at night if I knew George Osborne (having atoned for his sins) was slaving away at it.

Is this fanciful?

In my view, no. If Lord Mandelson and David Davis can return from the political wilderness, then so can George Osborne. He is just too big a talent to remain on the backbenches forever. My view is that it’s a question of when, not if.

I’d be betting on him returning to Cabinet in 2017 if odds were available, possibly as Lord President of the Council and First Secretary of State. However, in the absence of this, I’ve sought value elsewhere.
I was attracted by the 200/1 on George Osborne being PM after the next election with SkyBet. This seems much better to me than the odds on him being next Conservative leader.

My logic for this is that if, for whatever reason, he does return to cabinet, and rehabilitates his reputation, then his odds will move in. If Theresa May does fail, for either political or health reasons, in the next few years then – if he is truly altruistic about it, and he’d have to be – then he might then be in a position to humbly take over, even before GE2020.

And I’d struggle to see a “new” George Osborne losing to Corbyn.

Over to you, George.

Casino Royale



Why part of my expected Diane James winnings will go on Justine Greening – 20/1 to be next cabinet minster out

Friday, September 16th, 2016


She looks very uncomfortable defending her boss’s flagship policy

A new YouGov poll this morning finds that there has been a less than overwhelming response to TMay’s main domestic policy – the return of grammar schools. 34% say they back the plan; 25% want all existing grammars closed and 20% thought things should stay as they are.

The minister with the task of defending this is EdSec, Justine Greening, who looked very uncomfortable in the Commons earlier in the week. She also has to contend with a vigorous effort by her predecessor, Nicky Morgan, to defend what was established government policy under Cameron.

The way the policy has emerged bit by bit has not been helpful and, as we saw at PMQs, TMay, has yet to evolve the convincing rhetoric to deal with the objections to this big change.

Justine Greening’s pull out from last night Question Time at the last minute spoke volumes. The minister responsible for steering this through is not in a position to answer detailed questions.

I wonder how much input she had in May’s announcement. My guess is not a lot and, if so, you can see her position getting more and more difficult. So far the new cabinet is not speaking with one voice and there’ve been a number of occasions when senior minister have been over-ruled. The only view that matters of course is that of the resident of Number 10.

Greening is strong minded as we saw when she was transport minister with Heathrow being part of her brief.

Ladbrokes and Betfair are the only bookies with a next cabinet exit market up. Greening at 20/1 looks a value bet and I’ve reinvested part of my projected Diane James winnings. The announcement of next UKIP leader is due at 1.30pm

Mike Smithson


With polls tightening & the betting moves to Trump tonight’s PB/Polling Matters TV Show/Podcast returns to WH2016

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Joining Keiran (on the programme is the Politco polling analyst, Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) and Federica Cocco (@federicacocco) statistical journalist at the Financial Times in the UK.

The Clinton health scare on the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and her team’s reaction to it have reinforced doubts about her and have inevitably given Trump a boost. This is, of course, being reflected in the betting where the latest on the Betfair Exchange has Trump on 34/35%. Clinton is hovering around the 60% level.

Keiran and Steven discuss the impact of Clinton’s healthcare issues on the race and Trump’s path to the presidency. Steven shares the latest US polling news and explains what the Electoral College would look like if each candidate won the states where they lead in the most recent poll. The result might surprise you. Steven also explains what is going on in Ohio and the potential impact of the coming presidential debates.

Keiran and Federica look at parallels between Brexit and Trump’s support and Federica gives a detailed analysis of Trump’s position among American female voters (including an interesting stat about which group is most likely to turnout at presidential elections). Keiran raises Clinton’s trust issues and whether Trump’s tone has changed. Finally, Keiran and Federica look at voter expectations about who will win the first presidential debate and why this might be a problem for Clinton. The show finishes on the debates and a great Blackadder quote from Federica.

The audio podcast is available here.

Mike Smithson