Archive for the 'America' Category


The events sparked off by theGeorge Floyd murder have had a big impact the the Dems VP nominee betting

Sunday, June 14th, 2020


Weighing up the Biden VP pick betting

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

A guest slot by Mr Ed

There has been article overnight that appears to be well-informed with those close to the matter that Biden’s choice for VP candidate has narrowed down to six candidates. Elizabeth Warren, Susan Rice and Kamala Harris are specifically mentioned, while the comments suggest that the other three advisors have looked closely at Val Demings, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Michelle Lujan Grisham, the Governor of New Mexico. 

I think in these situations, one useful route to take is process by elimination to try to reduce the possibilities. First, I don’t think Warren will be acceptable to the ticket post-George Floyd’s death and the fallout. I suspect her name is on the list to show that Biden has not ruled out a white woman as VP but, if he was to pick Warren, I would expect the radicals in the Democrats to accuse Biden of “whitewashing” by not picking a non-white candidate. I think it is more likely he would offer Warren the post of Treasury Secretary. 

The consensus is a Black woman will be picked, however there are issues for Biden here too. First, Black women are the most loyal block for the Democrats so there is no real upside there electorally apart from the hope of increased turnout by the Black community as a whole. That is possible but there is a good chance turnout may be up anyway because of what has happened acting as a catalyst. There are also issues with each of the candidates. Mrs Ed (a Black female Republican from California – how is that for a minority?) said last year Kamala Harris would never be the nominee because of her record as Attorney General in California, and I think that record will stop her being the VP candidate given the Democratic base’s anger over law enforcement. It is also too much of a risk given Biden knows Trump will bring up Biden’s role in the 1994 crime bill to claim he is no friend of the Black community – not to convince Black people to vote for Trump but to depress Democrat turnout. That latter point plays against Demings, an ex-law chief of Orlando, which has had issues of its own. Lance Bottoms may be a better bet but she may be question marks as to whether she could step up to become President if Biden needs to step aside (which will be one of the chief considerations on voters’ minds when they look at his choice for VP).   

If I had to choose a Black woman as Biden’s VP choice, then Susan Rice would be an ideal candidate for the nomination in many ways and I have put a covering bet on her at 10/1 at Ladbrokes. She is experienced, smart and comes across well. However, the Republicans in the Senate have upped the ante dramatically by issuing subpoenas relating to the prosecution of Michael Flynn and the appointment of Robert Mueller, and it is very likely that they will look to escalate their claims that the outgoing Obama’s administration’s attempted to hobble Trump from the start.

Susan Rice’s memo on the subject is seen as a smoking gun by many Republicans (which it isn’t but…). So I think Biden will see it as too much of a risk to his campaign. 

That leaves one candidate, Lujan Grisham, who I have recommended as a good bet for being Biden’s VP choice. There are clear advantages here for Biden in choosing her. First, unlike with Black voters, there have been signs of shift amongst Latino voters from the Democrats to Trump. According to one article based on an average of the latest polls, Trump has increased his standing by 10 points (23 to 33) compared with the final polls of the 2016 campaign, with Biden slightly down vs Clinton (61 to 58). I think Biden is aware of this issue, which is why in his recent interview (the one with the mask hanging off his face), his prominently talked about Trump’s comments in 2016 about Mexicans. Secondly, if Biden is serious that Texas is in play, then having Lujan as VP boosts his chances there and in Arizona, plus should lessen the risk in states such as Nevada and Colorado (where I think there is more of a risk to Democrats than assumed). Thirdly, having Lujan has the nominee (and with a serious chance of becoming the first Latina President) is also a powerful calling card. Finally, it also allows Biden to say he has chosen a woman of colour, which is important in these times.

You can get Lujan at 25/1 on Ladbrokes (it was 50/1 yesterday). I think that still represents value.

Mr Ed


Tonight’s WH2020 betting: Next President and the Dems VP Nomination

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Biden and Harris looking strong amongst punters


The case for betting on a Trump victory in November

Sunday, June 7th, 2020

A guest slot from Mr. Ed on Why he thinks the President will be re-elected

If you don’t want Trump to win in November (which I think is most people on this site), then there is plenty of data out there to give you hope. The RCP national polling average has Biden’s lead over Trump at +7.1%. In key swing states, the RCP average also shows Biden leading in all 5 (FL, PA, WI, NC, AZ) and polls have suggested Biden is now competitive in states such as Ohio and Texas. Trump’s approval ratings continue to fall, with the RCP average showing a net disapproval of c. 11%. 

However, I think these hopes are overdone. I have skin in the game as I have a £5 bet with Kinablu that Trump will win. More than that, I think the data and evidence is pointing to his re-election. 

First, two points. First, all the polls will have been conducted before Friday’s (positive) shock job numbers (caveat: I am writing this on a Saturday afternoon before any new polls are out). The beat versus expectations was simply staggering. To repeat: consensus had expected a 19.5 % unemployment rate vs the actual 13.3% expected, and 2.5m jobs were added vs a 20.7m fall in May. It was truly a surprise of the first order. Back to this later.

Second, the question of whether the polls can be trusted. For many reasons, I think they cannot and there are wide variances. To use one example, if the RCP national average of a 7 point lead for Biden is correct, then Trump should not be having a 4 point lead in Pennsylvania, which the latest poll says he does. The two latest polls out of Michigan have Biden’s lead at +2 or +12 depending on the poll also shows the variance. 

However, this is not a post about polling. I would argue, at this stage, there are four reasons why a Trump victory is more likely.

First, evidence from actual results suggests Republican enthusiasm is extremely high. Democrats might have “reduced” Trump’s 20 point margin in 2016 in the Wisconsin 7th special election to 14 points but there was no sign of an anti-Trump surge. But the special election result in CA-25 shouldn’t have happened if Trump is in trouble. The Republicans won a district by nearly 10 points that Clinton won in 2016 and against a candidate whose state district covered a majority of the area. And note the Republicans flipping the solid Democratic council of Staunton in Virginia. Yes, a City council but step back and think about this: the turnout surged to a level seen more for Governor elections (votes cast more than doubled). In Pennsylvania, the New York Post reported 861,000 Republicans cast votes for Trump in this week’s primaries vs. 734,000 Democrats. That is despite Democrats have an 800,000 advantage in registrations (in PA, you can only vote in your registered party’s vote) and Donald Trump a shoo-in for the nomination. What these actual results suggest is that the Republicans are fired up to vote, which will be crucial for November. 

Second, jobs. It is no wonder Trump was, ahem, trumpeting Friday’s job numbers but the surprise was stunning and it boosts his argument America can bounce back quickly. More importantly, it boosts the Republican argument that lockdowns need to be reversed as quickly as possible. It was a serious mistake for the Democrats to allow themselves to be portrayed as the party of lockdown. As each day goes by, and there is no surge in cases, Florida’s and Georgia’s Republican Governors look right and Democrat Governors like Gretchen Whitmer wrong. And recent endorsements of demonstrations by these same Democrat Governors have shot to pieces arguments against opening too soon (and will lead to a muddying of who is to blame if there is a surge in cases). Claiming “systemic racism” is more of a public health threat than CV-19 and justifies the demonstrations might sound good on Twitter but it is unlikely to cut it with a significant body of voters, who might rightly say the economic problems have caused significantly more deaths.

Thirdly, several Democrat wins in 2016 look vulnerable in November. Minnesota and New Hampshire are two obvious ones (I think the Republicans will flip the former at least this November – the Minneapolis riots are likely to play badly in the suburbs and Biden has said he will rip up the Keystone XL pipeline which will go down badly in a resource-dependent state). I would highlight three more; (1) Nevada. Clinton won it by 2.5% in 2016, smaller than the combined Libertarian / none of the above vote of just under 6%. There is an argument that Trump should win a chunk of that 6% this time round; Biden also didn’t do well amongst Hispanics in the primaries; and Nevada relies on tourism, which needs the easing of restrictions, which helps the Republicans. (2) Virginia, which I think could be the shock of the night. Clinton won it by over 5% in 2016. This is not much more than the 4.3% combined vote of the Libertarians and Evan McMullin, a lot of which again could go to Trump. And what is happening in Virginian politics – with conservative voters riled up over gun and abortion rights – should fire up Republican turnout as demonstrated by the Staunton result; (3) Colorado. Clinton won it by less than 5% and less than the Libertarian vote of 5.2%. Again, a chunk of that vote could go to Trump. Last week’s unanimous censure of the Democrat’s Senate candidate, John Hicklenhooper, by the state’s Independent Ethics Commission also did not help. I suspect Biden will repeat Clinton’s mistake in 2016 and think that several states are “safe” which, in fact, might be vulnerable. 

Finally, and perhaps the most pertinent point, increasingly elections are about underlying themes. Work out the theme, you can work out the result. In the US, 2016 was about many voters feeling left behind and deciding to roll the dice with Trump as they did – irony of ironies – with Obama in 2008 (who beat a far more experienced opponent). For 2020, I believe there will be three underlying themes (1) who will be best to get the economy back on track? (2) who will deal best with China? And (3) who will sort out the problems as seen with the recent riots? I would argue that Trump has a distinct advantage over Biden on (1) and (2), especially given the jobs data for (1) and all that he can point to with Hunter Biden and Biden’s own comments on (2). The third theme really has two parts – a law and order part, with voters scared about criminality, which is likely to play well for Trump; and a police reform issue, which may help Biden for Black turnout but where Trump has not made given his opponent so much in the way to persuade independents that Trump is viscerally anti-reform. SO, on the themes, Trump has a clear advantage. 

These are not the only problems for the Democrats. Biden is a weak candidate, in that he doesn’t enthuse and the risks of a major gaffe (or several) are high. Because there is a concern over his health, mental and physical, there will be more focus on the VP candidate. A white female VP candidate is virtually impossible now but the Black ones have issues of their own (Harris and Demmings because of their previous roles in the justice system; Stacey Abrams is too inexperienced; and Keisha Lance Bottoms hasn’t been helped by the Atlanta rights). My own view is that Biden should go for a Hispanic female (I have recommended Michelle Lujan on here as an outside bet) which ticks both the “woman of colour” box and helps cement a voting bloc where there are signs of drift. But he may need to go with a Black candidate because of recent events.   

So, sorry (nearly) everyone. I think you have four more years of Trump to enjoy.

Mr. Ed


With the troubles continuing to sweep across the US Biden takes a clear lead in the WH2020 betting

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

These are very troubling times in the United States with the protests and demonstrations sparked off by the murder by police of a black man in Minneapolis taking place every evening in cities and towns right across the country.

This comes during a period when the Covid-19 pandemic control measures are still in place across the US and we are only a few months away from November’s presidential election when Donald Trump hopes to get reelected.

There’s a widespread view amongst many commentators and others that the President’s Tweets and explosive statements are not helping the situation. By contrast Joe Biden’s approach appears more measured and the polling suggests that he is getting the political benefit of the growing negative view of the incumbent. One poll at the weekend had Trump 10% behind Biden and inevitably this is reflected in the betting.

There is still a long way to go and we are two and half months off the party conventions when the Republicans and the Democrats formally nominate their candidates.

Remember that for Trump to win in November he has to carry more than just his base and has to be able to appeal to the growing centre ground of independent voters. It is this segment that is moving most against the incumbent

Mike Smithson


The betting chances of Minnesota Senator Klobuchar getting the VP nomination plummet following the riots sweeping the US

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

From a 25% chance to a 4% one in a few days

The huge story in the US at the moment are the riots in many leading cities which have been set off by the killing of George Floyd by a policeman. Floyd, an African-American, died in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, when a White Minneapolis police officer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. This was all videoed.

Minnesota is of course where Klobuchar is from and her actions while a legal office after a similar incident 15 years ago have been widely highlighted and don’t show her in a good light.

It is looking now as though Biden would find it difficult to choose a white person for the VP slot and one who is progressing in the betting. Kamala Harris is still a strong favourite. But there’s been a big move to Val Demings. She is is a retired law enforcement officer who has served as the US Representative for a Florida congressional district, since 2017. Previously she had been Chief of the Orlando Police Department, the first woman to hold the position. 

In the current context she seems well placed to get the nomination which is decided by the presumptive presidential nominee. 77 year old Joe Biden. She’s currently 6/1 which appears to offer value.

Mike Smithson


Joe Biden’s VP pick – we’ve now got a date

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

This could be by August 1st – two weeks before the convention

This is how the Hill is reporting statement’s from the campaign:

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he hopes to decide on a running mate by Aug. 1, about two weeks before the Democratic nominating convention in Milwaukee. Speaking at a digital fundraiser hosted by former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Biden said his campaign’s vice presidential committee has already interviewed the contenders on his shortlist.  “We’re in the process of deciding the basic cut — about whether or not they really want it,” Biden said. “Are they comfortable? They’ve asked a lot of questions.” 

The timing is quite a bit earlier than normal. Generally the presumptive nominee makes the announcement three or four days before the party convention.

My guess is that they want a VP choice in place earlier so there’s another campaigning voice focused on beating Trump and perhaps getting more attention and big speaking engagements than is normal. Part of this, I wonder, could be down to Biden’s apparently frail health – he is of course a 77 year old. In one of his few appearances during lockdown we had another of Biden’s famous gaffes which must be a concern for those running his effort.

You can envisage the campaign deciding to limit the possibility of more gaffes by having the VP nominee fronting the campaign a lot more.

There’s little doubt that the Trump campaign’s messaging will all be seeking to raise doubts about Biden’s health and mental capacity by using some of his widely publicised gaffes to underline the point.

Of the top three in the betting for VP nominee my money for now is on Warren who has had close political links with ‘Biden since WH2016 when there was an abortive plan for the two to share a ticket to stop Hillary. Although they are from separate parts of the party they clearly trust each other. Also Biden looks an old 77 while Warren a young 70 year old.

Mike Smithson


WH2020: Punters still not fully convinced that it’ll be Trump v Biden

Wednesday, May 20th, 2020

Either can be had at longer than evens

The chart shows the latest betting on who will be the next President in Betfair’s now £30m market. The amount that’s been gambled so far is by far a record this far out but the interesting thing is that the uncertainty that still remains over who is going to be heading the ticket for either side.

By contrast the other big market on WH2020 outcome on which will be the winning party has the Democrats and Republicans both trading at evens.

In time terms we are till a long way from the nominations being finally resolved and clearly a lot can happen in the meantime between now and the party conventions in August. One element, of course, is their ages. Trump is just about to celebrate his 74th birthday and Biden is 77 and clearly there is an actuarial risk of one or both of them not making it. On top of that there are all the uncertainties relating to each of them politically.

Probably Biden is seen as being most at risk with the accusation against him and the fact that at time he can appear to be very frail. Trump is Trump with all that entails and he’s now trying to tar the Biden campaign with what he’s calling Obamagate.

My view is that the market are overpricing the risk

Mike Smithson