Archive for the 'WHITE HOUSE RACE' Category


Klobuchar sees big move to her in the WH2020 Dem VP betting

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

By far the most active political betting market at the moment is on who will be the Democratic nomination for VP – a job, given Biden’s age, could be a huge stepping stone to becoming President.

This was all triggered by this report from CBS News

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) “has been asked by Joe Biden to undergo a formal vetting to be considered as his vice presidential running mate, one of several potential contenders now being scrutinized by his aides ahead of a final decision,” If a potential contender consents, she should be poised to undergo a rigorous multi-week review of her public and private life and work by a hand-picked group of Biden confidantes, who will review tax returns, public speeches, voting records, past personal relationships and potentially scandalous details from her past.”

Quite clearly a nominee for the presidency does not want to risk his/her effort being compromised by scandals about the chosen running make to come into the open once the nomination has been made. That has happened in the past after Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro to be his running mate in 1984.

My view is that the reaction on the betting markets is over-done. A bigger story would be if Klobuchar, who sits for Minnesota in the US Senate and was one of the main runners for the WH2020 nomination, was not being vetted.

I’d expect other figures who are high up in the betting to also be asked because this is all part of the normal process.

So I don’t think that this report should be seen as that significant and I do not think Klobuchar is value at the current odds.

Mike Smithson


Jo Biden’s VP pick – why we shouldn’t rule out Elizabeth Warren

Monday, May 18th, 2020

In recent weeks the Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, has appeared to be falling back in the race to become the vice presidential nominee for the Democrats at the White House election in November. In the betting she’s now dropped to third favourite behind Harris and Klobuchar.

A big problem is that if she became VP she could no longer serve as a senator and for a few months the decision on who should represent state in her position would be down to her state governor governor who is a republican. This is regarded as a very big political negative because the Democrats are trying very hard to win both the presidency and the Senate. The chances of them holding onto the House of Representatives look pretty strong.

Today’s Boston globe has a very interesting piece about the long-standing political relationship between Biden and Warren and argues that there is a a deep link there which might just be what Biden wants. Interestingly the article notes that in 2015, there was talk of Biden running against Hillary for the nomination, with possibly Warren on the ticket. It’s noted that the two have remained in close contact since then and have many conversations and private political discussions. It goes on:

Warren and Biden did not seem like natural allies then, and in some ways, they still don’t, after two decades of shared history have left them frequently at odds. But as Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, ramps up his search for a running mate — a job Warren says she would accept, and one she is widely expected to be shortlisted for — their complex relationship will be back in the spotlight. Biden and Warren have perhaps the longest history of any of his potential vice presidential picks, and their willingness to knit their constituencies and political styles together will have implications for a party at a crossroads whether or not he picks her.

It might just be that Biden would prefer the closeness of someone he trusts and has a relationship with rather than choosing someone with much less of a history with him. Being comfortable with someone right from the start might matter more to him than the Senate place issue.

An issue of course is that Elizabeth Warren is 70 , seven years than Biden and it is thought that the party would like to see somebody younger on the ticket to balance it.

Mike Smithson


Joe Biden’s VP pick – the case for Amy Klobuchar

Friday, May 15th, 2020
Amy Klobuchar launching her abortive bid for the presidency in a blizard. Pic Lorie Shaull –

On Saturday we launched a series of posts on the various possibilities for Joe Biden as he ponders on who to choose for the VP slot on the ticket for WH2020. The second favourite in the betting is the Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar, who pulled out of her White House bid to back Biden just before Super Tuesday.

On Betfair Klobuchar is rated as a 22% chance and is in the second favourite slot for the VP nomination. There’s been a movement to her following an announcement by the Biden campaign that he and her were going to do a virtual fundraising event together with it being made clear that she is being considered seriously.

There are a number of elements that make her a good VP pick. She is 60 later in the month and that would help enormously and present a younger image to the campaign then 77 year old Biden who at times can be quite frail. Secondly she is very experienced and has been a member of the US senate for 13 years and is now in her third term. She can point to point of record of achievement during her time there and her success in elections with significant victories in each of her senate races in Minnesota – state which is marginal and could be a target for Trump in November

She did well at the start of the primary campaign coming in third in Iowa and and if it had not been for Pete Buttigieg she would certainly have done a lot better. They were both competing for the same centrist vote and both undermined each other.

She’s probably got broader appeal and certainly has more experience than Kamala Harris who is the current favourite for the vice presidential nomination.

The big thing against her is she has a record of being a terrible boss with lots of reported ructions over the years in her office. She puts this down to her high standards but there are enough people around who have been bruised by her that will keep this factor alive in any campaign. If it wasn’t for this I would make her favourite.

Mike Smithson


From a betting perspective the dangers of “fighting the last war”

Monday, May 11th, 2020

On Boxing Day last year, a fortnight after the Tories won an 80 seat majority, a delighted family friend declared over lunch “I couldn’t believe the result. Politics has been so unpredictable, and no-one thought Boris would win big!

He was wrong, but not completely. Despite double-digit poll leads the media had speculated about hung parliaments a hell of a lot and the betting markets had the Tories as surprisingly modest favourites. Longer than 1/2 on a majority of any size was available on election day itself. The real question is: Why didn’t everyone think Boris would win big?

I suspect this: The memory of 2017 loomed too large. Two years prior Theresa May had lost a huge poll lead over a matter of weeks, and an apparently certain landslide had turned into a hung parliament. Even though that was an exceptional campaign, the media and the punters and my family friend couldn’t remember all the elections where big leads had led to big wins. 

Everything was filtered through the most recent experience, leading many to deny the obvious favourite even though the evidence was right in front of them. The same mistake is being made now in America.

Joe Biden has a national poll lead of several percent over Donald Trump. His lead in swing states is even better judging by recent polling. Trump’s ratings on handling the coronavirus pandemic are moderate at best. Yet polls show most people think Trump will be re-elected, and the betting markets show him as mild favourite. Why? Because Hillary Clinton had these leads and lost.

I would suggest we are blinding ourselves the same way many did in the UK last year. 2016 was an unusual election in the US. Trump won narrowly and was frankly lucky to barely win several key states. Hillary Clinton suffered from some unusual difficulties, not least a whiff of sexism against her and the timing of the Comey letter. There were unusually prominent third party candidates.

In short: 2016 was the exception, not the rule. We should treat it accordingly. Much has been made on Twitter of how Clinton had similar or larger leads in April/May 2016 than Biden has now. But most candidates with her leads go on to win.

Furthermore, Biden’s position is arguably stronger than Clinton’s was at this stage. The race appears far less volatile. Whereas Clinton’s lead over Trump shrank to near zero repeatedly over 2016 Biden’s lead has been much more steady. His favourables are better than hers at the same stage, and views on Trump are much more entrenched now. In 2016 Trump won voters who disliked both candidates by a 17% margin, but they now give Biden a 32% lead.

The race isn’t over. Trump is a strong campaigner, and his supporters are loyal. But he didn’t win in 2016 with only his base. Biden should be considered a solid favourite, not a mild underdog. 2016 is the latest precedent, but we shouldn’t treat it like the only one.

Pip Moss

Pip Moss posts on Political Betting as Quincel. You can follow him on Twitter at @PipsFunFacts


If you stayed up for the Iowa poll it isn’t going to be released

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

This is from the statement from the paper.

The Des Moines Register, CNN and Selzer & Co. have made the decision to not release the final installment of the CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll as planned this evening. Nothing is more important to the Register and its polling partners than the integrity of the Iowa Poll. Today, a respondent raised an issue with the way the survey was administered, which could have compromised the results of the poll. It appears a candidate’s name was omitted in at least one interview in which the respondent was asked to name their preferred candidate. While this appears to be isolated to one surveyor, we cannot confirm that with certainty. Therefore, the partners made the difficult decision to not to move forward with releasing the Iowa Poll.

So I’m going to bed.

Mike Smithson


Buttigieg’s powerful new argument two weeks before Iowa : When the Dems choose an old insider they lose

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

Their White House winners in recent times have been with young outsiders

I’ve just had an email from an old acquaintance who has recently visited Iowa where he attended a packed Pete Buttigieg meeting, asked questions of the young contender and got himself a selfie. This is from his email.

He said one thing that interested me: The Dems always do better when they have someone who is new to the National Stage – Obama, Clinton, even Carter, for example, were not from Washington. JFK was “next gen”. Whereas they never do well with older or more experienced Washington candidates. The Dems surely did well to choose JFK over Stevenson, who wanted to run for the third time, for example.  Hilary Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Mondale, Humphrey – all lost. Of course, having a non-Washington candidate doesn’t guarantee success (Dukakis, McGovern). But the claim that (older) insiders never win for the Dems is interesting. If he can get traction with that, then maybe people will wonder whether Biden is another Humphrey. 

Another thing that could hinder Sanders and Warren is that they are both Senators who in the two weeks between now and the Iowa caucuses will find it difficult to leave Washington because they’ll be tied up with the impeachment process.

Buttigieg has bet the farm on Iowa and there’s a good chance he’ll succeed.

Mike Smithson


The November WH2020 Democratic debate and another reminder that they do these things better in the country where Boris was born

Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Biden makes another gaffe so situation normal

Overnight we have had the latest Democratic party debate as part of the prolonged process to determine who should fight against Donald Trump in the presidential election next November.

The event took place after a weekend that had seen new polling in Iowa and New Hampshire showing the 37 year old former Rhodes Scholar, Pete Buttiegieg, moving to clear leads in Iowa and New Hampshire – the first two states to decide. Their caucus and primary take place in early February.

TV debates between the contenders have been taking place every month since June and the events have caused big movements in the betting. Initially Kamala Harris leaped into the favourite slot after an effective attack on former VP Biden. But she was unable to sustain it the following month and has slipped very sharply in the betting.

The current favourite, Elizabeth Warren has slipped progessively since the summer while Buttiegieg has continued to rise.

Meanwhile two times White House failure, Jo Boden, continues to lead in the national polls and, as seen in the clip above, made another boastful claim about himself that simply was not true bringing derisory dismissals from at least two of the other contenders.

My 770/1 super longshot, Amy Klobuchar, had a good night and will hope for better post-debate poll ratings.

What’s impressive is how well the big US TV networks cover these – there’s lot that UK TV could learn.

Mike Smithson


Induction Technique. Comparing and combining betting markets

Sunday, September 1st, 2019

Write about what you know, they say. So I don’t normally write about American politics, about which I don’t pretend to have any special understanding. I’ll happily bet on it though. I’m going to break my habit now, to consider four related markets on Betfair and their interrelationship, to see if I can find some relative value.

Let’s start with the simplest: the winning party for the 2020 presidential election. The last traded price for the Democrats was 1.92, implying a chance of success of 52%, and that for the Republicans was 2.06, implying a chance of success of just over 48% (those percentages seem familiar from somewhere).

With that in mind, let’s turn to the next President market itself. This is a very actively traded market, with nearly £5 million traded already, and the actual election is more than a year away. For context, the next Prime Minister market – admittedly brand new – has had just over £6,000 traded so far. So the next President market is a fluid and presumably efficient market.  Donald Trump was last traded for next President at 2.24: an implied 45% chance.  

Turning to the Republican nominee market, Donald Trump was last matched for the nomination at 1.12.  This translates into an 89% chance of his securing the nomination.

Let’s do some maths together. These imply that there is a 3% chance that the next President is a Republican who is not Donald Trump. There is, however, an 11% chance that the Republican nominee is not Donald Trump (I’m discounting the possibility that Donald Trump is not the Republican nominee but is the next President – perhaps I’m being too hasty in this ever-changing world in which we live in, but at least Betfair’s “winning party” market makes the same assumption as me).  

Following on from that, part of the 55% chance that Donald Trump is not next President is the 11% chance that he does not get the Republican nomination. If so, that implies that if he clears that hurdle, he wins 50% of the time. A N Other Republican has an implied 36% shot – dismal in a two horse race.

Let’s stop and think about some of those conclusions. Do you think that Donald Trump is a coin toss to beat whichever Democrat he is up against, assuming he gets through the primaries? This does not seem to be conventional wisdom and his present polling position looks weak. If you think that he is odds against, then you should either be backing him to win the nomination or laying him to retain the presidency (or both).

Turning to the Democrat side, there are some real oddities. Andrew Yang has fervent fans and he is this year’s heart-over-head betting sensation. He is unaccountably as short as 25 for the nomination and 38 for the presidency. The price for the presidency is especially silly – it is an implied 65% chance that if he is nominated he will win the presidency. 

Conversely, Hillary Clinton is 55 for the nomination and 140 for the presidency, giving her an implied 39% of the presidency if she is nominated. She’s not going to be nominated but if she were, she would be a better than 39% chance. Nevertheless, all of these prices are clear lays in my view, if your books on these markets permit you the space to do so. Laying Andrew Yang on the next president market and Hillary Clinton on the next nominee market offers particularly good value.

The implied prices make more sense with the front runners. Elizabeth Warren is 3.15 for the nomination and 6.2 for the presidency, giving her an implied chance in the main event if nominated of just under 51%.  

Joe Biden is 4.3 for the nomination and 7.4 for the presidency, giving him a punchy 58% chance of winning the presidency if nominated. Similarly, Bernie Sanders is 7.8 for the nomination and 14 for the presidency, implying he has a 55% chance of winning the presidency if nominated, which is still well above the 52:48 split that the winning party market would suggest.

If you’re uncertain about either of their prospects, you might back them for the nomination and lay them for the presidency (no one is stopping you doing that for both of them).

Most strikingly among the front runners, Kamala Harris is 9.6 for the nomination and 24 for the presidency, implying a measly 40% chance of her winning the presidency if nominated.  That looks nuts. At least one of those prices looks wrong to me. So I’ve backed her for the presidency at 24.

Alastair Meeks