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

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


Welcome to tonight’s PB NightHawks

May 21st, 2020

The big betting move in the last few hours has been on Amy Klobuchar who is to be vetted by the Biden campaign as a possible VP. I’m not sure how significant this is because there have been reports of other potential VP choices also being examined.

Certainly Klobuchar has a lot going to her.

Mike Smithson


A Johnson U-turn on the NHS surcharge for overseas NHS workers would be a big win for Starmer

May 21st, 2020

Starmer has indicated that he’ll table an amendment to the Immigration bill which would force a a Commons vote on the issue.

In the post linked to by Katy Balls in her Tweet she noted:

“Behind the scenes, the number of would-be rebels is growing – they are not the usual suspects. ‘There’s a big sense of momentum,’ says one MP who is considering their position. ‘The government need to move pretty quickly’. Among those expressing concerns are several of the new intake of 2019 MPs who worry the current position goes against the public mood. Not helping matters is the fact there are a chunk of MPs already annoyed with the government on several issues – with 16 Tory MPs rebelling yesterday to back an amendment tabled by Labour’s Harriet Harman against Bernard Jenkin, No. 10’s preferred candidate, becoming the chair of the Liaison Committee.”

Johnson’s response on this came at yesterday’ PMQs after Starmer switched his line of questioning after what appeared to be a score draw on the earlier points. It appeared that Johnson was making it up on the spot in a desire not to give in to Starmer.

If it turns out that there is a concession to stave off a rebellion that will be lauded as a huge win for the Labour leader.

With the benefit of hindsight this always was a vulnerability for the government given the national feelings about the NHS.

Mike Smithson


Betfair punters have got the LD leadership race about right – Moran has a good chance of beating Davey

May 21st, 2020

We’ve now got the timetable for the LD leadership race and the successor to Jo Swinson will be announced at the end of August. It looks as though the race will be between Layla Moran and Ed Davey with Daisy Cooper as possibly another candidate.

The elections was due to have been underway now but has been deferred because of the pandemic.

In the aftermath of Jo Swinson unexpectedly losing her seat to the SNP in the general election the former coalition cabinet minister Ed Davey became the odds on favourite to succeed her. An early YouGov poll of members published in January had him well ahead.

The election follows the awful general election for the party in December which, it will be recalled, only happened because of Swinson’s backing. Although there was a big increase in their national vote share the number of MPs was cut from 12 to 11.

Since then Ed Davey has been joint acting leader with the party’s president and it has been a struggle for him to get a look in because of first the LAB leadership election and now the fight against coronavirus. This has almost certainly not helped him in the leadership battle.

The current favourite, Layla Moran, retained her then ultra marginal Oxford West and Abingdon seat with a 9k majority which was one of the best results for the party on the night. Clearly for any Lib Dem security in his/her own seat is a major issue as we saw with Swinson.

Moran has an impressive campaign team round her which is led by the architect of her general election victory and, although untested, she offers something new.

A possible issue is likely to be party’s participation in the coalition from 2010 to 2015 and here cabinet minister Ed Davey might face a challenge. One of the big things that hurt Swinson at the general election was that she had been a coalition minister. Moran did not become an MP until the 2017 general election so missed the coalition.

Another possible candidate is Daisy Cooper who gained St. Albans GE2019 overturning a 6k CON majority with a Lib Dem one of 6k. She is relatively new as an MP and hasn’t had the chance to build up the same awareness within the party as Davey and Moran. Her candidature is a statement of intent for the future.

There is still a lot of goodwill to Davey but the lacklustre performance of the party in the polls since GE2019 is going to help Moran although he will do far better than the 30% he got against Swinson last year.

Mike Smithson


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

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


Starmer’s ratings are generally getting better as the number of don’t knows declines

May 20th, 2020

We are now in the 7th week of Keir Starmer’s leadership of the Labour Party and he could take some comfort about the general direction of his leader ratings which historically have been a better guide to election outcomes than voting intention polling.

When Starmer first got the job on April 4th he was relatively unknown and that was reflected in the smallish proportion of those polled who had an opinion. Thus in his first week just 42% of those polled by Opinium gave a view. The latest poll, published at the weekend has 60% of the sample giving a view.

That latest poll had him overtake Johnson in the net figures – when you deduct the negative percentage from the positive one.

So far we have yet to see an Ipsos MORI satisfaction rating on the new leader. The firm has been asking it main leader rating question since the 1970s and it will be good when we see its figures to compare Starmer against other opposition leaders.

Starmer has taken over at what could be seen as a difficult time for an opposition leader wanting to make a mark. The news is so dominated by the pandemic that it is hard for Starmer to get a look in.

Mike Smithson


Does this Indy writer have a point – is Boris now really that vulnerable and will be out by Christmas?

May 19th, 2020

The above article has been posted this afternoon on The Independent website and puts forward what Sir Humphrey would describe as a ” very courageous” prediction. Sure Boris has not had the best of times leading a government facing the pandemic and sure the UK’s comparative record has not been that great.

O’Grady notes in his piece:-

“Every bumbling performance at prime minister’s questions, each stumbling appearance at a coronavirus media conference, each bit of misguided spin that emanates from Downing Street, all the “ramped up” insincere promises and the hasty U-turns serve only to build up the evidence that we have somehow contrived to place a clown with the emotional maturity of a toddler in charge of dealing with the worst pandemic in 100 years..When will the madness end? I think by Christmas. I cannot say how or what the manner of Boris Johnson’s leaving office will be, but I think we can all discern that the pressures will only intensify. Each avoidable, so-called “excess” death represents a tragic, powerful and eventually overwhelming argument for his departure. There will be thousands more. Will they reach 100,000? The worst record in Europe? It is surely possible.”

What the article doesn’t do is set up the mechanics of how this will happen. Boris is the leader who took the Tories to a sensational 80 + majority in the general election last December. He’s a winner and the Tory Party likes winners.

The only way I can see see something like this happening is if the prime minister’s health starts to deteriorate. There’s no doubt he hasn’t quite looked the leader he was prior to him being afflicted by the coronavirus and maybe he should have delayed a return to work.

Whenever this is all over, and it is a bold person who will make that prediction, there’ll be a lot of examination about how each government handled the crisis in there are area.

One thing that hasn’t received much attention is that this came at a particularly bad time for the UK. At the end of January, it will be recalled, we were leaving the EU and that was the overwhelming political focus. Perhaps if this had not been happening then actions could have been taken earlier which would have seen a much smaller death toll but we will never know.

The betting markets are far from convinced that Boris will be out soon. In fact on Betfair at the moment it is a 66% chance that he’ll still be there at the end of 2022.

Mike Smithson


Chancellor Sunak’s looking strong in the polling – HomeSec Patel a liability

May 19th, 2020

Just over five months after GE2019 – how Johnson and his top team are being rated

The chart above is based on the latest favourably polling by YouGov a series that I had a hand in creating a few years back.

Of all the leader rating formats the one I like the best is on favourability. I think its simple directness gives a better view than leader satisfaction or approval. After all I’m sure many Tory backers at GE2019 if they’d thought about it would have been satisfied with the way Corbyn was then leading Labour!

The latest findings are in the chart above. The man who was tipped here in November for next PM when he was 200/1, Chancellor Sunak, is riding high and Johnson remains in positive territory.

Hancock and Raab who’ve been getting a lot of coverage are just short of level. The one who appears to be in a lot of trouble is HomeSec Patel. Those are seriously bad figures and I wonder whether she’ll survive the next re-shuffle.

Even GE2019 Tory voters in the poll struggled to be positive about Patel. Just 43% said they viewed her favourably with 40% saying they didn’t.

Full details from the poll here.

Mike Smithson