Unlike almost all the other political betting markets that we comment on we have refrained from making a call on the eventual result of the 2004 US Presidential Election because we have not had a clear view. But now we have come to the conclusion that Senator John Kerry can and will win in November.
What has persuaded us is the view that Kerry will not win the election; Bush will lose it. The lacklustre performance of Kerry to date owes, we think, to his realisation that the election is first and last a referendum on Bush.
Thus the significant poll figures to follow are not Bush v. Kerry but Bush’s personal approval ratings – down again this week to 42%. Almost right across the board, issue after issue, these numbers are on the decline. By comparison in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 Bush’s personal rating was 90% and at the turn of the year he was getting 60%.
A key part of this strategy is for John Kerry to do what Tony Blair did so successfully at the 1997 UK General Election when he persuaded traditional Tories that a Government led by him would be “safe”.
Is John Kerry’s quiet approach and his very public “wooing” of John McCain – the Republican Senator from Arizona, beaten for the nomination by Bush in 2000 – a way of saying to Republicans that it’s “safe” to support him or even just not to vote for George W. Bush? If significant numbers don’t turnout for the President then Kerry is in.
We have been impressed by John Kerry’s attempt at bi-partisanship and the way he is building up awareness of his relationship with and McCain who like Kerry is a Vietnam veteran. The New York Times observed at the weekend that John Kerry refers to John McCain whenever he is able to and the two men’s joint initiative on Vietnam POWs figures prominently in his TV campaigns.
Whether McCain would come on the John Kerry ticket as the Vice-Presidential running mate is unclear. But it very much helps Kerry for this speculation to continue.
The John Kerry price on who will win most votes in November on the Iowa Electronic Markets, described here in March, has been notching upwards to the point where it is almost on level with Bush. In the UK you can still get more than 2.2. BET.
UPDATE – UK GENERAL ELECTION SPREAD BETTING. In the Monday Call yesterday we commented that the weekend moves against Labour on the Commons seat market were an “over-reaction”. They’ve now slipped back to where they were at the end of last week – LAB 320-330; CON 248-258; LIB 53-58.
UPDATE – LONDON MAYORAL ELECTION. William Hill is offering a good price on Norris but seems to be restricting punters to ridiculously small stakes. One Politicalbetting.com reader said he could only put on £1.54 – another only managed to get £0.76 on. The bookmaker price affects the betting exchange price which is not moving. Does anybody know why William Hill is doing this? Their 1.12 on Ken is so low that you cannot imagine that it will be attracting many backers and they seem to be restricting bets on Norris. It is almost as though they do not want to be in this market.