Sticking with our John Kerry Call

Sticking with our John Kerry Call

It’s down to Bush’s lack of popularity

Four years ago we backed George W. Bush at substantially better than evens to win the 2000 White House race because we felt that he had more voter appeal to many Americans than Al Gore. As it turned out we should have lost that bet but we didn’t.

Now comes the opportunity to bet on him again but we are not sticking with Bush for the same reason – we do not think he has the voter appeal. We take this view in spite of one or two recent opinion poll improvements for the incumbent and the fact that bad news from Iraq is not having quite the same impact on domestic US opinion as it was a few weeks ago.

Five weeks ago we said – “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.”

    But what convinces us that John Kerry is still in with a good chance are the favourability polls on George W. Bush. The president is still finding it difficult to get above 50% and many commentators are observing that no incumbent who has dropped below 50% in his personal ratings in an election year has managed to hold on.

One factor that looked promising was an opinion poll showing that a John Kerry – John McCain ticket would beat Bush-Cheney by 53%-39%. Since then the option of a leading Republican joining Kerry on a bipartisan tickets seems to have been ditched and the hot Vice-Presidential favourite is John Edwards – the telegenic Senator from North Caroline who did so well in the primaries. This option has polled almost as well as McCain and there’s little doubt that the young former trial lawyer will bring a real edge to the ticket.

The V-P choice is critical because a factor to hurt John Kerry has been the candidature of Ralph Nader who is in one or two surveys polling 6-7% .

A good indicator of betting value on US political markets is the Iowa Electronic Exchange – which we’ve featured before on The latest Kerry price is the equivalent of 2.13 – so just slightly better than evens and a touch lower than the best UK price. The Iowa markets is not on who wins but, bearing in mind what happened in 2000, who gets most votes.

Bush’s poll recovery has pushed the Kerry price out and you can now get more than 2.2. This should drop after a successful convention in Boston next month. BACK KERRY.

Next month’s Democratic Convention on his home turf in Boston will provide the ideal platform for Kerry. It will provide a sharp contrast with the Republican Convention in August in New York. The city was chosen by the Republicans so they could launch their campaign with a sharp reminder of 9/11. We think that this might back-fire because it could be seen as a cynical political move to exploit what happened.

LABOUR LEADERSHIP UPDATE. Comments by Gordon Brown seem to give a firm indication that Tony Blair will not be stepping down prior to the General Election and will stay on, at least, until the referendum on the EU constitution. This is about as clear as you can get and reinforces our call not to bet against Blair in either the Labour leadership or “Still Party Leaders” markets.

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