How serious a contender is the young African-American?
After a quiet five weeks following the mid-term elections US politics has suddenly exploded again with the visit this week by the black contender, Barack Obama, to New Hampshire – the state where traditionally the first primary election of US presidential campaigns takes place.
Suddenly everybody is talking up the prospects of the 45 year old Democrat Senator from Illinois and the UK media has now begun to pay attention. Last night most BBC bulletins were carrying a long piece by Matt Frei comparing Obama with JFK.
Frei concluded:”..So, can he win? Can he raise the cash? Can he survive the rough and tumble of the campaign and the tough questions? Will the colour of his skin not count against him? Can he be convincing about security in the middle of an ongoing war? Can he survive the fickle adulation of the media? If the answer to all the above is yes, Barack Hussein Obama will be the 44th president of the United States… as strange as that may sound.”
Back in May 2005, just three weeks after the UK General Election, I tipped him here when he was priced at 50/1 to go all the way. The price stayed at relatively high levels until two months ago Time Magazine put him on its front cover. In October 2006 you could still get 33/1 although that did not last long.
The best you can now get on Obama winning the 2008 race is 8/1. A better option might be to put money on him getting the Democrat nomination where 4.6/1 is still available on Betfair. That seems to offer great value.
What is becoming clear is that Obama’s ethnic origin is not the issue that it might have been – certainly for Democrats. He has a capability to reach out to people in a way that few politicians possess.
The scenes in last night BBC report were quite extraordinary and he also got the thumbs up from the controversial Republican pollster Frank Luntz.
He is already attracting the financial support and will give Hillary Clinton a good run. The fact that this is now being seen as a two horse race is going to make it very difficult for other Democrat challengers to get into contention.