Should Huckabee really be the favourite for the GOP nomination?

Should Huckabee really be the favourite for the GOP nomination?


Tied for second on Betfair and average 17 points ahead in the last two Iowa polls

One of my first introductions to betting was John McCririck’s book on the subject which came out in the early 1990s. A concept that he mentions, which will be familiar to many users of pb, is that of the “steamer”, a runner whose price shortens dramatically – although as I’m sure that PtP and other racing experts will testify, simply because a horse is a steamer is no guarantee of its actually winning the race.

The formal start of the 2008 US Presidential Election, which will not be complete until Inauguration Day on 20th January 2009, draws ever closer with the Iowa caucuses taking place only three days into the new year, and as of now Mike Huckabee is very much the “steamer” in the race to be the Republican nominee. His Betfair odds were in double digits until quite recently but now he is neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney for second place, at about 5 (4/1). Not only that, but he has been storming ahead in the last couple of polls for Iowa, with leads of 12 and 22 points from Mason-Dixon and Newsweek.

So could he secure a big win in Iowa, a respectable third in New Hampshire and then continue his surge with a win in South Carolina ahead of taking on Giuliani in his supposedly “momentum-proof” firewall states including Florida? One of pb’s many US posters, Mike from New Jersey, had this to say in a lengthy post yesterday:

“… I do not think Romney can salvage his position [in Iowa]… Giuliani cannot win the nomination… Huckabee should be the favorite in betting right now.” Mike also warned against betting on McCain – and that for the Democrats, “…whoever wins Iowa wins the nomination…”

Mike’s full comments can be found at post 159 on yesterday’s thread, and Huckabee remains a buy for me in the Republican nominee market. American politics next year will see frantic activity in January and February, and unless the nomination races are incredibly tight, several months of “phoney war” between the final two candidates ahead of the summer conventions and the Labor Day kickoff of the official presidential campaign, during which time attention will briefly turn to other contests such as Spain, Russian Presidential, London Mayor, and Ireland’s EU Treaty referendum. The indispensable Real Clear Politics site is here, a must-read for the American scene.

Lib Dem Leadership

Vince Cable said yesterday on the Andrew Marr show that the Clegg-Huhne contest was “very close” – was he right or just trying to maintain media interest? The markets hardly seemed to have moved at all with Clegg still at 1.3 – or will the betting outsider win as in 2006?


For those of you following the counting Down Under, there are now ten seats which have completed their vote tallies and declared the final results – full details are available here from the AEC’s “Virtual Tally Room” and the ABC site is here – the ABC says the final totals will be 84 / 64 / 2, although the AEC has 8 seats still listed as “doubtful”, and Labor were just 7 votes ahead in the Victoria electorate of McEwen.

Australia is a reminder that actually we in Britain are fairly spoilt when it comes to counting and declaring election results, and that not all countries do things the same way – America is another country where it can take a while to have the final figures. Although some countries can pretty much finish in the space of 3-4 hours due to counting at polling stations (Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain etc – even Brazil is quicker!) – there isn’t anywhere else in the world where an outgoing administration has to step down so quickly. Our “next-day” approach is second to none as far as I know, while by contrast a new Mexican president must wait five months to take office.

Paul Maggs “Double Carpet”

Guest Editor

The author is an analyst and pundit on UK and international politics

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