Can Our Genial Host do it again?
After the dramatic events of this week, and with some issues such as Nebraska’s college votes and the Minnesota senate race still unresolved, already the bookies are pricing up the markets for the 2012 race. Mike’s 50-1 Obama bet is rightly and firmly enshrined in PB legend, so I thought this would be an appropriate time to “benchmark” the odds for the next election just days after this year’s vote.
Obama is already odds on for a second term, and students of presidential history will know that only one sitting Democrat President (Carter in 1980) has made it to the general election ballot and lost since Grover Cleveland in 1888. At this very early stage, it would seem unlikely that Obama will face a serious primary challenge from within his own party, but if he does, the recent omens (Carter 1980 and Bush 1992) are extremely poor.
For betting purposes then the interest is on trying to work out who the potential Republican frontrunners are. Sarah Palin leads the GOP contenders at 16/1 and certainly has plenty of name recognition following the 2008 election – but following the recent embarrassing revelations about major gaps in her knowledge, is she already damaged goods for a 2012 run? Will her support among the conservative base prove sufficient to claim the party nomination in four years’ time?
It may be that if Obama proves to be a popular president, some potential candidates may decide to sit out 2012, leaving a rather underweight-looking field as per 1996. Were I to be thinking of having an early flutter, I would certainly consider Mitt Romney at 20s, who some are already tipping as the next GOP flagbearer – no shortage of funding, and name recognition from 2008 after his primary campaign with 11 wins. Also Mike Huckabee at 33/1, who had an excellent primary season this year, ending up second in the delegate count, and winning several southern states.
Finally, my third one to watch in the market would be Bobby Jindal, who became governor of Louisiana at the age of just 36, and who was for a while thought to be in the running as McCain’s vice-presidential pick – currently available at 25/1. Will “The Mighty Smithson” dip his toe early into the next US market with another pick at longish odds – and how do PB’ers assess the current prospects for the Republican 2012 nomination at this very early stage?