Do US politics not matter as much any more?

Do US politics not matter as much any more?

Mid-Terms Betfair betting markets Amount matched
House of Reps Democratic seats £73
House of Reps GOP seats £91
House control £33,971
Senate Democratic seats £0
Senate GOP seats £0
Senate control £64,823

Why are punters shunning the Mid-Terms?

Today’s the big one in the US – the Mid-Term elections that take place in every presidency two years the White House race. These are immensely important in political terms because they can often define the final part of a four year presidential term

During the 2006 Mid-Terms there was a high level of betting interest in the UK and my guess, based on the value of trades reported on Betfair, is that this year we’ll see overall barely an eighth of the betting activity of four years ago.

The table above was produced at 0730 this morning and shows the amounts recorded as matched in six key markets on Betfair. In four of them, betting on the number of seats won by the two parties in the two houses, there’s been almost no activity whatsoever.

In the other two there has been some betting but even the £64,823 on the control of the senate is minimal compared with what we’ve seen in the past.

I just wonder whether the lack of punter interest represents something bigger – that on this side of the Atlantic interest in US politics is on the wane.

George W. Bush was a great galvaniser of interest outside the US – now he’s gone we don’t care as much.

In the UK there’s also a sense that Barack Obama is not as pro-British as his predecessors and there was enormous amount of resentment during the summer over the attacks on BP following the oil incident in the gulf.

Also David Cameron does not seem in awe of things American in the way that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were. The special relationship is not as big a deal as it was.

Maybe I’m reading too much into the level of betting activity and things will revert to normal in two years for the 2012 White House race. We’ll see.

Mike Smithson

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