The reaction of punters on the Betfair markets to the overnight victory by just 8 votes in the Republican Iowa caucuses has been twofold: to make Mitt Romney an even tighter favourite for GOP nomination and for more money to be piled on the Democratic party retaining control of the White House in November.
For although Romney did get it by a whisker the result has not been anything like as emphatic as he might have liked and as, indeed, his team were predicting.
A potential big problem could be, Newt Gingrich, who was full of fury overnight over the tactics used by one of the organisation that’s not formally linked to Romney but mounted big negative campaign against the ex-house speaker. You got the feeling that winning the nomination might now be less important to Newt than stopping Mitt.
And the main beneficiary from all of this, I’d suggest, is the incumbent in the White House. The more rancour there is between the GOP contenders, the more dirt will be thrown and whoever comes out on top will be damaged.
As we’ve seen in the run-up to Iowa Romney can get tetchy and make mis-judgements when put under pressure. His casual offer of a $10,000 bet to Rick Perry in one of the debates will surely be used against him.
Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonOGH