PaddyPower’s White House Race betting preview

PaddyPower’s White House Race betting preview

A bookmaker guest slot

The race to become the world’s most powerful man is well under way. The next United States presidential election will be held on Tuesday 6 November and two men – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney – will go head to head for the biggest prize in politics.

Can Obama secure a second term for the Democrats? Or will Romney capitalise on the disappointing economy and become the 45th President of the United States?

Obama the favourite although polls are close

Before you rush to back Obama, it’s worth remembering that he doesn’t automatically get to run for President. He still has to secure the Democrat nomination although it’s an unbackable 1/200 that he is chosen. Hillary Clinton is his closest challenger at 50/1, and there won’t be many people rushing to back Joe Biden after his unfortunate choice of language at a rally including hundreds of black voters.

Assuming Obama gets the Democratic nomination – it would be a heck of a story if he didn’t – then the incumbent President is the clear 2/5 favourite to win a second term. Romney can be backed at 7/4.

However, the truth is that the race could be much closer than these results suggest. A recent Politico-George Washington University Battleground poll found that Obama has the support of 48 per cent of likely voters compared with 47 per cent for Romney, a statistical tie within the margin of error. Five percent of voters said they are undecided.

Three months ago the results were broadly the same, with Romney on 48 per cent and Obama on 47 per cent.

    CNBC reports that

‘the picture is one of uncertainty and an electorate and investor population that has not made up its mind yet about who should be the next president.’

Romney’s decision to choose Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate for the White House also had little impact on voting intentions. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 51 per cent of those surveyed said the decision did not change their opinion of Romney, while 23 per cent of voters actually saw the Republican candidate less favourably.

The Republican convention is sure to give Romney a boost, although it will take something quite special for the 65 year old from Detroit to reach the White House. For example, many voters currently describe themselves as ‘independents’ and among these voters Fox News finds that Obama has a lead of 11 per cent.

By the time that Election Day comes around, we expect Obama to boast a 4-6 per cent lead in the opinion polls. Undecided voters often end up backing the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t, and so the 2/5 available on Obama securing a second term look good value.

We also like the 5/6 available on Obama securing 291 or more Electoral College votes. With 538 votes up for grabs, Obama won 365 of these in 2008 compared to rival John McCain’s 173.

While this election is likely to be closer – Obama secured over 7 per cent more votes than McCain in 2008 – we still think he can secure over 291 Electoral College votes. Obama would have to lose three or four large states – perhaps Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan or even Florida – to fail to win 291 votes. George W Bush nearly won that number in the 2004 election where he scraped home by the skin of his teeth.


There will be plenty of ups and downs between now and November 6, and an already dirty and negative campaign is set to get worse. However, we firmly believe that Barack Obama will do enough to secure a second term as President, and he should be backed at 2/5.

We also think Obama can secure over 291 Electoral College votes and this should be backed at 5/6.


Paddy Power

    political team
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