The GOP race for the White House is utterly fascinating, and represents a proper betting contest rather than the 1-10 shot Hilary Clinton is in the Democrat race.
I look on as an outsider, with no particular knowledge of US politics outside of resources available to anyone else – Wikipedia, 538 and real clear politics. How should we start to analyse such an interesting contest â€“ well past performance is no guarantee to the future, but there are quite a lot of known unknowns that may be able to point us in the right direction:
We have the Iowa caucus on the 1st February and the New Hampshire primary on the 9th February, and South Carolina shortly after. Super Tuesday allocates a lot of delegates, but the betting will surely have shifted by the time that comes around and if we genuinely believe one of the candidates can win who has not taken any of the first three states then surely their price will reflect this, and we can back accordingly. (Rubio is most likely to be this man in the betting, my guess is he will be longer than his current 2-1 if he takes none of the first 3 states, though).
Anyway looking to the first 3 states :
*2004;1992;1984;1970 excluded due to incumbent president, all other challengers won 0 states.
** Wisconsin 1968 1st; Pennsylvania 3rd
** Wisconsin 1964/60 2nd; Illinois 3rd
 Ron Paul did a bit of an Iowa coup winning 22 delegates, leaving Santorum with 0 even though he won the popular vote ! (Romney was a close 2nd on votes, and got 6 delegates).
So, we can see that in every election since 1952 the winner of either the first or 2nd state has gone onto gain the nomination. In recent times this is Iowa/New Hampshire. In particular New Hampshire looks to be a slightly stronger steer than Iowa.
Looking to this race, Trump remains dominant in New Hampshire as Romney was most recently in 2012.
Here is the RCP New Hampshire chart:
The national polling is also not massively dissimilar to this, so there is no indication that NH this time round should prove to be an anomaly.
Bushâ€™s performance is staggeringly bad for by far the biggest spending candidate of the race, if he drops out then I can think that Marco Rubio benefits the most, but Chris Christie may also and it wonâ€™t be the 100% transfer the betting markets appear to be assumingâ€¦
Anyway onto current prices:
Rubio 2.88/2.94; Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Cruz 3.75/4.0;Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Trump 4.5/4.6;Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Bush 9.6/10.5;Â Â Christie 15/16; the field 100-1 or longer
If I was starting from here, Iâ€™d back Trump (Should be favourite), Cruz (Could win Iowa and come in) & lay Rubio (Too short), Bush (Wonâ€™t win and heading backwards) leaving Christie and the field perhaps at a nice even zero. Be prepared to change your mind if the facts change. AND WATCH NEW HAMPSHIRE LIKE A HAWK !