By far the biggest and most active currently political betting market is on who the Democrats will choose as their candidate for the November presidential election. We are currently at a critical stage after having the first two primaries and looking forward to Super Tuesday on March 3rd when more than a dozen states including the two largest, Texas and California, will be making their decisions.
By historical standards the size of the field at this stage is very long indeed and only one of the original main contenders, Kamala Harris, has pulled out. What the chart tries to show is the huge level of volatility that we have seen since the campaign formally got underway with the first TV debates last summer.
The former vice president Joe Biden has had several spells as betting favourite but has slipped sharply of late after very disappointing performances in Iowa and in New Hampshire. What’s worrying for him is that he seems to to do well in the polls but that is not translated into success when the actual voting takes place. My view throughout has been that his position has been down to higher name recognition rather than actual strong preferences.
Early favourite back in the summer was Kamala Harris who who managed to have a very effective first TV debate particularly with her attack on Biden. She then went into a period of decline in the polls and wisely decided to pull out in December.
Then came the rise and rise of a senator Elizabeth Warren who at one stage managed to get over 50% on Betfair. Since then she has gone into a serious decline in the betting accentuated by less than convincing performances in Iowa and in New Hampshire – the only states so far to have made their minds up about the nomination. Bloomberg is very interesting given that he is self-funding his campaign and seems absolutely determined to stop Trump at all costs. He has indicated that his huge campaign team of hundreds of people will be allocated to the winning nominee if it is not him who gets it. A good indication of how well he is perceived to be doing is the level of attacks that currently he gets from Donald Trump.
All those who occupied the favourites lot so far have been in their 70s with Bloomberg, Biden, and Sanders closer to 80 years old. The other main contender, Pete Buttigieg, has yet to reach his forties yet.
The next state up on Saturday is Nevada and and here anything could happen with its caucus. There’s been very little polling and the unions, who were expected to endorse Biden have said that they are keeping out.