Betting on politics: A White House IQ test

Paddy Power is offering odds on who's smarter – Rex Tillerson or Donald Trump.


Tillerson v Trump: who would win a battle of minds?
(Image credit: 2017 Getty Images)

At the end of last month, Tom Price resigned as Trump's health and human services secretary. So while I was right to bet that there wouldn't be a cabinet departure before the end of August, my prediction that Rex Tillerson, Elaine Duke or Wilbur Ross would be the next one to leave proved incorrect. As far as Paddy Power is concerned, Rex Tillerson is the favourite at 4/11 (73%) to go first.

They have also got a market on whether Tillerson will last until the new year, with (1/3) (75%) on him remaining as secretary of state and 2/1 (33%) on him departing. This is due to press speculation over friction between Tillerson and Trump, culminating in a bizarre press conference where the secretary of state denied that he was about to quit, but refused to deny that he had called the leader of the free world a "moron".

In true Trump style, this led to the president telling Forbes magazine that "I guess we'll have to compare IQ tests". This has prompted Paddy Power to put up a market on who has the higher intelligence, with Tillerson at 1/8 (89%) and Trump at 4/1 (20%). Paddy Power also has a market on Trump's IQ, offering 16/1 (5.8%) on 69 or less, 3/1 (25%) on 70-90, 5/4 (44%) on 90-110, and 2/1 (33%) on 110 or higher. Sadly the bets are void if the results aren't agreed by the end of this year.

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There tends to be quite a gap between reports of Trump rowing with someone and that person then being fired. Even if Tillerson does step down he'll probably remain in office while a successor is confirmed, which could take some time. Bet on Tillerson still being secretary of state on 1 January 2018.

You should also take Paddy Power's 18/1 on Elaine Duke leaving first, as her successor as homeland security secretary has already been announced and is awaiting confirmation. (I've placed £1 on her so I can see what happens.)

Dr Matthew Partridge

Matthew graduated from the University of Durham in 2004; he then gained an MSc, followed by a PhD at the London School of Economics.

He has previously written for a wide range of publications, including the Guardian and the Economist, and also helped to run a newsletter on terrorism. He has spent time at Lehman Brothers, Citigroup and the consultancy Lombard Street Research.

Matthew is the author of Superinvestors: Lessons from the greatest investors in history, published by Harriman House, which has been translated into several languages. His second book, Investing Explained: The Accessible Guide to Building an Investment Portfolio, is published by Kogan Page.

As senior writer, he writes the shares and politics & economics pages, as well as weekly Blowing It and Great Frauds in History columns He also writes a fortnightly reviews page and trading tips, as well as regular cover stories and multi-page investment focus features.

Follow Matthew on Twitter: @DrMatthewPartri