Betting on politics: a profitable year

Betting expert Matthew Partridge looks at what he got right in 2017, and weighs up the odds for the year ahead.


Emmanuel Macron winning the French presidency was a good call
(Image credit: 2018 Getty Images)

Before we look at the first tip of the year, let's review this column's 2017 performance. We correctly predicted that Marine Le Pen wouldn't be elected French president while Emmanuel Macron would. We called all nine of our individual seat predictions correctly in this year's general election.

Our top punt was the 18/1 tip on Elaine Duke to be the next person to leave Trump's cabinet (which Paddy Power has now settled in our favour). We also had some success betting on Australian politics, and rightly forecast that the Citizens would get the most votes in Catalonia's election in December.

On the other hand, we were far too pessimistic about Labour's chances in the election, and got the overall outcome wrong (though at least we weren't alone). As a result, neither Diane Abbott nor Jeremy Corbyn seem to be bowing out soon quite the reverse, in fact.

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Our foray into the world of Ukip wasn't very successful, with neither of the two candidates that we tipped winning the leadership. Our decision to tip Boris Johnson (among others) as both next prime minister and next Tory leader appears unwise for now, at least; 2018 may see a revival in his fortunes.

Overall, this column has achieved a return of 56% on the 52 combined bets made since May 2016. Even if you had ignored our recommendations about how you should weight your bets, and just followed each of the 84 tips separately, you would still have got an average profit of 22.6%. This is above the 15%-20% goal this column sets itself.

The Czech presidential election is due this weekend, with a possible run-off at the end of the month. Polls suggest that the incumbent, Milos Zeman of the Party of Civic Rights, has a large first-round lead over Jiri Drahos, but they also indicate that Drahos will win the run-off. Given Drahos' strong opposition to joining the euro, I'd suggest that you take Paddy Power's 10/11 (52.3%) odds on him. I have put £1 on Drahos myself.

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