Betting on politics: Trump bounces back

Matthew Partridge suggests one long-term bet to take over the next three years.


Will we be waving Donald Trump off in 2020?
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Donald Trump seems to be making a comeback. Despite the recent furore over Michael Wolff's book on his dysfunctional presidency, there are signs that his popularity is on the rise. His approval rating is now around 40%, compared with the 35% of a few months ago.

The opinion-poll gap between Republicans and Democrats in the run-up to November's mid-term elections seems to be narrowing. And the Russia investigation now seems less of an immediate threat: the Betfair odds of Trump leaving office before the end of his first term have widened to 2.28 (43.8%).

This isn't a huge surprise. The American economy is doing well, with unemployment at 4.1%, the lowest level since December 2000. There is even evidence that wages, which have been stagnant in real terms for decades, are starting to tick up, while the stockmarket has soared since his inauguration. Of course, Trump isn't directly responsible for any of these developments. Still, there is a lot of evidence that the state of the economy has a major impact on election results, especially where incumbent presidents are concerned.

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So, is it worth betting on him being re-elected? At the moment the best odds that you can get on a Trump 2020 election victory are Paddy Power's 5/2 (28.5%). I don't think this is particularly generous. Trump is still deeply unpopular in the country at large, with Democrat voters highly motivated, and I can't see that changing over the next three years. There is also the strong possibility that the Republican establishment will want to get their revenge for 2016 by supporting a credible primary challenger.

While I don't particularly like tying my money up for three years, this week I suggest that you take Betfair's 1.9 (52.6%) on a Democrat winning in 2020. I'd also take Ladbrokes 50/1 (2%) on Mitt Romney likely to run for a Senate seat in Utah in November clinching the Republican nomination in 2020. I've put £2 on each.

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