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Betting on politics: America's mid-term vote

Matthew Partridge weighs the odds as the Democrats and Republicans battle it out for control of the House of Representatives.

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The major upcoming political event is the mid-term vote in the US. The entirety of the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the US Senate and the Governorship of 39 US states and territories will be up for re-election. The big question is whether the Republicans can retain their control of the House (which they have held since 2010) and Senate (theirs since 2012).

There are currently 51 Republicans in the Senate, 47 Democrats and two independents. With the independents supporting the Democrats, the Democrats need two further seats to take control. Given that only three out of the ten seats considered to be in play are Republican, I think the Democrats will make only one or two net gains. This makes Betfair's 5.8 (17.2%) on neither party getting more than 50 seats (not counting independents) good value, though don't put any more money on it if you already took my advice on this in Issue 872 last November.

The polls show the Democrats with a solid lead of 5%-7% in the generic Congressional ballot. While boundaries and incumbency work in the Republicans' favour, I still think that Democrats will retake the House. Even though the Betfair odds on a Democratic victory have shrunk from the 3.1 (32%) I tipped in Issue 848 last June to 1.94 (51.5%), I still think it's worth supporting the Donkeys over the Elephants. However, as always, never double down on any bets you have made.

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