Betting on politics: the senatorial contest in West Virginia

Joe Manchin © Getty images
Joe Manchin: ahead in polls

Over the past week, this column has had two successes and one failure. The victory of the Social Democrats in the Swedish elections meant that both my tip to lay the Sweden Democrats, and my suggestion that you should bet on the Social Democrats to get most seats, paid off. It also briefly looked like my tip on Donald Trump visiting Ireland during his first term was also going to win. However, while it hasn’t been definitively cancelled, it now seems likely to be postponed.

Turning back to America, one interesting midterm race is the senatorial contest in West Virginia. Over the past two decades West Virginia has moved from being Democratic-leaning to strongly Republican, thanks in part to perceptions that the GOP is more sympathetic to the coal industry. Donald Trump romped home in 2016, winning nearly 70% of the vote and sweeping every county. However, in 2010 former governor Joe Manchin managed to get elected as senator, in an otherwise dismal year for the Democrats.

Six years on from that upset victory, many people speculated that Manchin would have a tough fight on his hands if he wanted to get re-elected. But his combination of populist economics and social conservatism has resonated enough for him to enjoy a comfortable lead against the Republican challenger, Patrick Morrisey. I think that Manchin is likely to hang on, so you should take Paddy Power’s 8/13 (61.9%), on a Democratic victory in November.