Betting on politics: Good news from the US mid-term elections

Kamala Harris © Getty Images
Kamala Harris

Earlier this week we received some good news. Previously we had all but written off our 11/10 bet on Kyrsten Sinema being elected senator for Arizona. However, it appears that we were a tad premature. A combination of postal and early votes means she has managed to overhaul Martha McSally’s election night lead, and the Republican has now conceded. There’s even a recount going on in the contest for Florida governor, though Andrew Gillum is unlikely to be as lucky in his contest.

This week we’re going to look at the contest for the Democratic nomination in 2020. At the moment the most liquid market is on Smarkets, with £42,747 traded (compared with £24,749 on Betfair). The current favourite is California senator Kamala Harris, pictured, at 5.9 (16.9%), followed by Beto O’Rourke at 6.6 (15.2%), senator Elizabeth Warren at 8.6 (11.6%) and former vice-president Joe Biden at 10 (10%). Longer shots include independent senator Bernie Sanders at 13 (7.6%) and Cory Booker at 13.5 (7.5%).

You can’t really write anyone off in the age of Trump, but we don’t think that O’Rourke really has much chance. While he ran Ted Cruz much closer than you’d expect, he still lost. Despite his undoubted charisma, he’s never been anything more than a junior congressman (a role he had to give up to run against Cruz). While he has a bright future ahead of him, it’s very hard to see how he could be nominated for president. So we’d tip laying him at 7.6, which translates to a bet against him at 1.15.