Betting on politics: America's next president

The winner of next year’s US presidential contest is a tough call to make, says Matthew Partridge. Just don't rule out Mike Pence.


Mike Pence: into the mix
(Image credit: 2019 Getty Images)

The problem with Brexit-related bets is that events are moving so quickly that the prices are likely to be out of date in less than a day. With the parliamentary vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit due to take place just after this column goes to print, it makes sense to leave Brexit and take a look at the current betting on the 2020 US presidential election instead. Even though we're more than 18 months away, £1.8m has already been wagered on Betfair on the winning candidate.

At the moment, Betfair has Trump as the favourite to be re-elected at 3.0 (33.3%). This isn't as impressive as it sounds, given that he seems assured of the Republican nomination, and looks unlikely to be impeached. In joint second are the Democratic frontrunners Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, each at eight (12.5%). Next you have Beto O'Rourke at 12.5 (8%), while universal income supporter Andrew Yang and Elizabeth Warren are 32 (3.1%) and 45 (2.2%) respectively.

My guess is that the winner of next year's presidential contest will be Biden, Harris, or Warren. I'd throw current vice-president Mike Pence into the mix as well. In the unlikely event that some revelation in the investigation into Russian meddling prevents Trump from running, my guess is that the Republicanswill rally around Pence. To weight your bets properly, I'd split a hypothetical £10betting unit in the following ways: £4.18 each on Biden and Harris, £1.04 on Warren and £0.60 on Pence.

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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