Betting on politics: America’s next president

Mike Pence © Getty images
Mike Pence: into the mix

The problem with Brexit-related bets is that events are moving so quickly that the prices are likely to be out of date in less than a day.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 Republicans will rally around Pence. To weight your bets properly, I’d split a hypothetical £10 betting unit in the following ways: £4.18 each on Biden and Harris, £1.04 on Warren and £0.60 on Pence.