Betting on politics: bets for the US presidency

Matthew Partridge weighs up the odds on the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination.

What with all the political turmoil in the UK, it's easy to forget that the US presidential election cycle is in full swing. It is still well over a year before the general election in November 2020, and it's six months before the first primary caucus next February, but the candidates for the Democratic nomination are campaigning vigorously. The next round of TV debates is only a fortnight away and there are rumours that many of the fringe candidates will drop out if they fail to do well enough in terms of polls and fundraising to earn the right to take part.

With 24 candidates officially running, even if half the field drops out, that still leaves an unprecedented number left in the contest. According to Betfair, the favourite, former vice-president Joe Biden has odds of 3.9, which gives him only an implied 25.6% chance of winning the nomination. The other leading candidates are Elizabeth Warren at 3.95 (25.3%), Bernie Sanders at 7.2 (13.9%), Kamala Harris at 7.6 (13.2%) and Pete Buttigieg at 7.5 (13.5%).

However, the best value to be found is on the outcome of the general election. Ladbrokes is offering bets on the number of electoral college votes Donald Trump will get. Since I think the eventual Democratic candidate will win comfortably, you should take the 8/1 (11.1%) on Trump getting less than 200 votes and the 3/1 (25%) on him getting between 200-249 for combined odds of 36.1%. To weight your bet properly you should put £6.93 on 200-249 and £3.07 on less than 200.

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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