It’s been almost four months since I last wrote about the Democratic Presidential race. There have been dropouts, new entrants and major changes. Kamala Harris dropping out did come as a shock to many, myself included, but it was clear that her campaign was on the wane and her chances of winning the nomination were slim.
Michael Bloomberg has finally entered the race and may prove to be a formidable candidate, especially if gets a chance to debate in the 7th Democratic Debate on January 14th (for which the qualifying criteria has not yet been released by the Democratic National Convention).
So far in these updates, I have focused on the national polling from Realclear Politics available here and the implied odds probability from Betfair Exchange here . I will continue to use these as I believe this lends consistency and allows a clear way to track progress and change in individual candidate’s campaigns and momentum.
However, I will now also reference individual state polling, also from Realclear, when I dig down deeper into each candidate’s update below. The early state polling for places like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada is a valuable resource that can help paint a broader, yet more accurate picture, of the candidate’s potential success.
I just want to highlight that I have always ranked the candidates by their implied probability from their betting odds, but I have in this case excluded Hillary Clinton (who is currently wedged between Andrew Yang and Michael Bloomberg) as she is not currently running.
Amy Klobuchar (Implied Probability: 2.8% / NEW (Polling 2% - 5%):
Klobuchar has never yet figured in the top seven but has benefited from qualifying for the 6th debate which took place last night on the 19th of December. By many accounts, she was also the strongest performer of the night. It would be the perfect time to get a campaign boost and with a strong showing in the 7th debate, she could potentially be a serious contender for the Iowa caucus on Monday, February 3rd.
Andrew Yang (Implied Probability: 3.1% / -0.6% (Polling 2% - 6%):
He has hardly moved in polling or probability, but he has stuck in there, outpolling supposedly more serious candidates like Cory Booker and Tulsi Gabbard. I really can’t see him winning at this stage, but I am very, very curious as to where his eventual endorsement will go.
Michael Bloomberg (Implied Probability: 9.5% / NEW (Polling 3% - 7%):
A big political beast who has entered the race quite late on but has immediately jumped into 5th favourite. A billionaire and a two-term Mayor of New York, he has massive name recognition and may be seen as a counterweight to the more radical left-wing candidates like Sanders and Warren, but with experience and a professionalism that Buttigieg and Biden struggle with respectively.
As I mentioned in the summary, he needs to get into the 7th debate but if he manages to and does well, I believe he can win the nomination.
Pete Buttigieg (Implied Probability: 10.6% / +5% (Polling 5% - 13%):
Buttigieg is the perfect candidate to illustrate the point that national polling alone is not enough to get the full picture of a candidate’s prospects. He very rarely polls above 10% nationally (the 13% poll I have referenced in his polling range is a bit of an outlier). However, he currently leads in Iowa polling and is second in New Hampshire, which has its primary on February 11th.
I think he needs to win one of these two. Winning an early state contest counts for an awful lot but coming second doesn’t, even if the votes are basically designated proportionally. Without an early win, I fear his campaign will flounder.
Elizabeth Warren (Implied Probability: 16.1% / -15.6% (Polling 12% - 18%):
Warren has had a tough four months since my last update on the race. Warren has definitely struggled in that period. In late August, she was the markets’ clear favourite to win. Since then, her chances have halved while she has dropped from 1st to 3rd favourite. That said, her polling range has only marginally decreased from 14% - 20% to 12% to 18%.
She has still had some good moments in debates and stump speeches, but she struggled badly with the enhanced media scrutiny and attacks from rivals that come with being the frontrunner. Without that added pressure, she may again start to slowly creep up in polling.
Bernie Sanders (Implied Probability: 16.1% / +2.9% (Polling 13% - 25%):
Sanders had a heart attack on October 4th. In the aftermath it felt to many that this was effectively the end of his campaign. It was assumed that this would further add to the perception of him being too old and fragile to be the President of the United States.
However, soon after, he procured the endorsement so Congresswomen Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar and has since campaigned with vim and a vigour that has defied his critics. He is second in Iowa and leading in New Hampshire, though is well behind Joe Biden in both Nevada and South Carolina.
If he comprehensively defeats Warren in each of these four states, she may withdraw and could perhaps endorse him. This isn’t likely yet but may be his best chance of catching Joe Biden.
Joe Biden (Implied Probability: 31.7% / +7.3% (Polling 23% - 32%):
Biden is back on top in terms of betting as well as polling (which he has led from day one). I am beginning to be a bit more bullish on his chances and think a ~30% implied probability is a bit too low. Yes, he makes gaffes and isn’t a very slick debater but he has constantly polled first and there is no evidence that this will fall drastically.
His biggest threat is that one candidate wins both Iowa and New Hampshire and then he goes into the Caucus (February 22nd) and the South Carolina Primary (February 29th) trailing. Even if that was the case, he has a large lead in both currently and this would not be a fatal blow. This is the first update where I genuinely see him as not only the current leader but also as the candidate who indisputably has the best chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
I haven’t written very much recently about British politics, but I have probably never followed an election as closely as I have this one. I will be writing a separate prediction with some solid numbers later but this is a little different.
I am picking ten recommendations where I believe the betting favourite can lose. I am basing it purely on constituency odds from Paddy Power based at 11am on Wednesday morning as between them, they cover all 650 constituencies.
Furthermore, I am looking at it in a slightly different way. I do not expect all ten to win but I am hoping that I can correctly predict five non favourites and that overall I would at least break even.
Therefore, I have a few outsiders that can win if Labour gain at the expense of the Conservatives and a few vice versa though this is not perfectly balanced. I then have some less correlated seats across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The approach would be to have an equal amount on each seat and then hope to make a small gain. There are much better political tipsters and resources out there, this is more a personal exercise I am sharing.
I am ranking them in order of largest outsider to shortest, would love to her your thoughts;
Current MP: Chris Hazzard
Sinn Fein Majority: 2,446
Prediction: Michael Savage, SDLP (4/1)
This is quite a big outsider at 4/1 and I haven’t heard anyone recommend it but I think it could come into play if there is a province wide swing to the SDLP away from Sinn Fein.
Most of the attention has focused on the battle between both parties in Foyle but I think this could be one to watch on a particularly good night for the SDLP/bad night for Sinn Fein.
Current MP: Emma Dent-Coad
Labour Majority: 20
Prediction: Emma Dent-Coad, Labour (13/5)
A very high-profile seat in the last two years given the awful tragedy of Grenfell Tower. More recently, the former Conservative MP, Sam Gyimah, has decided to run here for the Liberal Democrats. It’s going to be very tight finish but 13/5 is quite generous for Labour.
Current MP: Jared O’ Mara
Labour Majority: 2,125
Prediction: Olivia Blake, Labour (9/4)
This seat caused one of the biggest shocks in 2017 when the Nick Clegg was beaten by Jared O’Mara. Unfortunately for O’Mara, he has had a torrid time since as he has struggled with depression and alcoholism. It is simply assumed that this seat will go back to the Liberal Democrats but I think it could be worth watching.
Current MP: Martin Whitfield
Labour Majority: 3,083
Prediction: Martin Whitfield, Labour (9/4)
Another 9/4 for a Labour incumbent that the markets see as struggling to hold their seat. What has made me think this may be good value is that the YouGov MRP has Labour ahead and the SNP seem to be struggling in the last days of the campaign.
Current MP: Paul Girvan
DUP Majority: 3,208
Prediction: Danny Kinahan, UUP (17/10)
Danny Kinahan held the seat from 2010 to 2015. I sense quite a lot of disillusionment with the DUP and I was not at all impressed by their performance in NI debates. South Antrim is probably the only seat that unionists can show their anger with the DUP, safe in the knowledge that South Antrim will still return a Unionist MP.
Current MP: Judith Cummins
Labour Majority: 6,700
Prediction: Narinder Sikhon, Conservative (6/4)
This is one of about twenty seats that can go to the Conservatives from Labour if the Conservatives manage to have a strong showing. It’s current projected have Labour only 1% by YouGov. While I think it is more likely, Labour slightly outperform their current polling, I want to have a few on both sides of any potential movement.
Current MP: Derek Thomas
Conservative Majority: 312
Prediction: Andrew George, Liberal Democrats (5/4)
This is a seat where would be Labour voters can vote tactically to remove the incumbent Conservative MP. It may be on the constituencies that decide Boris Johnson is not fit to be Prime Minister and votes for the Liberal Democrats
Dagenham & Rainham
Current MP: Jon Cruddas
Labour Majority: 4,652
Prediction: Jon Cruddas, Labour (11/10)
I think Jon Cruddas has a better chance of defending a 4.6k lead than 11/10 suggests, particularly in an outer-London seat that voted 69% to Remain and where the Brexit Party are also competing.
Current MP: David Hanson
Labour Majority: 4,240
Prediction: Rob Roberts, Conservative (11/10)
A Labour seat that voted 54% to Remain. YouGov have it as a tossup while Electoral Calculus have it as a Labour Hold. It is a seat that could move if the Conservatives slightly exceed their final polling.
Current MP: Theresa Villiers
Conservative Majority: 353
Prediction: Emma Whysall, Labour (Evens)
One of the few potential gains Labour could make in this election. Chingford and Woodford Green (Labour 6/4) is a more appealing upset story given the stature of Iain Duncan Smith but I still prefer this seat at Evens given the Greens got four times the Conservative majority in 2017.