Betting on politics: A good week for predictions

It’s been a good week for this column’s recent recommendations. In Australia Barnaby Joyce was re-elected as the MP for New England in a landslide, getting 65% of the first preference vote (and 74% of the two-party vote). That means my tip to bet on Royce at 4/9 with Paddy Power was correct.

In the meantime, my other Australian gamble appears on track: the evident voter backlash against being forced to go to the polls again bodes well for incumbent John Alexander in Bennelong, who will face the voters this Saturday.

There has been some good news from the US too. Two months after Donald Trump nominated her as the next Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen has finally been confirmed by the Senate in a 62-37 vote, and she should be sworn in very soon. She will replace Elaine Duke, whom I tipped at 18/1 to become the next person to depart from Trump’s cabinet. 

In Germany, the resumption of talks between Merkel and the SPD suggest that both my bets on Merkel to become the next German Chancellor and for a CDU/CSU deal will pay out.

As for the next few months, the recent turmoil at the top of the British government means that the odds on another election next year have tightened to 3.2 (31.3%) on Betfair.

I think that a 2018 election is unlikely because the Conservatives won’t want to go to the country while they are trailing in the polls. Even if May is deposed, any new leader is likely to at least try and see out Brexit before going to the country.

Still, the odds would have to be even tighter than they are before I’d suggest that you actually lay (bet against) a 2018 election. Having already suggested that you bet on an election in 2019, 2020 or 2021, I’m also wary of breaking my rule about not doubling down on a bet.

After all, there’s always a chance that the government could collapse, especially if it doesn’t manage to secure even a transition deal with the EU.

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