Democrat Nominee: Where do we stand after New Hampshire?

When writing last week’s analysis, five Democrat candidates were trading lower than $100 for the presidency. There are still five but we’ve had a swap – Amy Klobuchar’s odds have crashed to $80 from around $270, while Elizabeth Warren is out to $200. From odds-on favourite in October, she’s now dismissed at $140 to win the nomination. An incredible fall from grace considering she remains very popular within the party!

Indeed, this market has already emulated previous dramatic primary cycles. The golden rule when playing them – lay the early favourites – has paid off. If the lesson wasn’t learnt then or in 2016, remember moving forward – the market isn’t necessarily an accurate predictor, especially early on.

Sanders far from convincing

Bernie’s 27% vote share in New Hampshire was just enough to win but underwhelming. In a two-horse race with Clinton, he scored 60% in 2016. NH neighbours his state of Vermont so this was effectively a home match. He now heads to a series of more diverse states where he was mostly hammered in 2016.

Critically, fellow North-East progressive Warren also tanked in NH. Their combined share was 36%, compared to 53% for candidates branded as ‘moderate’. Scant evidence, therefore, of a yearning among Democrats for the Sanders revolution.

The fact he seems assured of a solid 20%-plus base everywhere means he’ll win races and pick up plenty of delegates – he’s a mere $1.43 to win the next race in Nevada. I’ve laid at those odds. Victory is far from certain, especially given potential problems with the Culinary Workers Union.

I very much doubt Sanders can gain the 1990 pledged delegates that would amount to a majority, thus avoiding a ‘contested convention’. Or, for that matter, getting over the line with help from Warren, now her campaign is struggling.

It is very similar to the GOP race in 2016. Then Trump looked set to fall short of a majority, yet managed to bring the party into line behind his candidacy. Sanders may ultimately do so but there’s no evidence to date. If the moderate majority eventually coalesce around a single alternative, they can win.

Bloomberg surging

Meanwhile, the Bloomberg gamble gathers pace, assuming he will be that single alternative. Without appearing in debates or campaigning in the early states, he’s now second-favourite for both the nomination and the presidency. Note the implication – bettors believe he has a better chance against Trump than Sanders.

I agree with that analysis but it remains an open question. It is too early to make a confident prediction of how he will fare in actual elections, affect dynamics at the party convention or amongst Democrats moving forward.

True, his brilliant ad-campaign has already achieved cut-through in national polls and Super Tuesday states. However, to reiterate, early primary polls are unreliable. If Bloomberg’s cut-through is merely via ads, might it be superficial? He has barely been road-tested and after decades in politics, there will be baggage. Expect criticism of racially insensitive language and policies as NY Mayor, for example.

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