This piece first appeared at casino.org on 1st November 2022
Which Elections Are On And What Betting Is Available?
35 races for the US Senate. Most are very one-sided, which is reflected in the betting.
At most, 10 are competitive and we can probably whittle that down to seven. They are Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Ohio.
As it stands, the Democrats have 50 seats (or 48 to be precise, plus two Independents who support them), and the Republicans also have 50.
The casting vote in a tie goes to the Vice-President, Kamala Harris, so the Democrats currently control the Senate.
The betting options here are which party will control the Senate, and which party will win each individual state. Regarding the former, principal market, the Republicans are favourites on Betfair at 1.54.
For the House of Representatives, all 435 seats are up for re-election. After the 2020 election, the Democrats led 222-213.
Here, the betting options are which party gains the majority, and how many seats each will win.
The Republicans are very strong favorites to win a majority at 1.09 on Betfair. Their total seats line implies the split will be around 235-200, as the Democrats are 2.0 to win fewer than 200.
William Hill is offering odds on the double result – Senate and House.
For this double, the Republicans are 1.57 while Democrats are 9.0. Republican House/Democrat Senate is at 3.0 and the reverse is 34.0.
Finally, 17 states have races for Governor. Betting is available on each.
I believe this will come down to four states where the race is close. I strongly expect the favorites and incumbents to win all the other states.
Nevada is turning red
In those four, my most confident prediction is Adam Laxalt to win Nevada for the Republicans – at rapidly shortening odds of 1.4 with Bet365.
The Democrats are extremely vulnerable here.
Nevada’s economy suffered particularly badly during Covid, which became a political dividing line, and gas prices are much higher here, around $5 more than the national average.
Furthermore, the Democrats are very reliant on the Hispanic vote and the usually extraordinary efforts of the Culinary Workers Union in getting out the vote.
Democrat support among Hispanics has been slipping elsewhere in the country and I think they will struggle to get the same level of turnout as in recent elections, given they are the incumbents at both state and national level.
Plus of course, President Biden’s approvals are well down since the 2020 election. Early voting signals also appear very worrying for Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
All of these four states have simultaneous races for Governor and, generally, I expect results to correlate.
In these ultra-partisan times, widespread ‘ticket-splitting’ (voters backing both a Democrat and Republican on the same ballot paper) seems unlikely.
Georgia set for a run-off
In Georgia, that effect may save the Republicans, despite a terrible choice of candidate. Ex-football star Herschel Walker is a walking scandal.
Having already admitted domestic violence against his ex-wife, Walker’s problems were compounded by revelations of multiple abortions he paid for lovers. This despite his absolutist anti-abortion position.
Like many, I thought that would finish his chances, but it appears not.
Polls point to a very tight race and it must help that Republican Governor Brian Kemp is expected to easily win re-election, in a rematch with Stacey Abrams.
Note, if neither candidate gets 50% (as polls suggest), a later run-off is required. That run-off could well determine Senate control, as it did in 2020.
Pennsylvania too close to call
A lack of ticket-splitting might have the opposite effect in Pennsylvania, saving the Democrats from their own bad candidate decision.
John Fetterman suffered a stroke earlier this summer, and their failure to replace him looked a terrible move when he struggled badly with speech and answering questions coherently in last week’s TV debate.
That performance turned the betting on its head.
Fetterman was a very strong favorite earlier, while he avoided public outings and his campaign scored easy hits over a weak opponent.
TV celebrity ‘Dr Oz’ has only very recently become a resident of Pennsylvania, retains dual citizenship with Turkey and stands accused of medical grifting.
Going into that debate, 37% of Republican voters said he didn’t know enough about the state’s issues.
It is possible that the combination of Oz’s unpopularity, early voting trends prior to that debate disaster, and a popular Democrat candidate for Governor in Josh Shapiro prove just enough to get Fetterman over the line.
However as with Georgia, my verdict is too close to call.