Will this be the night Bernie breaks through?

Democrat outsider is the day’s big market mover on Betfair

Money is pouring in on Betfair for Bernie Sanders in the run-up to tonight’s Democratic Party debate on CNN. The 74 year-old Vermont Senator has reached his highest rating yet, at 15% to win the Nomination and 8% for the Presidency.

Before reading too much into this latest market move, though, remember that something similar happened prior to both Republican debates. On both occasions, Donald Trump shortened up considerably, only to drift back afterwards. Such moves are simply explained by more players taking an interest in this market ahead of the debate and focusing on the candidate most likely to capture media and public attention.

Sanders certainly is the star of the show. Sure Hillary Clinton remains clear favourite, rated 70% for the nomination and 40% likely to become President, but we all know her. She is not going to surprise anybody or change many opinions. Without a disaster, she will remain very much the one to beat.

In stark contrast, many or even most Americans will be getting their first taste of her closest rival. An avowed democratic socialist, the Sanders agenda has little history of success across the country, but it is certainly exciting the liberal activists that make up so much of the Democrat base.

In an era when authentic outsiders, able to speak human and take on establishment thinking are shaking up politics across the Western world, the Sanders surge should not be under-estimated. He is leading in New Hampshire and addressing 20K strong crowds. $26M of donations in the last quarter show he has the resources for a long, nationwide campaign.

The challenge is to cut through beyond his enthusiastic, yet unrepresentative base. Many Democrat primary voters know little about Sanders, so tonight is pivotal. A good performance could make the Democrat race a huge story, regardless of whether Joe Biden runs or not.

I’ve not played this market yet, as everything hinges on Biden’s decision. If the VP runs, he has a great chance in a genuine three-horse race. If not, Clinton will take the world of beating. One good night for Sanders, however, and that assessment could change.


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