On what feels like it will be the most important night yet of this election, we have ten races to predict and play. Some of the odds have changed in the meantime, but yesterday’s piece offers a brief overview.
First, lets start with a bet.
On the one hand, the lack of useful data from Missouri is frustrating. On the other, it could offer an angle. On paper, this is definitely Ted Cruz’s chance of the night and, given his recent progress, particularly in nearby states, I make him the favourite. The market says otherwise.
Cruz has won in neighbouring Iowa, by a landslide in Kansas and pulled off an upset in Oklahoma. In Kentucky, he lost to Trump but closed the gap among later voters, following what I reckon was a turning point against Trump in the wider race. He lost Arkansas on the first Super Tuesday, but again only by a narrow margin.
I think the game has changed for Cruz since Mar 1st. Then, he was battling Marco Rubio for votes in the South and that split cost both of them dearly. Now, Rubio is apparently absent in Missouri.
The worry is that this is an open primary, which favours Trump. Independents also have the option of voting in a tight Democrat race so their decision is of paramount importance.
This is also a test of whether endless coverage of violence at Trump riots has damaged him. Conventional wisdom says it would, but nothing about the Trump candidacy has been conventional.
Elsewhere, I’m still weighing up whether to bet. Missouri is also interesting on the Democrat side, with Bernie Sanders the subject of a significant gamble. He’s now rated around 1.5 (67%).
In Ohio, I expect John Kasich to deliver at odds-on, with the help of anti-Trump voters and perhaps some Democrat switchers who recognise the importance of the occasion. This last point makes the Democrat race even harder to predict. Again Sanders has been gambled in from massive odds, but Clinton remains favourite.
But perhaps the most exciting state to watch is Illinois. I’m hearing reports of massive crowds at Cruz events and the polls point to him being the clear anti-Trump choice, with a large Rubio/Kasich vote there to squeeze. He is very interesting at 4.0 (25%) although again the fact it is an open primary favours Trump. I’ve also got little need to back Cruz in Illinois as a victory there would be fantastic for my wider positions.
Likewise, the Democrat race is deemed too close to call, as you can see from my 50/50 prediction below!
Florida and North Carolina look set for straightforward victories for the favourite. Here, for the record, are all my predictions.
GOP: CRUZ 45, TRUMP 39
DEM: SANDERS 54, CLINTON 46
GOP: TRUMP 46, RUBIO 28, CRUZ 18
DEM: CLINTON 63, SANDERS 37
GOP: KASICH 42, TRUMP 36, CRUZ 18
DEM: CLINTON 53, SANDERS 47
GOP: TRUMP 37, CRUZ 36, KASICH 18
DEM: CLINTON 50, SANDERS 50
TRUMP 45, CRUZ 38
CLINTON 62, SANDERS 38