This article first appeared at betting.betfair.com on January 23rd, 2020
America is watching the impeachment trial of Donald Trump but there is no signal whatsoever from Betfair markets that the process is damaging his chances of re-election. No long-term reader of mine will be surprised to learn that I disagree.
Trump odds-on for re-election despite impeachment
Trump is rated 54% likely to win in November at odds of [1.86] – only marginally higher than the low points reached last week. I found that gamble inexplicable and can only think the current market confidence reflects deep scepticism of polls. Here’s the latest round of head-to-head numbers from CNN.
There is no suggestion that he’ll be removed from office – an outcome you can back at [70.0] on the exchange. Republican Senators will not hold Trump to account – even as he confesses and boasts about his guilt regarding the second article of impeachment, Obstruction of Congress.
However there is also no evidence that it the impeachment process is helping, or even shifting what seem to be fixed, polarised views. Trump’s approval rating remains at 43% – lower than any of the last 12 presidents. 51% want him removed from office (a number that has reached 55% elsewhere).
Those and CNN’s numbers fit a wider, long-term picture. He consistently trails his two likeliest opponents – Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders – by margins that would produce a Democrat landslide. Elizabeth Warren leads by slightly less but that may simply be due to voters having a less fixed view about her yet.
The obvious counter-point is that much can change over the course of nine months. Trump was dismissed at this stage in 2016. However given that these trends, whether polls or actual elections, have been grim for Trump ever since he took office, why they would change?
The trial is unlikely to move the needle in his favour or change the conversation. 63% believe Trump has done something illegal, 70% unethical. Numerous polls show around 70% supporting the new witnesses that the Republicans are blocking. The cover-up is transparent and will be unpopular.
Scandals and revelations will persist
There will be no vindication. The plethora of investigations – particularly into the surveillance, intimidation and possible plot to assassinate Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch – will continue.