Eight weeks tomorrow, US voters head to the polls for arguably the most important mid-term elections in their history. At stake is control of the House of Representatives, Senate and potentially by extension, the survival of the Trump Presidency. If Democrats win the first, they will likely start impeachment proceedings although they’ll need to win the backing of two thirds of Senators to succeed.
Betfair markets rate the Democrats 64% likely to regain the House and the Republicans 71% to retain the Senate at respective odds of 1.57 and 1.41. In addition to those nationwide races, we’re offering markets on all the individual contests.
In terms of public interest, electoral significance and simply entertainment value, the Texas Senate race has no competition. US media have been covering it for months and some even talk about the two combatants going head to head in 2020 for the White House.
In the red corner, we have Ted Cruz – the only Republican to give Trump a tough race in 2016. In blue, Beto O’Rourke – increasingly hyped as the great Democrat hope. Polls point to a surprisingly close contest, given that Cruz won this seat by 16% on the same 2012 day that Barack Obama won a second term as President.
O’Rourke odds halved in early gamble
When the market opened, Cruz was matched at just 1.15. Ever since, as news of the O’Rourke campaign has travelled and speculation of a Blue Wave has grown, the incumbent is out to 1.4.
It must be noted that Democrats have been overhyping their chances in Texas for years. It remains merely a long-term target, based on a growing Hispanic population and increasingly liberal cities. To date, the breakthrough hasn’t come close to materialising, particularly due to the perennial liberal weakness – low registration and turnout.
In any normal era, with less famous candidates, the Republican would be a shoo-in. However this year and this pair may be different. If would-be Democrats can’t be motivated to register and vote this time, they never will.