This article first appeared at betting.betfair.com on January 5th, 2022
1: Boris Johnson’s future and the Tory leadership
We start the New Year laser-focused on the same topic with which we ended 2021. Can Boris Johnson survive the year as Conservative Party leader and, if not, who will replace him?
I must reiterate my long-held view that he won’t and am continually adding to what has become a big position. I am amazed that Johnson’s odds to go in 2022 have drifted to [2.86] since the Lib Dems handed the Tories a stunning thrashing in the North Shropshire by-election. Laying [2.3] about him surviving until 2024 also strongly appeals.
My view is Johnson will resign around May, after tax, NI and energy price rises contribute towards a disastrous set of local election results. The summer will then be dominated by the Tory leadership contest. The Betfair market currently points towards Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss as the principal contenders, at odds of [3.8] and [5.1].
2: Will Macron win a second term?
The biggest national election of 2022 is in France, for which Emmanuel Macron is a solid favourite to win a second term, at odds of [1.6]. However those odds could fluctuate dramatically depending on how the opposition sorts itself out.
French elections are a two-stage process. A wide first round field is whittled down to a match-up, with the top-two going through to a run-off. In 2017 Macron trounced Marine Le Pen 66-34 in that run-off, as the French electorate predictably united against the far-right candidate, just as they did against her father in 2002.
Le Pen may well be Macron’s opponent again but the far-right is split this time, with Eric Zemmour taking even more extreme positions. That could open the door for the Republican candidate Valerie Pecresse or even somebody from the Left. Assuming he makes the final-two – a [1.17] chance – Macron would be extremely short if pitched against either far-right candidate. Pecresse, however, would be a much tougher proposition.
3: Biden staring at mid-term disaster
November sees a wide range of betting heats in the USA, with elections for Congress and various Governors races. Historically these ‘mid-terms’ are bad for the party holding the White House and the early signals are grim for Joe Biden.
Biden’s approval ratings have fallen sharply, as inflation hits the US economy and some of his agenda stalls in Congress. Democrats suffered a devastating reverse in the Virginia Governor’s race. Amid that climate, the Republicans have been gambled down to just [1.15] to win the House of Representatives and [1.44] for a majority in the Senate.
Besides all the margin and specific state betting opportunities, watch for their impact on the 2024 US Presidential Election. Losing Congress would ruin Biden’s legislative agenda and speculation will doubtless rise about him opting out of running again. Donald Trump, meanwhile, would likely confirm his candidacy. The former president is currently favourite for 2024, at odds of [4.5].