Put your money on the barrel: British oddsmakers handicap the presidential race

(Photo: White House video capture)

Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann currently has 7-to-4 odds of emerging victorious from the Iowa caucuses, says a British bookmaking site. On both sides of the big pond, however, bookies and the Iowa Electronic Markets are pointing to President Barack Obama to give a repeat performance in the general.

Ladbrokes.com, a London-based gambling company in existence since 1886, had Bachmann at 5-to-2 odds just two weeks ago, but now sees the Congresswoman as a safer Iowa bet — although perhaps not as ultimately profitable as some other possible wagers.

“If you are using horse-racing strategy, though, and looking for a ‘good price’ — a candidate with a good shot of winning but longer odds and better pay — Texas Gov. Rick Perry has the right stuff for Iowa and is likely to enter the race,” writes Carroll Daily Times Herald columnist Douglas Burns on his personal blog, Iowa Political Alert.

Perry current sits with 6-to-1 odds to take Iowa.

While the Brits might be bullish on Bachmann in Iowa, they cool on her chances of capturing the GOP nomination. Currently, she has 6-to-1 odds in that category — well behind a safer bet for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has 11-to-8 odds of being the party’s nominee. If Bachmann does capture the political party’s flag, Ladbrokes currently gives her 20-to-1 odds at winning the presidency.

President Barack Obama, the British site says, is a 1-to-2 favorite to reclaim the White House in 2012. While not being quite as optimistic on the spread, early trading on the Iowa Electronic Markets also favors Obama.

As political reporter James Q. Lynch of The Gazette notes, “As of 9 a.m. on Thursday, the Democratic contract was trading for 57.2 cents on the IEM’s Winner Take All market, which means traders believe Obama has a 57.2 percent probability of being re-elected.”

The Republican contract was trading at 42.7 cents.

Traders on the IEM, which is run by researchers at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, use real money to make their predictions, and ultimate payoffs are based on 2012 popular election results.

Ladbrokes sees a GOP field in Iowa dominated currently by four candidates — Bachmann, Romney (7-to-2 odds), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (4-to-1 odds) and Perry. The same four are currently offering the best odds for claiming the GOP nomination.

Other candidate odds for the Iowa caucuses are:

Sarah Palin — 10/1
Jon Huntsman — 12/1
Herman Cain — 14/1

Rick Santorum — 20/1
Newt Gingrich — 33/1
Ron Paul — 33/1
Gary Johnson — 50/1

Interestingly, while U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan is given 66-to-1 odds in the general election by the Brits, he is a no-show in the Iowa rankings. Likewise, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is given 25-to-1 odds in the general, but is not present in the caucus tally.

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