US Presidential Election: Obama to win but there's value in New Hampshire

Now is decision time

Mike Robb has followed the US Presidential race through drama, division and intrigue - and there's probably plenty of all three still to come - but the hour is almost upon us and it's time for our man to tell us who he thinks will be in the White House come January. 

If you are a short odds punter, the 1.271/4 on Obama winning might tempt, but for the more adventurous amongst you who believe the result will be close, the 2.568/5 on Romney winning more than 250 Electoral College votes – and Barack Obama, by default, less than 288 – should be more appealing.


On the eve of the US Presidential Election, this race is widely reported to be the closest since the Gore/Bush contest in 2000. But if you look at the Betfair market things appear far more clear-cut, with Barack Obama currently 1.271/4 favourite (an implied 79 percent chance) to be re-elected come Wednesday morning. Whether you believe the Betfair market, the polling or the wider media narrative of things being too-close-to-call, some of the best betting opportunities for tomorrow night are undoubtedly to be found in the state markets.

My bet of the night: Mitt Romney to win New Hampshire at 4.03/1

Mitt Romney announced his candidacy to be the Republican Party's nominee in Stratham, New Hampshire, in June 2011; Romney visited New Hampshire more than any other candidate during the Republican primaries, on 37 different occasions; Romney selected New Hampshire to re-launch his campaign after it became clear he had won that nomination in April; and Romney will hold the final event of his 2012 campaign, a somewhat prematurely-named 'Victory Rally', in Manchester, New Hampshire, at 21:30 this evening.

Be in no doubt that the Romney campaign is taking New Hampshire extremely seriously indeed and has it marked as a must-win in its strategy. Whilst only yielding four Electoral College votes, there are a number of permutations where Romney can lose in Ohio and still win the race, but almost all of those scenarios require a win in New Hampshire.

It's the beauty of the 'math' of the system that a tiny state like this can make the difference between winning and losing - if Al Gore had won there in 2000, George W. Bush would never have made it to the White House. Make no mistake, the effort Romney has made in the state during both the primaries and in the General Election is very much sincere.

Put all that effort and emphasis aside, Romney - previously governor of neighbouring Massachusetts and who now owns a home in New Hampshire - resonates with New Hampshire voters. Lest we forget, this is a state where any candidate of any political party running for office must sign a declaration stating that they will not introduce any kind of income tax at all. Ripe ground for the GOP.

Latest polls put Obama 1.5 percent ahead in NH, very much within the margin of error, and with 3.5 percent still said to be undecided. Take all this into account and Mitt Romney is a cracking bet at 4.03/1 to win the Granite State.

Final prediction - Who wins?

Mitt Romney needs an upset. Even if he goes on to win Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, which are all very winnable, and adds Colorado and New Hampshire to that list of winning swing states, he still loses in the Electoral College by 277 to 261. He needs to add a surprise in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin or Ohio, the latter perhaps most winnable, to take him to the magic 270 in the Electoral College.

It's far from sewn-up for Obama but in US Presidential Elections, if you miss by an inch you miss by a mile, and I think Romney will miss tomorrow night. If you are a short odds punter, the 1.271/4 on Obama winning might tempt, but for the more adventurous amongst you who believe the result will be close, the 2.568/5 on Romney winning more than 250 Electoral College votes - and Barack Obama, by default, less than 288 - should be more appealing.

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