US Elections: The favourites for 2016


 The four early favourites for the 2016 US Presidential election and the Ladbrokes odds against them winning. Clockwise from top-left: Hillary Clinton, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio and Joe Biden. Graphic: Carla Millar

Even so soon after President Obama’s reelection, speculation over who might replace him in January 2017 is already in full swing. Here are the early favourites, as judged by Ladbrokes:


Paul Ryan: Nominee 5/1, President 12/1
The Congressman from Wisconsin has gained national prominence as chair of the House Budget Committee and more recently as Mitt Romney’s running mate, setting him up as the early favourite to be the GOP’s next nominee. But if he were to be successful in the primaries, it’d be only the second time ever a losing Vice Presidential candidate had won the nomination four years later. Of the 16 losing VP nominees since the Second World War, eight ran for their party’s nomination in the next election, and only one — Walter Mondale — secured it. He went on to lose to Ronald Reagan in 1984.


In fact, only one failed VP candidate has ever ascended to the White House: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who lost as James M Cox’s running mate in 1920 before becoming President in 1932. Assuming he’s still a Congressman by then, Ryan would also be only the second sitting member of the House of Representatives to become President — the other being James A Garfield in 1880.

Marco Rubio: Nominee 6/1, President 12/1
Tea Party favourite Marco Rubio was elected to the Senate from Florida in 2010, and by the summer of 2011 was the strong favourite to be this year’s Republican Vice Presidential candidate. Although Romney ultimately chose Ryan, Rubio remains a favourite of the right, and his Cuban roots are seen as a chance for the GOP to connect with the growing number of Hispanic voters — Barack Obama won the Latino vote 71-27 this year. Rubio did his 2016 chances no harm at all by putting in the strongest speech of this year’s Republican convention, and was in Iowa — home of the first caucuses — last night.

Jeb Bush: Nominee 8/1, President 16/1
George W’s younger brother — the former Governor of Florida — has a close relationship with Rubio and so is unlikely to run against him. If Rubio passes on the race, though, Bush could be a strong competitor. He too has strong connections with the Hispanic community: his wife Columba is from Mexico, and he is popular among Florida’s Cuban Americans. He has also called for the GOP to be more moderate on immigration, a stance that would help him in the general election but might harm his chances of winning the nomination. If he does run, he’ll be hoping that — seven years after big brother left office — the Bush name will have lost some of its toxicity.

Chris Christie: Nominee 8/1, President 16/1
A couple of weeks ago, Politico reported that the New Jersey Governor had been Romney’s initial preference for VP before he settled on Ryan. His appeal was obvious: considered a ‘true conservative’ by the right, but with enough support among independents to be elected to run a Democrat-leaning state. But he might now find it hard to get through the Republican primaries, with many on the Republican right blaming him for hurting Romney by appearing with and praising Obama during their response to Hurricane Sandy. He also has a significant hurdle to clear next year, when he’ll be up for reelection in New Jersey. If he were to run for that and lose, it’d put a big dent in his ‘elecability’ credentials.

Bobby Jindal: Nominee 12/1, President 25/1
Jindal will complete his second and final term as Governor of Louisiana in January 2016, and is considered almost certain to make a run for the Presidency. As an Indian American, his candidacy would help the Republicans with their ‘all white’ image problem, and he has a consistently conservative record that shouldn’t be a problem with Republican primary voters. But his big outing on the national stage — providing the Republican response to Obama’s 2009 State of the Union — was a flop, with Jindal putting in a very awkward performance.

Condoleezza Rice: Nominee 12/1, President 25/1
The former Secretary of State to George W Bush was very briefly the subject of a flurry of VP speculation in July. After that died down, she sparked talk of a 2016 bid by alluding to the possibility of her becoming President in her speech at the Republican convention. Having previously described herself as ‘mildly pro-choice’, she may struggle to make it through the Republican primaries if she does run, and her involvement in Bush-administration foreign policy won’t help either. But she might be seen as a good chance for the GOP to improve its standing among both women and African Americans.


Hillary Clinton: Nominee 3/1, President 5/1
Hillary finds herself in the same position as she did after the 2004 election: the early favourite, for both the Democratic nomination and the Presidency itself. Of course, we all know how it turned out back then, but she has acquitted herself well as Secretary of State and has much better favourability ratings than she did eight years ago. And crucially, whereas many Democrats saw Bill as a liability in 2006 (prompting some to implore Obama to run against Hillary), he has re-established himself in the last few months as one of their strongest electoral assets. With no Obama-type star on the horizon, it’d be hard to see any other Democrat stopping Hillary if she decides to run.

Joe Biden: Nominee 8/1, President 16/1
The Vice President will be 73 in 2016, so if he did run he’d be aiming to be the oldest person ever elected President. But he has hinted at the possibility: when asked on election day if it would be the last time he voted for himself, he said ‘No, I don’t think so.’ And, defending Obamacare to a Republican, he joked ‘And after it’s all over, when your insurance rates go down, then you’ll vote for me in 2016.’

Andrew Cuomo: Nominee 12/1, President 25/1
Mario Cuomo was Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994 and the subject of Presidential speculation in 1988 and 1992. Now his son Andrew — elected Governor of New York in 2010 — finds himself in the same position. If neither Clinton nor Biden decide to run, Cuomo would start as frontrunner for the nomination. He has the high-profile office, the proven fundraising ability and the star name to make him a strong candidate — and is a hero among the LGBT community, having successfully pushed for the legalisation of same-sex marriage in his state.

Martin O’Malley: Nominee 12/1, President 25/1
The Maryland Governor has used his position as chair of the Democratic Governors Association to raise his national profile, appearing regularly on the political talk shows, and has his own Political Action Committee: the O’ Say Can You See PAC. Like Cuomo, he’s successfully pushed through same sex marriage legislation in his state. Of the potential Democratic candidates, he seems to be the closest to throwing his hat into the ring.

Elizabeth Warren: Nominee 20/1, President 33/1
Having only won her first elected for the first time last week, the Senator-Elect from Massachusetts will have just three years of experience in Congress in 2016. But then that’s just as much as Obama had in 2008, and Warren has plenty of other experience of the federal government. She headed the oversight panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program after the financial crash, and then set up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011. The Harvard Law Professor proved a very strong fundraiser in her Senate race this year — she had taken in $38.8 million by mid-October — and is very popular among liberals, but so far has said she won’t be running for President in 2016.

Having won the popular vote in five of the last six elections, the Democrats are considered the slight early favourites to hold the White House in 2016 (Ladbrokes odds: 4/5 against). But it’s perhaps worth noting that the four favourites for the Republican nomination are from important swing states (Wisconsin and Florida) or potential swing states (New Jersey), whereas none of the five Democratic favourites are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The Spectator


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