The Racing Card

The Bet - Who will be the next US president?

Al Gore: 8-11
George Bush Jr: evens

(Source William Hill)

When we last looked at the odds for the next US president, in February, Al Gore was even money favourite and George Bush was 13-8. John McCain was still giving Bush a good run for his money, but could never survive the negative campaign funded by Bush's huge budget.

By the end of the Republican conference, the pundits and polls had written off Gore. This did seem odd, because all the Republicans had done was tell the whole of America that they were no longer nasty but nice. Bush's lead in the polls lasted about as long as William Hague's brief revival before we all went on our hols. It seems that the American public has not been fooled by "caring conservatism", just as the British public doesn't buy the Tory "common sense revolution".

The main reason why Gore has been reinstalled as favourite is the performance of Gore himself, particularly at the Democratic convention. Apart from the longest political "snog" in history, he made it clear that he was "his own man", throwing off the Clinton baggage but, at the same time, claiming credit for the economy. The man behind Gore's campaign, who almost certainly wrote all the best lines in his speech, is Bob Shrum, a close friend of Gordon Brown. Shrum has certainly learnt a lot from Gordon, because Gore's references to "working families" could have come from the lips of the Chancellor himself. As the latest polls show Gore surging ahead, Bush has become rattled, but I'm not convinced that calling a journalist "a major league asshole" will lose him votes.

I recommended a large punt on Gore at the beginning of the year and see no reason to change that advice. One man has waged £3,000 on Gore with William Hill.