It's going to be a treacherous midterm election for Democrats if they’re counting on the luck of the Irish.
Irish online gambling companies have staked overwhelming odds against Democrats in this year’s midterm election as bettors around the world lay their money down on Republican and Democratic candidates in races that could shift the majority party in the U.S. Congress.
Of the 33 Senate races ranked by the Irish gambling website Paddy Power, which usually features sports betting with a few political and novelty bets available, 22 of those have odds that favor Republicans, while only 11 races carry odds favoring Democrats.
And only three of the races whose odds favor Democrats are races not being fought by incumbents, whereas 13 of the races favoring Republicans are with non-incumbent candidates, which means that, according to the website’s odds, the GOP is slated to pick up 10 more new seats than Democrats.
Founded 22 years ago, Paddy Power’s website states that it is “Ireland’s biggest and most successful bookmaker” whose mission “is to make ‘risk-based entertainment’ more accessible and fun.”
Rep. Kendrick Meek, Florida’s Democratic Senate candidate, has the poorest odds of all Democrats in the race for upper chamber seats, according to the website. Bettors can wager on Meek winning his state’s Senate race with odds of 40 to 1, which would bring gamblers a $4,000 return for a $100 bet if he won the election.
Independent candidate Charlie Christ has 9 to 2 odds, or a $450 profit for every $100 bet placed. And Republican nominee Marco Rubio, who’s backed by the Tea Party movement, has the best chances of winning and comes with odds of 1 to 8, or about a $12 profit for every $100 wagered if he wins.
The odds ratios on the website largely mirror the latest U.S. polls. For example, a recent Mason-Dixon Research & Associates survey put Rubio with 40 percent of state voters’ support, while 28 percent favor Crist and 23 percent support Meek.
One of the tightest odds on the site comes in Nevada’s Senate race, in which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) carries an 8 to 11 ratio, or about a $72 profit on a $100 bet. Tea Party challenger Sharron Angle, however, would bring bettors a slightly better return of $100, on top of a $100 bet.
Democrats can rest assured in Delaware, though, as their party’s Senate candidate Chris Coons has 1 to 20 odds on the website, which would bring bettors a measly $5 for every $100 they bet, if he wins against Tea Party favorite and Republican challenger Christine O’Donnell. O’Donnell has odds of 7 to 1, or a profit of $700 for every $100 wagered.
The betting profits offered by Paddy Power carry a similar trend to those of another Irish website, Intrade, which allows people to buy political outcomes in the same way they would purchase and trade stocks in an investment market.
Intrade is selling shares that the Republicans will take the House in this year’s midterm election at a rate of 70.3, whereas shares that the Democrats will keep the majority in the House are valued at 28.2.
Republican control of the Senate next Congress is less sure on Intrade, however, with shares offered at 25.1, though they have been steadily growing in worth since mid-May, around the time that Democrats passed the healthcare bill. In mid-August, shares that the Republicans would control the Senate rose sharply, almost doubling their value.