I have been tracking the Vegas and British odds on the GOP nomination race since March and I updated them in June. Without getting into the methodology, in the interest of consistency, I use the same three sources (the British odds are a composite of three outlets). Since there are 16 candidates (I excluded Gilmore), they are divided into four tiers of 4 candidates each based on their odds.
Listed below is each candidate in alphabetical order. The numbers in parentheses indicate their odds in April, on June 17, and on August 9 (just after the first debate). Listed next to their name is their most recent odds and tier. Within the parentheses, next to the odds is the tier they fell in. At the end of each analysis is their position in the polls on those dates listed. Without further ado:
1. Jeb Bush at 5:2, Tier I (5-2 I, 2-1 I, 2-1 I)- Bush remains in the top tier at all junctures. Being the “front runner” as concerns the odds makers, there was nowhere to go but down based on his debate performance. Since the debate, however, he has slipped ever so slightly, but is holding his own. (Poll positions- 1, 2, 2, 2)
2. Ben Carson at 16:1, Tier II (45-1 II, 24-1 II, 25-1 III)- The debate did not hurt or help Carson, but since then he has improved in the eyes of the odds makers. Carson is showing amazing staying power despite the lack of political experience. (Poll positions- 5, 4, 4, 3)
3. Chris Christie at 22:1, Tier III (10-1 II, 14-1 II, 19-1 II)- Chrsitie is obviously heading in the wrong direction in all parameters- odds, tier and poll position. Although he received some second looks given his debate performance, he is failing to win anyone over. (Poll positions- 8, 8, 8, 11)
4. [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] at 22:1, Tier III (40-1 II, 24-1 II, 25-1 III)- Known for his debating skills, I do not think the format and limited speaking time allowed those skills to shine. Odds makers still have questions about Cruz. He is safely in the middle of the pack and there is a very small difference between tier II and III. Cruz is positioning himself to be the last most conservative candidate standing which may pay off as others drop out. Poll positions (3, 7, 5, 6).
5. Carly Fiorina at 31:1, Tier III (75-1 IV, 37-1 IV, 33-1 III)- The undisputed winner of the first “other guys” debate, her stock has risen considerably and she is moving up. More people are taking notice of her policies and pointed attacks on Clinton. As it stands now, she will be on the stage with the big boys at the expense of Christie. (Poll positions- 12, 11, 11, 7)
6. [mc_name name=’Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’G000359′ ] at 51:1, Tier IV (100-1 IV, 41-1 IV, 99-1 IV)- It is obvious why Graham is in this race; he is the face of the hawkish wing of the GOP on foreign policy. Essentially a one-trick pony, his presence may simply be to shape the party’s foreign policy platform and little else. (Poll positions- 16,16,16, 15)
7. Mike Huckabee at 21:1, Tier II (25-1 III, 31-1 III, 19-1 II)- Apparently, the debate helped Huckabee among the odds makers since he moved up a tier and in the odds department. For him, the strategy is apparently to use his presence in the debates for free publicity so he has to score points in that forum to stay relevant. However, a single slip and Cruz is positioned to move up. (Poll positions- 6, 5, 4, 8)
8. Bobby Jindal at 50:1, Tier IV (33-1 III, 26-1 III, 54-1 III)- The debate clearly did not help him as he had hoped. The only thing saving him was the fact that others performed worse in the eyes of the odds makers. The next two debates may be do-or-die territory for the Louisiana Governor. (Poll positions- 9, 16, 13, 14)
9. John Kasich at 19:1, Tier II (40-1 III, 30-1 III, 14-1 II)- The debate helped Kasich as he climbed up the odds rankings and moved into that second tier of candidates. With a late entry into the fray, just getting on the prime time stage shows some political acumen. Odds makers and potential voters are taking notice. And unlike others, he maintained some momentum after the debate. Now let’s see how he does without the hometown crowd. (Poll positions- 6, 14, 8, 9)
10. George Pataki at 65:1, Tier IV (100-1 IV, 60-1 IV, 100-1 IV)- The question remains what the hell is he doing in this race? (Poll positions- 16, 16, 16, 16)
11. [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] at 13:1, Tier II (8-1 I, 7-1 I, 19-1 II)- Paul was probably the one candidate most damaged by the debate, but has made a slight comeback since. He was certainly the most feisty debater taking on Trump and Christie. What started as an interesting and promising candidacy is slowly fading into a political footnote. I stand by my original prognosis that he will be the first big name Republican to drop out of the race. (Poll positions- 3, 6, 7, 8)
12. Rick Perry at 46:1, Tier III (50-1 II, 24-1 II, 75-1 IV)- He failed to make prime time and really did not shine in the early debate and was over-shadowed by Fiorina’s performance. Since then, we know the campaign’s financial woes. The fact that Kasich, not Perry, made prime time was a blow to Perry. There is still time to right the ship, but time is running out. (Poll positions- 12, 7, 13, 12)
13. [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] at 6:1, Tier I (12-1 I, 3-1 I, 8-1 I)- Ignore the odds- Rubio remains in the top tier of candidates. Many said that if there had to be a winner in the debate, it was probably Rubio. His follow up appearance at the Redstate Gathering coupled with an attack on Hillary Clinton’s abortion “extremism” did not hurt him either. He remains a very viable candidate, but right now is being over-shadowed by Trump and, to a lesser degree, Bush. (Poll positions- 1, 3, 2, 5)
14. Rick Santorum at 52:1, Tier IV (100- III, 65-1 III, 85-1 IV)- Well, you can’t fault the guy for trying, or can you? The fact is he entered the fray a long shot and remains a long shot and is fading into obscurity. He will not be last-man standing against the eventual nominee this time around. (Poll positions- 13, 15, 13, 13)
15. Donald Trump at 6:1, Tier I (100-1 IV, 55-1 IV, 10-1 I)- Trump arrived on the scene with a bang and is continuing to make his presence felt not only in the polls, but with the odds makers. He has certainly livened up the dog days of August, usually a political bore-fest. He continues to keep his name in the news and is dominating the discussion at this point. And controversy rolls off his back. The fact that he is tied with Walker and Rubio at 6-1 illustrates the surge at their expense. (Poll positions- 9, 14, 1, 1)
16. Scott Walker at 6:1, Tier I (5-2 I, 4-1 I, 3-1 I)- Like Rubio and Bush, Walker remains consistently in the top tier. He would likely be higher in the polls if not for the Trump surge. Walker is not one to dominate the headlines, but if he can channel some of that voter frustration that Trump is feeding off of, he may actually move up. The next two debates could be a golden opportunity. (Poll positions- 2, 2, 4, 4)
In essence, this remains a four man race- Trump, Bush, Rubio and Walker with one realistic second tier candidate lurking (Kasich) and two really good third tier candidates (Cruz and Perry) who could make a move (I give the advantage to Cruz). The next odds will be posted in October after the second debate.