Late Out of the Gate, Hart's Still a Long Shot With British Bookies

United Press International

Gary Hart's return to the U.S. political trail has not impressed the British betting firm of William Hill, which has laid odds of 14-1 against his becoming the next American President.

In fact, said the British bookmakers, six and possibly seven other candidates--including evangelist Pat Robertson--have a better chance than the scandal-plagued former Colorado senator of succeeding Ronald Reagan in the White House.

In a year-end revision of odds, William Hill established Vice President George Bush as a clear favorite, at 13-8, to win the presidential election in November and keep the Republicans in power for at least four more years.

Second favorite is Senate GOP leader Bob Dole, at 2-1.

If New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo runs, he would be a 3-1 choice to win, by far the best chance for the Democratic Party.

Otherwise, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, at 6-1 odds, is the Democrats' best hope, followed by Illinois Sen. Paul Simon and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri at 11-1 each. Then came Robertson, at 12-1 and Hart at 14-1.

One surprise was Reagan's former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who has suddenly become "heavily backed" and, as a result, his odds were shortened from 50-1 to 20-1, said a William Hill spokesman.

The spokesman had no immediate explanation for the surprise support for Haig.

The bookmaker quoted the odds on civil rights activist Jesse Jackson at 33-1, Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.) and Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) at 50-1, former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt at 66-1 and former Gov. Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont of Delaware the rank outsider at 100-1.

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