I (Matt Palumbo) have penned a few pieces on this site previously examining the potential outcome of the election based on what the betting odds tell us. I’ve relied exclusively on the website electionbettingodds.com, which was created by Fox’s John Stossel. His website aggregates betting odds from a number of election betting websites and calculates an implied probability of victory. Believe it or not, the betting odds actually have a better track record of predicting the outcome of an election than the polls do, as they consider other factors that the polls don’t. Election betting is also a form of gambling where insider trading isn’t banned, and those putting their money where their mouths are tend to know a bit more than the rest of us.
After Hillary’s health episode on September 11th and subsequent controversy, the odds changed in Trump’s favor. As of today, Hillary has a 62.7 percent chance of winning the presidency, compared to a 69.2 percent chance before fainting on Sunday. Not only did her odds fall, gamblers began to bet on a new outcome: Hillary dropping out of the election.
As the Daily Caller reported:
Bettors on the popular predictions website PredictIt think there’s a real chance Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will drop out of the race before November, as her fainting spell at the 9/11 Memorial caused a substantial downward shift in her odds of becoming president while boosting the odds of other Democrats.
PredictIt allows users to bet on the outcomes of upcoming events, particularly political ones such as the presidential election or the voting result in individual states. Shares are sold at amounts ranging from 1 cent to 99 cents. If an event happens, the shares are cashed in for a dollar apiece, but if it doesn’t, they become worthless. As a result, an event’s price on PredictIt roughly reflects its perceived likelihood of happening.
Going into Sept. 11, Clinton shares in the presidential election were trading at about 72 cents apiece, but as soon as video emerged of her collapsing while trying to enter a van, the price of Clinton’s shares began to tumble. At day’s end, they were selling for 64 cents apiece, suggesting Clinton’s chances of becoming president fell by about 8 percent purely due to the revelation regarding her health.
Unsurprisingly, Republican nominee Donald Trump benefited from the news, with his share prices rising from about 30 cents to 35 cents. But the real big winners were other prominent Democrats, who all saw their odds of becoming president surge.
Vice President Joe Biden’s shares more than doubled from 3 cents up to 7 cents, before dropping back to 6 cents. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s biggest rival in the Democratic primary race, went from 2 cents to 6 cents, and Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s vice presidential nominee, rose from just 1 cent up to 3 cents. Combined, then, the three major Democrats are having their shares sell at around 15 cents, though the prices continue to fluctuate as trading continues.
In other words, bettors think that even if the Democrats win in November, there’s a nearly 20 percent chance the victor won’t be Clinton.
Separately, a new poll shows half the country thinks Hillary has lied about the state of her health. And a shocking 30 percent believe she wouldn’t last her first term in office. Yikes!
As much as I’d rather have a Republican in the office for a change, a Democrat that’s not Hillary Clinton could be a marginal improvement.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]