Since the media focuses so much attention on the “horse race” aspect of the presidential race, it’s hard not to get caught up in it. “Who’s ahead?” “Who’s gaining?” “Who’s doping?” “Who’s better in the mud?” You get the picture. And of course, who’s betting how much on whom? We like to watch the odds in the presidential gambling market.
We have mentioned that John Stossel helped set up a rather sophisticated site about how the gambling houses are rating the candidates’ chances. It’s important to watch, they say, because these are not idle opinions, nor partisan rationalizations—this site shows how people are “putting their money where their mouth is.”
Currently, Hillary Clinton is considered the overwhelming favorite, with a 76.6% chance of winning, to Donald Trump’s 20.2% chance. What that means is that if you bet a dollar on The Donald right now, you’ll get five bucks back if he wins in November. I say “currently,” and “right now,” because the general election odds are updated every five minutes. In the primary season, it was amazing to watch how the candidates went up and down from day to day. Likewise, the betting on vice presidential choices.
These odds are just “if the election were held today,” and if I were a betting man, I’d bet the odds will get more and more even going toward election day. In other words, if you’re a Trump fan, put your money down now!
We bring this up now, because they just added a new market. Now, you can bet on how individual states will go in the Electoral College. Here’s the map and link.
If you go to the site, just hover over any state to see how the betting is right now. For instance, the betting is that Trump will take Oklahoma with an 92.5% probability, Arkansas with 90.7, and Alabama with 90.5. Meanwhile, Hillary is expected to take Maryland with a 95.5% probability, New York and Massachusetts with 93.5%, and California with 94.5%.
Of course, these are just what the gamblers think. And they could be wrong. Utah is a good example. It’s the home of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon). Their favorite son, Mitt Romney, has an ongoing feud with Donald Trump. The rumor is that Romney will endorse Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. Yet, even without that, the latest polls show one point difference, each, between Trump, Clinton, and Johnson.
Clinton is making a real push for Utah, and newcomber, Evan McMullen, the new NeverTrump Republican candidate, who just announced his run this week, is Mormon, and will also be campaigning hard there. There’s a possibility Romney could endorse him, instead. Regardless, Trump is running even with Clinton and Johnson, even without the endorsement—and without McMullen in the mix.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet against Trump there, whom gamblers currently give a 71.5% chance of winning Utah’s Electoral Votes.
Many states are considered such a foregone conclusion that there is no market for them. They include Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Alaska, Hawaii, and West Virginia. All but Hawaii are Trump Territory.
According to Politico, there are eleven swing states. These are states that are not taken for granted by either side. Let’s look at what the polls are saying. Then, we’ll look at the betting odds.
The averages for each state include the five most-recent reliable public polls, as determined by POLITICO. This excludes polls conducted entirely over landline phones (which don’t survey the nearly half of Americans who only own a cell phone), but includes surveys conducted by partisan pollsters. For each survey, if the poll includes ballot tests both including and excluding third-party candidates, the data used is whichever matchup is asked first in the available script. . .
Colorado—Advantage Clinton 44%, Trump 36.2%
Florida—Advantage Clinton 44.4, Trump 41.2
Iowa—Advantage Clinton 40.8, Trump 40.2
Michigan—Advantage Clinton 42.6, Trump 33.8
Nevada—Advantage Clinton 44, Trump 42
New Hampshire—Advantage Clinton 43, Trump 39.2
North Carolina—Advantage Clinton 44.4, Trump 40.2
Ohio—Advantage Clinton 43.8, Trump 41.8
Pennsylvania—Advantage Clinton 48.2, Trump 39.2
Virginia—Advantage Clinton 44.2, Trump 37.2
Wisconsin—Advantage Clinton 45.6, Trump 36.6
If you’re a Trump fan, don’t freak. Note that nobody has 50% in any of the swing states. There are a lot of undecided voters, and a lot of things could happen between now and November.
Now, let’s go back to the betting odds. Here are what the gamblers are guessing as the outcome in these same swing states:
Colorado—Advantage Clinton 87.4%, Trump 15.8%
Florida—Advantage Clinton 68.8, Trump 31.2
Iowa—Advantage Clinton 66.2, Trump 33.8
Michigan—Advantage Clinton 84.2, Trump 15.8
Nevada—Advantage Clinton 73.3, Trump 26.7
New Hampshire—Advantage Clinton 77,5, Trump 22.5
North Carolina—Advantage Clinton 59.3, Trump 40.7
Ohio—Advantage Clinton 70.4, Trump 29.6
Pennsylvania—Advantage Clinton 81.6, Trump 18.4
Virginia—Advantage Clinton 85.6, Trump 14.4
Wisconsin—Advantage Clinton 87.5, Trump 12.5
Once again, these are just the betting odds, not the vote prediction. These odds change every five minutes, so they could swing wildly over the next three months. Also remember that Trump’s numbers have suffered from things he has said. If he starts sounding more “presidential,” his numbers could change drastically.
Also, Julian Assange, of Wikileaks is dedicated to helping defeat Hillary. So is Russia’s Vladimir Putin. ISIS would also like to see a President Trump, because they think his style will help their recruitment (although he has said he’ll wipe them out, if elected). The point is, there are a lot of people who have a lot of power, who are dedicated to Hillary’s defeat, so Hillary’s current leads may be wiped out by just one big headline.
And, finally, back to betting. If I were a betting man, I may not want to bet on Trump taking the White House, but I’d be very tempted to bet on his taking some of these battleground states. Look at places I think would be a great bet:
IOWA—Hillary has only a two-point lead in the polls (a statistical tie), but a dollar on Trump will get you three back if he wins the state.
NEVADA—Another two point lead in the polls (statistically tied), but a dollar on Trump will get you four bucks back if he wins the state.
OHIO—Also statistically tied in the polls, but a dollar on Trump will get you almost three back.
Heck, if you put a dollar on each state, and Trump won only one of them, you’d still at least break even! And betting on the outcome in the gambling state of Nevada is such a wonderful irony that I might just do it, anyway.