Election 2016

What Are the Odds You Know Who's Going To Be President?

Prediction markets do better than pundits or polls.

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Want to know who the next president will be?

Don't trust polls or pundits. Betting odds at ElectionBettingOdds.com are the best predictor of who will win any election.

Pundits have a terrible track record. Last election, Newt Gingrich and Dick Morris forecast a Romney "landslide." Rush Limbaugh said, "All my thinking says Romney big… It's not even close."

Polls are better, but not much. That's because you are not normal. Since you read this column, you are different from most voters. You think a lot about politics. Most Americans don't.

People think about food, sex, money, friends, jobs, success, family, health, religion, sports, fashion, video games, money, sex, food (I know I repeated those last three, but that's where most people's heads are). Presidential nominees are not yet taking up space in most people's minds.

When a polling company reaches the rare person willing to talk to a stranger on the phone, chances are that person is not well-informed about politics. "Who do I support for the nomination? Uh, who's running? I'm embarrassed! Oh, yes, Donald Trump!"

Polls reveal only a snapshot of current opinion. In 2011, Rick Perry led the polls for the GOP nomination with Trump-like 31 percent support. By October, Herman Cain was ahead. By December, Newt Gingrich.

But people who bet knew better. They picked Romney. Likewise, bettors anticipated the Obama victory that many polls and pundits missed.

Despite bettors' good track record, few people know about the odds or how they're created. Here's how: computers average bets made on "prediction markets," where traders buy and sell shares—like stocks—on each candidate. As I write, a share of Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination effectively costs 23 cents. If Trump wins, everyone who owns that share gets $1. That implies Trump has a 23 percent chance of winning the nomination.

Unfortunately, American politicians banned political prediction markets, with a few exceptions, like PredictIt.com. But candidates' odds are somewhat off on that site because bettors may not trade more than $850 per candidate.

The odds on the big unrestricted market in England, Betfair.com, are much more informative. Betfair posts those odds in arcane gambling formulas, so producer Maxim Lott and I created the website ElectionBettingOdds.com. 'It shows the odds more clearly and will automatically update them every five minutes.

Right now, bettors know that Trump, even though he is ahead in polls, is unlikely to be the nominee. Marco Rubio is the favorite. Ted Cruz comes in second. Trump and Jeb Bush are third and fourth.

Sadly, Hillary Clinton is a 95 percent favorite to win the Democratic nomination and has a 55 percent chance of becoming our next president. Yikes!

Think the odds are wrong? Put your money where your mouth is! You could win money.

Prediction markets have a long track record. University of North Carolina researchers found that from 1868 to 1940, prediction markets "did a remarkable job forecasting elections." More than $100 million was bet, sometimes exceeding the value of shares changing hands on Wall Street. Newspapers ran headlines like "Betting Odds on Roosevelt Rise to 7 to 1."

But the markets disappeared because America's elites don't like the idea of ordinary folks betting on important events.

Economist Robin Hanson says, "All our familiar financial institutions were once banned as illegal gambling. Stock markets, commodity markets, insurance was banned."

That's dumb, because nothing is better at predicting the future. European prediction markets are good at predicting Oscar winners, weather disasters, even "American Idol" winners. They're not perfect, of course, but they're better than everything else.

That's why the Department of Defense once asked Hanson to create a market to predict things like wars and terrorism. But when it was publicized, outraged Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) held a news conference to say "encouraging people to bet on and make money from atrocities … needs to be stopped immediately."

It was.

A few years later, politicians killed a prediction market that would merely have let people bet on the success of Hollywood films. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) complained the Hollywood stock exchange would lead to "speculation that is even more risky than the typical financial product."

It might. But so what? In a free country, adults ought to be allowed to speculate.

Fortunately, American politicians don't control the entire world, so I offer you the most accurate presidential race odds: ElectionBettingOdds.com.

NEXT: Libertarian Lawyer Clint Bolick Appointed to Arizona Supreme Court

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  1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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    1. But how much of that are you willing to bet on who will be president?

  2. Polls and betting sites are both terrible at predicting election outcomes … until two weeks before the election, which is when 80% of voters actually decide how they will vote.

    1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

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    2. Good point. If the betting markets were accurate *in advance*, then the candidate predicted to win at about 2 months ago, now, 2 months from now, and 2 months before the election would all be the same. But they’re not. The betting markets are changing all the time. Just like Vegas odds sportsbooks. The odds shift over time. The accuracy isn’t very good until it gets closer to election time. Just like with polls. They are more accurate the closer it gets to election day. However, I would bet that betting markets are a bit more accurate than polls most of the time. Just a bit.

  3. I think there are 2 factors which will determine the outcome.

    1. the economy
    2. terrorist attacks

    If we hit a recession or have a Paris like attack within 90 days of the election I’d bet on the gop nominee. If both its a landslide. If neither happens, Hillary gets her turn. Who would be the giant douche and who would be the turd sandwich?

    1. I do not buy this line that Hillary has it in the bag. She’ll get the nomination, but she won’t win the election.

      I simply cannot fathom who is actually going to go out and vote for her in November. This election is *nothing* like the Obobo coronations, there is *zero* enthusiasm for her. The media will not even be able to appear convincing when they attempt to fawn over this old snake, fuck I grew up in the 90’s and she was already old news back then. Now the left wants to dig her up and pretend she’s the latest greatest thing lol

      Obo was put in office with a record black and minority turnout (and even with that, he barely won in 2012). How many blacks do you think are going to show up and vote for her? They won’t even know or care about it. If you actually know any blacks in the real world, you know it’s generally safe to assume they aren’t going to give a warm shit about this election.

      1. It doesn’t matter. She’s well-known, a woman, and she’s a Democrat. That’s enough for the undecideds(read:Democrats who don’t follow politics), women who aren’t staunchly conservative(read:most), and minorities. I’m far from being an Obama fan, but I’m telling you that in 2 years we’re going to be talking about how much we miss him.

        1. Agreed, EThos29. Excitement and enthusiasm aren’t necessarily part of the voting process for most Americans. I suspect for many folks it involves a mild sigh, a roll of the eyes, and a fallacious decision not to “waste” their vote.

          Stupid as hell, but that’s the world we live in. And Godzillary’s chances are much more understandable in that context.

  4. Better than Reason magazine.

  5. They would be even better if the link weren’t broken…
    Here it is if you don’t feel like typing it in your browser…

    One caveat, since gambling is of course immoral and will quickly turn an honest person into a drug abusing communist homeless pedophile, our all knowing government has thus ruled online gambling is illegal. Thus the market they are sourcing comes from the UK whose leaders are not quite so all knowing (or gambling isn’t immoral there, they are after all a Bizzaro version of America with cars on the left side of the road, warm beer, and hot ice tea). Officially it is closed to Americans who would likely be the most knowledgeable of the subject of US elections. I’m sure many Americans do still participate (and God help their poor families), but I’m wondering how much that skews its predictions.

    1. Oh, he covers my caveat in page two…

  6. Stoss is the boss.

    There needs to be a Citizens United for betting on politics.

  7. God help us if Hillary or Bernie get elected. I hope like hell the poll Stossel cites is wrong!!

  8. Sadly, Hillary Clinton is a 95 percent favorite to win the Democratic nomination and has a 55 percent chance of becoming our next president. Yikes!

    Think the odds are wrong? Put your money a pistol where your mouth is!

  9. That’s why the Department of Defense once asked Hanson to create a market to predict things like wars and terrorism. But when it was publicized, outraged Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) held a news conference to say “encouraging people to bet on and make money from atrocities … needs to be stopped immediately.”

    The “D” next to those names does not surprise me.

  10. There’s a special hubris that humans need to “know” the future . . . before it even happens. I claim no expertise in mathematics or statistical analysis but probabilities is just educated guessing based on assumptions and imperfect data (cause you can’t know what hasn’t happened.)
    The humorous part is exemplified by what I imperfectly understand to be the metaphor (?) of Schrodinger’s Cat. The recognition that the observer doesn’t know if the cat is dead or alive is resolved by . . . declaring the cat is simultaneously both dead AND alive. Wow!
    If a tree falls in the forest . . .
    We’ll know who won the election when Congress has confirmed the election. Until then pay attention to the road. It’s not like there aren’t enough things that are actually occurring to keep us busy.

    1. Well you must be just awesome at parties…

  11. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.buzznews99.com

  12. The problem with this market is that it isn’t that deep. 1.2 million GBP total bets? And a wire act violation for betting in the US, right? It is a lot more useful than polls but at 54.9% for Hillary, that’s basically saying that she is certain to get the nomination and is a D without an R opponent. Once there is a GOP nominee then I’ll be interested. Hillary, in hiding, without an opponent, think market, shit, if I could bet the field or sell Hillary shares I would at that price.

  13. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

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    ? ? ? ? http://www.WorkPost30.com

  14. I know with 100% certainty that Hillary will be the next president. Who’s going to be president is always pretty obvious early into the party nomination processes. Rubio could’ve beaten her, maybe, but he’s been in the shadow of Trump for months and months already. People need to know who you are BEFORE you get the nomination.

  15. My first job out of High School was at St Paul and over the next 5 years Iearned so very much. Seeing the hospital torn down tears a small piece of my heart out. The Daughters of Charity and the doctors and staff of St Paul Hospital will always be with me.
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  16. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ? http://www.WorkPost30.com

  17. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
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  18. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ????? ??????

  19. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ????? ??????

  20. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ????? ??????

  21. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ????? ??????

  22. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ????? ??????

  23. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
    ???? ????? ??????
    ???? ????? ??????

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