Quantcast
Connect with us

After weeks of chaos, the ‘smart money’ is backing Donald Trump

Published

on

In the wake of Donald Trump’s blowout victory amid the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, the money has been piling on the billionaire businessman from New York to sweep all aside on the way to a coronation at the Republican convention. But just how smart is this money?

After all, Trump was also favourite to win the Iowa caucuses, not only in the betting markets but also in the polls and the pundits’ conventional wisdom. In the event, he lost Iowa to Ted Cruz, the arch-conservative senator from Texas.

ADVERTISEMENT

He also only narrowly bested Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who was suddenly being talked about as the main contender for the nomination – heralding a volatile period that sent the markets haywire.

Rubio flails

It seems absurd that Rubio could vault past Trump after placing behind him, but that’s down to a little thing called the expectations game. If you can deflate expectations and come third, that’s somehow seen as better than attracting high expectations and coming second. It may not do much for you in the Olympics, but it matters a lot in politics.

It worked for Rubio until a fateful pre-New Hampshire debate encounter with New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. In a calamity that’s been compared to a scene from The Stepford Wives where a suburban woman suffers a circuitry meltdown, revealing her to be a robot, Rubio haplessly began repeating the same scripted attack on Barack Obama over and over again.

He promptly plummeted in the betting markets’ estimation, and eventually finished a poor fifth in New Hampshire. In his concession speech, he admitted that he had malfunctioned during the debate, but promised that systems were now restored and that no further meltdown would occur.

He seems to have been true to his word, but the drubbing Trump dealt him in the subsequent South Carolina primary suggested that the damage had already been done. Even so, Rubio’s stock had shown remarkable resilience in the betting, vying pre-Nevada with Trump for the shortest odds in the nomination market.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ted in the water

Meanwhile, Cruz – who won Iowa against the odds – has lengthened to odds usually indicative of someone with no chance at all. Why so? After all, he only narrowly lost the runner-up slot in South Carolina to Rubio, and performed similarly in Nevada. He also has plenty of money on hand. Part of the reason is that he’s losing against Trump among his own base of arch-conservative religious evangelicals – and was unable to beat Rubio even in South Carolina, whose demographics should have made it prime Cruz territory.

The Cruz brand has also earned something of a reputation for dirty tricks. On the night of the Iowa caucuses his team spread rumours that rival candidate Ben Carson was bowing out of the race. Before South Carolina, the campaign clumsily photoshopped Rubio’s onto someone else shaking hands with Obama at the White House. Most recently, they released a video in which subtitles over Rubio’s slightly garbled speech suggest he was mocking the Bible, when in fact he did the exact opposite.

So where can Cruz go? Home to Texas, where he’ll be hoping for a very strong showing when the state holds its primary on March 1. He’ll need to win big to change the betting markets’ mind: they put his odds of clinching the keys to the White House at as long as 150-to-1.

ADVERTISEMENT

On with the show

With Nevada out of the way and the Trump campaign in full swing, the markets see the future pretty clearly.

Trump is now trading at short odds on (2-to-5) to win the Republican nomination, while Rubio is available at about 3-to-1 against. That makes Trump the roughly 7-in-10 favourite to become the Republican standard-bearer for the general election, with Rubio’s chances about 1-in-4.

ADVERTISEMENT

The odds have been shuffled on the Democratic side too. The “Bern” that Bernie Sanders was feeling after routing Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire was reduced to something of a fizzle in Nevada, where she beat him by a comfortable five points. Nevada’s caucuses resolve ties by means of a card draw. At one deadlocked caucus in the town of Pahrump, an ace was drawn for Clinton against a six for Sanders, an apt representation of the night he had.

Sanders now faces Clinton in South Carolina, where she’s the heavy favourite. She’s also now a best priced 1-to-6 to secure the nomination, as a slew of southern and western states expected to fall to her line up to vote in the next three weeks. She is currently the odds on favourite (4-to-5) to win the presidency.

And so they all march on to Super Tuesday, when an array of states large and small will make their decisions – and potentially scramble the odds once again.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Conversation

By Leighton Vaughan Williams, Professor of Economics and Finance and Director, Betting Research Unit & Political Forecasting Unit, Nottingham Trent University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

Published

on

According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

After Trump: No free pass for Republicans — they own this nightmare

Published

on

With the impeachment inquiry leveling up this month as public hearings begin, and with an election that might actually be the end of Donald Trump now less than a year away, the campaign to let Trump's Republican allies — even the most villainous offenders — move on and pretend this never happened is already underway.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Sadly, the clearest articulation of the let-bygones-be-bygones mentality has come from a Democrat — unsurprisingly, former Vice President Joe Biden.Biden, who is still, somehow, the frontrunner in Democratic primary polling, spoke at a chi-chi fundraiser on Wednesday, and dropped this pearl of wisdom: "With Donald Trump out of the way, you’re going to see a number of my Republican colleagues have an epiphany."

Continue Reading
 

Elections 2016

As climate crisis-fueled fires rage, fears grow of an ‘uninhabitable’ California

Published

on

As activist Bill McKibben put it, "We've simply got to slow down the climate crisis."

With wildfires raging across California on Wednesday—and with portions of the state living under an unprecedented "Extreme Red Flag Warning" issued by the National Weather Service due to the severe conditions—some climate experts are openly wondering if this kind of harrowing "new normal" brought on by the climate crisis could make vast regions of the country entirely uninhabitable.

Continue Reading