The majority of the country believes that Donald Trump is the next president of the United States, but the outcome of the 2016 presidential election is far from settled.
Thanks to American betting outlets such as BetOnline, we now know just how much money was wagered on the outcomes of the 2016 presidential election. By analyzing betting data from across the country, we can reveal the extent of interest in the US presidential election and where people placed their bets.
Before we begin, it’s important to remember that the majority of the betting took place before the election even began in earnest. Early betting began on October 1st and continued into the third week of November as the election race remained too close to call. As a result, early investors made very good money indeed. While it’s impossible to determine the winning candidate based on early betting alone, it is possible to get a general idea of the scale of the interest in the election.
2016 Electorate as a Whole Bets Big
The graph below shows the total amount of money wagered on the outcomes of the 2016 U.S. presidential election as of November 30th. The total amount of money wagered was $16.6 billion. If we compare this figure to previous election cycles, it’s clear that the 2016 election saw a large amount of interest. The total amount of money wagered in 2008 was just $7.5 billion and it decreased every year until 2012 when it reached its lowest point since 1968. After 2012, the total amount of money wagered increased each year until 2016 reached its highest point since 1948.
It’s also important to remember that a large percentage of the 2016 bets were placed in the early months of the year. The vast majority of wagers were placed before the beginning of February when the odds of Hillary Clinton winning began to decline.
Tulsi Win Biggest On The Board
In the last presidential election, the biggest spenders were Tulsi and BetOnClinton. The former placed the majority of its wagers on Hillary Clinton while the latter placed a large majority of its bets on Donald Trump. This year, both had high hopes for the opposing candidate and neither saw their predictions come true. A look at the top 20 wagering accounts shows that they placed a total of $7 million on Biden and $5.9 million on Sanders.
The graph below shows the top 20 wagering accounts as of November 30th. The table below contains a breakdown of their wager.
Trump In First
As we’ve established, the majority of the 2016 bets were placed on Donald Trump. This was largely due to pre-election polls which showed that nearly half of all Americans believed that the businessman would be the best candidate to lead the free world. The interest in Trump was so great that even those who didn’t intend to bet did so nonetheless as a precaution. The graph below illustrates the interest in Trump and it shows that his odds of winning dropped from +450 in early October to +275 on November 1st.
Despite this, Trump’s odds of winning continued to decline throughout the month of October and the final odds given for the election were +240. It’s important to remember that these are betting odds and they don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the majority of Americans. With less than 100 days until the inauguration, people were still hedging their bets.
Clinton Steady Despite Early Interest
While Trump’s odds of winning declined, so too did the interest in Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of state’s odds of winning first began to decline as soon as the primaries began and they continued to drop throughout the year until they hit a record low of +135 on October 1st. The odds of Clinton winning then increased to its usual level (+175) around the time of the election. The graph below illustrates this steady decline in interest in her campaign.
It seems that Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning were so low that even those who didn’t want her to win were afraid to bet against her. The interest in the election was also reflected in the volumes of wagers, with almost 200,000 bets placed on the election as compared to 40,000 on Bernie Sanders. This is shown in the table below. The interest in Hillary Clinton also extended to those who wanted to place a bet on her but didn’t have any money to wager. Bookmakers took the bet, reimbursed the individual and gave them the victory. In some cases, people placed bets on both sides of the race as hedging their bets. This is often the result of having both Democratic and Republican parties on a ballot in a particular state.
One interesting thing to note is that despite the interest in her campaign, Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning never reached the levels seen before the primaries began. This may be because so many people placed bets on Donald Trump or, more likely, it could be because so many people were wary of betting on a losing candidate. Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say that Hillary Clinton’s odds of winning never looked so good.
Where Did The Interest In The Election Come From?
The graph below shows the states which saw the greatest interest in the 2016 presidential election. One of the most striking things about this graph is the consistent decline in interest seen across the country. Even in the reddest of the red states, interest in the election declined throughout the year. This, coupled with Trump’s populist, anti-establishment message, explains the reason behind his shocking victory. It would appear that the country as a whole wanted a change and Trump’s business experience and promises of shaking things up are what got him elected.
In 2018, there’s a good chance that the next presidential election will be even more interesting. Not only does Trump face possible impeachment but, more significantly, there are now multiple serious contenders for the Democratic Party’s nomination. As a result, the odds of many different candidates winning are about even and this makes for an interesting proposition for those who want to bet.