What Did the Betting Markets Predict About the 2016 Election?

On election day, Americans will head to the polls to choose their next president. While there is much excitement surrounding this historic event, there is also plenty of curiosity about what the betting markets think will happen. If you’re looking to get a prediction for the upcoming election, you’ve landed on the right page! Here, we’ll explore some of the most intriguing trends and stats from the betting markets as well as dive into how these numbers might affect the election’s outcome.

Democrat Favoritism

One of the most interesting developments from the betting markets this year has been the clear favoritism shown by the market for Democrats over Republicans. To put it bluntly, Dems have attracted far more bets than Reps, totaling over $16 million dollars worth of bets on the 2018 midterms compared to just $8 million on the GOP. That’s a massive gap. In fact, it’s the greatest disparity in any midterm election this year, even surpassing the $15 million vs $6 million gap between Democratic and Republican Senate candidates in 2014. If you want to know why the betting markets are putting their faith in the Democrats, it’s because the party has largely performed better in power than when campaigning. Democrats now enjoy a 17-point advantage in the generic ballot, up from 6 points last month, a surge that can largely be attributed to growing liberal enthusiasm following the party’s more leftward shift under the Trump administration.

While many Americans will be tuning into the campaign trail this year, the majority of their voting decisions will likely be made based on party loyalty rather than policy differences. The same goes for the betting markets; Democrat candidates have attracted an enormous amount of support in a short amount of time, leading some handicappers to predict that the Democrats will score some major electoral victories in 2018. And you can’t blame them — Democrats are fielding one of the most promising and exciting groups of candidates in recent memory, led by former Vice President Joe Biden, who is widely expected to challenge Trump for the presidency in 2020.

Will Trump Continue to Rise in Popularity?

Perhaps the most interesting question surrounding the upcoming election is whether or not Donald Trump’s outrageous behavior and polarizing discourse will continue to work in his favor. Over the past year, the billionaire businessman has enjoyed a steady upward trend in his public image, with an increase in both the perceived and the actual honesty of his public statements. Although Trump has continued to stand firm by his controversial and often shocking rhetoric, the markets seem to have taken a liking to his brand of populism and are pricing in a greater likelihood of his reelection.

Last year, few people had Donald Trump on their radar. His name was not attached to any popular slogan, and most had never even heard of him. Today, however, he is widely regarded as one of the most effective Republican candidates in history and is the odds-on favorite to win the 2020 U.S. presidential election. This surge in popularity did not happen overnight, and many are pointing to Trump’s out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to buck political conventional wisdom as key reasons for his ascent. While the mainstream media has largely focused on Trump’s antics and unpredictable campaign style, the markets have recognized the presidential hopeful’s clear vision and ability to motivate voters — a skill that could prove key in the coming months.

Where Do the Funds Come From?

Another interesting development over the past year has been the rise of so-called ‘Super PACS’. These are independent political committees that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on electioneering. A key point to note about Super PACs is that they do not have to disclose their donors, nor do they have to limit how they spend their funds. This has allowed wealthy individuals and corporations to effectively hide their support for or against a particular candidate, a practice known in politics as ‘dark money’.

Although many people consider Super PACs to be a purely neutral vehicle and do not see them as a particularly useful tool for researching political candidates, the numbers can still provide important information about where the funds for these committees are coming from. Over the past year, Super PACs have poured countless millions of dollars into the 2018 election, and the trend looks set to continue in the coming months. The groups have largely funded Republican candidates and projects, with only a few notable exceptions such as a group supporting Democrat Beto O’Rourke.

Based on this trend, and given the fact that Trump has largely self-funded his campaign up until now, it’s fair to assume that the president’s re-election will be largely funded by the wealthy individuals and corporations that hold his political positions.

What About the Climate For 2020?

Finally, let’s not forget about the crucial role that climate change will play in the upcoming election. After years of delay and denial from the Trump administration, the world finally has a clear indication of how the president will handle the issue. Despite his pledge to ‘cancel’ U.S. participation in the Paris climate agreement, Trump made a major policy reversal last month, announcing the United States would be entering the agreement. While many have interpreted his actions as a sign of weakness, the markets have given a clear indication that they do not perceive Trump’s about-face on this issue as such. With the U.S. committing to the agreement and China and other developing countries indicating they will also be entering, the odds of a global climate catastrophe have diminished. The markets have taken notice, reducing their fear about the environment and its impact on future generations.

These four stats provide a clear indication of how seriously the markets regard some of the major players in the upcoming election. While there is no guarantee that any of these players will emerge victorious, it would be a boldfaced lie to say that they have not emerged as the clear favorites in the betting markets.