Political Odds Data: Queen Hillary Ascends, Prince Jeb Descends
Hillary was always going to win the nomination, and the betting markets always knew it. For nearly two months, political pundits were describing Hillary’s imminent collapse. She was losing ground in opinion polling for early states to Bernie Sanders, and she was mired in two major scandals. Prior to the first Democratic debate, there was a genuine feeling in the media that her campaign hinged on her performance at the debate. But even during those particularly weak moments in her campaign, she was still by an extremely wide margin the front runner in betting markets. Her winning the primary has always been virtually inevitable.
The difference now is that everyone knows it, even pundits.
At her lowest point, Hillary was over 40% more likely to win the nomination than the runner up. Now that she’s endured the Benghazi hearings without taking any major damage, and no longer has to worry about Biden dropping in and taking half her voting base, she’s in an extremely solid position to win the nomination. Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee, who were never serious threats anyway, have now dropped out, meaning she only has to deal with O’Malley – who is clearly running for a spot in Hillary’s administration – and Bernie Sanders, whose leftist-pandering campaign is already running out of steam.
With Biden gone, there is no credible establishment alternative to Clinton in the party. The only serious threat she’s faced was Biden, and now that he’s announced he’s not running, Hillary is overwhelmingly likely to win.
This is in sharp contrast to the Republican race, which is chaotic and never had a front runner on the tier of Clinton. Jeb, who at the start of the campaign was considered the inevitable nominee, is now no longer first in betting markets.
Rubio, who has been consistently rising for over a month, is now in first place.
For the first time since we’ve been tracking it, Jeb is not first in the betting markets. He is now behind Rubio 7%.
It’s also worth noting that Ben Carson, who is now leading in opinion polls in Iowa and at least one national poll, is at 9% to win the nomination. What Ben Carson is experiencing is what we always see in the early days of party primaries; outsider candidates urge to the top of opinion polls by saying controversial things that grab headlines and attention from disillusioned members of the party. But these candidates always fizzle out, often before any votes are cast.
The bettors are wagering that, as happened in 2012 and 2008, eventually the party will nominate a moderate, establishment candidate. But the margin between 1st and 2nd is much smaller for the Republican party than it is for the Democrats.
There is going to be a Republican debate tonight; if Rubio can present a debate performance as strong as his first two, he should be able to maintain and even widen his lead in the betting markets. But strong performances from other candidates can further disrupt what is already a relatively unpredictable race.