This One Simple Trick Will Allow You to Make a Killing Betting on the Presidential Race

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


Jim Tankersley examines the presidential odds at PredictWise today and concludes that punters are probably underestimating Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning. Why? Justin Wolfers explains that it’s likely due to something called “longshot bias”:

The favorite tends to win in betting markets more often than indicated by the odds. So if the markets say she’s a 47% chance to be president, history suggests that the true odds are a bit better than that.

….There’s another way to get at this though, which is simply to ask whether the odds make sense. I think the idea that Clinton is only a 75 percent chance to win the nomination is nuts — she’s essentially the only serious candidate running, and it’s now clear that her campaign is not going to implode. With any candidate there are risks that secrets may come out, but with Mrs. Clinton, we’ve had several decades for them to surface. So my (personal!) judgment is that she is at least an 85 percent chance to win the nomination, and maybe 90 percent is a more realistic assessment.

OK. But what I want to know is why the betting markets say that Democrats have a 58 percent chance of winning the presidency, but the combined chance of all the individual Democratic candidates is 63 percent. There must be some way to arbitrage this so that you’ll make money no matter what happens. Right?

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate