Big Data

Political betting markets show late momentum shift towards Clinton

Spread betting company Sporting Index says more bets were placed on Clinton in the past 24 hours than in all of October. Here's a look at how the numbers have been rolling in.

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Image: iStock / baphotte

In the homestretch of the high-stakes 2016 election all cards are on the table.

The smart money, according to the betting markets, is on Hillary Clinton. And so is the math, said Ed Fulton, political trading spokesperson at Sporting Index, a spread betting company that analyzes and models sports, entertainment, video game, and political markets.

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According to their analysis of betting markets Clinton grabbed momentum in the final days of the campaign. "Since Friday, when Clinton was 280-290, bets have flooded in supporting Hillary," said Fulton. "Her predicted Electoral College Vote total is currently 320-330."

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"Rather than take bets for Trump to become president at 3 to 1," explained Fulton, "you can bet on the precise number of electoral college votes he will win, in addition to many other markets down to individual states. Spread betting is like trading stocks and shares. The buy and sell price will change according to the bets that come in. On Friday, November 4th, Clinton's [spread] was 280 to 290. If you 'bought' at 290, that means you think she will end up with more than 290 when it's all over. Say you did buy Clinton 290 for $1 and she mirrored Obama's win in 2012 (332). You would win $42. However, if she fell short like Al Gore (266), you would lose $24."

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Data and image: Sporting Index


Note that TechRepublic's report on political betting market data is not an endorsement of gambling. Political betting markets can provide fascinating insight about how a portion of the market—gamblers—are forecasting results but are not always accurate oracles. Slate recently reported that several betting markets recently missed the Brexit vote, and CNBC claims that in the 2016 campaign betting markets sometimes wavered.

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The company claims it correctly forecast Obama victories in 2008 and 2012, the Scottish referendum on independence, and 2015 UK General Election. "To predict the US Election," said Fulton, "we started by creating a probability of Clinton winning each state. We use polling results and publicly available information across political prediction platforms to create probabilities."

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Data and image: Sporting Index

For example, "if Ohio goes to Clinton it would have a knock-on effect towards future state probabilities with similar demographics and voting tendencies. For each state, we assigned an importance and value to adjust future states in the running order," Fulton said. "Doing things this way allows us to offer prices all the way throughout the election night and update new prices as results roll in."

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About Dan Patterson

Dan is a Senior Writer for TechRepublic. He covers cybersecurity and the intersection of technology, politics and government.

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