Is Hillary Clinton a certainty for 2016?

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Here are Ladbrokes’ odds for who will win the 2016 US Presidential election:

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80% of all the money staked so far has been on Clinton – is she a certainty?

It’s quite a tricky problem to assess just how short her odds should be. There isn’t any recent precedent for a non-incumbent to be so far ahead of the field. Let’s take a really optimistic view of her chances:

  • Chance of actually running: 90%
  • Chance of winning the Democratic nomination if she runs: 80%
  • Chance of winning Presidential election if she gets there: 70%
  • Probability of becoming President; 0.9 x 0.9 x 0.7 = .567. That equates to odds of about 8/11.

But take a marginally more realistic view:

  • Chance of actually running: 85%
  • Chance of winning the Democratic nomination if she runs: 75%
  • Chance of winning Presidential election if she gets there: 65%
  • Probability of becoming President; 0.85 x 0.75 x 0.65 = .414. That equates to odds of just under 6/4.

She actually hit as low as 1/2 to win the 2008 election at one point during 2007.  There are all sorts of things that could happen to derail her bandwagon again this time. For one, she’s in her late 60s and has had a couple of health scares. That sort of actuarial risk is easy to overlook. Then there are all sorts of other very unlikely, but non-zero probability events that might occur. What if Obama leaves office early for any reason? Then she might have to beat an incumbent President in a primary.

All in all, I think 6/4 is about right. But personally, I wouldn’t be backing something that was “about right” when I would have to wait over two years to get paid out. I’ve had one bet so far on 2016 – Mike Huckabee at 33/1 to be the Republican nominee.

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8 thoughts on “Is Hillary Clinton a certainty for 2016?

  1. I think Jeb Bush is a great bet. Clearly there is no guarantee that he runs, but if he does I think the right wing of the Republican Party will see sense and realize that he gives them the best chance of winning. At the end of the day there are only ever about 10 States that are really “in play” and of those only 2-3 matter. Florida is one of them. Surely Bush carries Florida?

    • Makes sense, although some people are saying that Eric Cantor’s surprise primary loss yesterday is bad news for any Republican who isn’t sufficiently hard-line on immigration. That might not help Bush with the GOP electorate.

  2. Very valid point. Which is why I said that they need to come to their senses. If they dont, and choose a far right candidate, they have no chance. They remind me of the Labour party pre-Blair. It took them a long time to realize that they would have to ditch alot of ideology to get elected. The fact of the matter is that in many states that count, alot of voters are black or Hispanic. If they cant win those votes they cant get elected.

  3. I think it is quite likely (say 30% chance) that Hilary won’t run because of her (or Bill’s) health.

    In that event, Elizabeth Warren at 28/1 and Joe Biden at 33/1 must be great value.

  4. The market needs revisiting in the light of Cantor’s heavy defeat yesterday.

    6/4 looked a bit generous even before that result. I’d definitely take it now, if I were not already on at sixes!

    • I almost did a post on “politics biggest shocks” today. I don’t suppose anyone in the world was betting on it, but I’m not sure I would have backed the other guy at 100/1.

  5. I think her chances of winning if nominated are higher (because the GOP will be split down the middle on immigration) but I don’t think the Democrats want an elderly white candidate – young, white and homosexual maybe but otherwise not.

    Feminism alone doesn’t have enough PC brownie points any more.

    I expect the Democrats to throw banana skins at her to try and mess up her nomination – maybe feeding them to the GOP to do the dirty work while they look for a hispanic version of Obama.

    By that I mean someone who is telegenic and speaks well but has little or no real experience/baggage.

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