Betting on 2020

Trump says “we’re going to win big.” I doubt it. Here’s what the people who put their own money on the line say.
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The Economist gives Trump only an 5% chance of winning.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, which came closest to predicting Donald Trump’s win in 2016, gives him just a 12% chance.

But the most reliable predictors, people who bet on politics and “put money where their mouths are,” give Trump a much better chance., which updates odds every five minutes, gives him a 35% chance.

That suggests Trump will probably lose. But it also means, one third of the time, he’ll win.

Bettors missed Trump’s 2016 win, and Brexit, but they’ve still had a much better record than polls, pundits, and most statistical models.

My producer Maxim Lott and I track the accuracy of betting markets here. The bettor’s predictions come out very well:

Bettors do well because the profit incentive focuses traders’ minds. It encourages bettors to put aside their biases and focus on reality.

Bettors have other advantages they can consider info that statistical models can’t easily use. For example, will many mail-in ballots not get counted? In the New York State primary this year, 20% were disqualified. That can determine races.

Bettors also consider whether polls are missing certain groups of voters, as happened in 2016, when pollsters overlooked a lot of people without college degrees.

So I listen to the betting!

I assume Trump will lose. But I won’t be shocked if he does win.