Although a glance at the BetFair market for November’s US Presidential election looks, on the surface, to be a comfortable win for Hillary Clinton, there are some facts that go against this simple conclusion.
There has been a lot of discussion about Hillary Clinton’s health. Much of the mainstream media, though, seems willing to write this off as an alt-right conspiracy theory.
But at an appearance during a 9/11 memorial Hillary left because she was “overwhelmed with emotion”. Later, the story was corrected to “overwhelmed with heat” (the day was not especially warm). Even later still, the story was changed to “pneumonia”, so we can rightly suspect that there is a major political secret about Hillary’s health that could define this presidential campaign.
The odds of Hillary winning the Presidency blew out when this was reported, from $1.45 to $1.61. It went up and down after that with low volumes being placed, as the market started to suspect that she might be forced to drop out of the race.
There are Democratic replacements for Hillary at short odds, but this is not the same for Republican replacements for Trump. The difference between the two gives us some clues about how much the market suspects Hillary might drop out.
After the 9/11 medical event, Bernie Sanders was paying a mere $38 to win the Presidency, reflecting the belief that, as premiere challenger to Hillary during the primaries, he would be the obvious choice to take over should Hillary’s health fail.
Joe Biden came in to $30 on rumours that the Democratic party had conducted polls suggesting Biden had a 20-point lead over Trump in a head-to-head election.
Tim Kaine came in all the way in to $95 from $1000, reflecting the widespread belief that, for some reason, it is too late to change the candidate and so the Democrats would have to go with Kaine should Hillary become incapacitated.
Using VJM Publishing’s Draw Arbitrage Finder program we can calculate that the BetFair market considers $16.65 to be fair value for any candidate other than Clinton and Trump. Considering that the odds of the closest challenger to Trump, Paul Ryan, are $610, this equates to a roughly 6% chance that Clinton will drop out of the Presidential race.
Also of interest is that Trump is doing much better than Brexit was at any stage of that campaign, including, crucially, the morning of the vote itself. This suggests that the apparent advantage that Hillary has is well within the range of possible outcomes that could be the result of Establishment manipulation.