How Do the 2016 Presidential Election Odds Inform the 2020 Election?

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Presidential Election
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As the election date of November 3, 2020 draws nearer, people are looking back wistfully at the last time the US selected a President. The 2016 Presidential Election was one of the most exciting in history. Not only did the States wake up to news that the heavily political frontrunner had been defeated by the politics rookie businessman, but that the popular vote went in favor of the defeated candidate.

The odds had been in favor of a Hillary Clinton victory to become the first female President in history, but the Electoral College handed the victory to Trump after what was the most polarizing and divisive election in living memory. But what do the odds from 2016 tell us about who might win the 2020 US Presidential Election?  

Political betting – unlike sports betting – has a variable that can’t be managed and determined beforehand: emotion. Sports betting factors in figures for both teams and then analyzes based on past performance, the team and their stats, and potential future performance, to determine who will win a certain match.

Political betting takes into account both candidates, the mood of the country, current events, and policies, but it’s harder to gauge how people actually feel. And everything could change come election day.

The Hillary Clinton win was not just anticipated by her team – who had the confetti in place for her victory speech – but by oddsmakers around the world. Some had even paid out in advance to Clinton backers, while others frantically updated as the states’ results rolled in.

At 8pm on November 9, 2016, Hillary Clinton’s odds stood at an 87.5% chance of winning while, just four hours later, they had been dashed to +1000 (9.1% chance) . Trump, on the other hand, began the night with an estimated 17.4% chance of winning, and ended the night with a 95.2% chance of victory.

Naturally, for the 2020 election, people are being savvier about how they interpret the figures and public sentiment, and what they might consider voting on. As the odds on live political contests show, punters have the option to choose from several different events: from next Presdient outright, to each party’s ticket, to who might win the popular vote. 

As the last popular vote matched the pollsters across the country, many for 2020 may feel confident to determine who may win the popular vote here. If 2016 can teach us one thing when it comes to betting on the next president, it’s that the popular vote is one of the more reliable indicators. But, even going back as far as Bush in 2000, we can see that the popular vote doesn’t always go in favor of the victor.

The 2016 Presidential Election will go down in history as one of the most controversial, contentious, and exciting for many involved. Not only has it taught us not to count our chickens, but it’s taught us that anything could happen.

Odds may be in favor of Trump or Biden, but this next election could be as hard to predict. The safer bet would be the popular vote, which seems to reflect better the mood of the general population. But, with 128,838,342 votes cast last time, that’s a lot of people to try to gauge.

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