Who will be the next American president?

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After successes and failures in US and UK polls, public confidence in the accuracy of opinion polls is being tested

INTRODUCTION

It could be said that after the successes and failures in the US and UK elections, public confidence in the accuracy of opinion polls has been severely tested. This was particularly evident after the 2016 US presidential election, when poll favorite Hillary Clinton was beaten by Donald Trump.

As skepticism of opinion polls grows, many commentators now consider that it might be worth paying attention to bookmakers’ betting odds in addition to opinion polls. This becomes more relevant in times of political volatility.

CAN THE COTES DE PARIS MAKE RELIABLE POLITICAL FORECASTS?

Inevitably in their forecasts, bookmakers integrate multiple sources of information, including opinion polls. These graphs (1a and 1b) show that bookmakers and pollsters correctly forecast that Joe Biden would win the US election in 2020.

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Were bookmakers’ predictions more definitive than opinion poll predictions?

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BOOKIE PREDICTION FOR THE 2024 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS?

We’ve largely followed bookmakers’ predictions over the past two years – Figure 2a – of the top five candidates for President of the United States. Trump is not only the undisputed favorite, but also the biggest winner since the last election. Trump’s odds of victory have steadily increased from the December 2020 low of 13%, a poor third favorite, to between 25% and 27%, a remarkable doubling, which makes him the absolute and clear favorite today. Trump now has an impressive 10% lead over his closest rivals, Biden and De Santis.

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Perhaps the big reveal of the past six months has been the sudden and sharp rise in De Santis’ odds (Figure 2b) – his odds have more than doubled in the past six months, from 7% to over 15% now . This week marks the first time that Trump’s closest rival is no longer a Democrat, but another Republican. De Santis’s rise has been synchronous with the decline of President Biden – whose odds are now slightly lower than De Santis’s: worrying signs for the Democratic Party.

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Indians, not so long ago, hoped that the next American presidential election would oppose two candidates of Indian origin: Kamala Harris against Nikki Haley! But over the past 18 months (Figure 2c), Kamala Harris has gone from being the No. 1 favorite (in December 2021) with a 20% chance to a 5% chance today, according to bookmakers betting odds . That puts Harris just a little above Nikki Haley, who has a 4% chance of winning. But analysts say there are signs of a rise in Kamala Harris’ ratings – a rebound is possible as “a week is a long time in politics”.

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UK ADDENDUM: THE DECLINE AND DESTRUCTION OF RISHI SUNAK

While the two candidates of Indian origin in the US can bounce back, in the UK the crash is even more devastating (Figure 3).

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Just three months ago, Rishi Sunak was the outright favorite to be the next British Prime Minister with a 40% chance (second favorite Liz Truss followed Sunak with an 18% chance). But Rishi Sunak’s odds have dropped from 40% to 5% today, according to bookmakers. It can take much longer than a week for a Sunak bounce. The details of the political intrigue that engulfed him remain unclear – many analysts say his high rating, making him Boris Johnson’s closest rival, was in fact his greatest vulnerability.

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