Bettors on the popular predictions website PredictIt think there’s a real chance Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will drop out of the race before November, as her fainting spell at the 9/11 Memorial caused a substantial downward shift in her odds of becoming president while boosting the odds of other Democrats
PredictIt allows users to bet on the outcomes of upcoming events, particularly political ones such as the presidential election or the voting result in individual states. Shares are sold at amounts ranging from 1 cent to 99 cents. If an event happens, the shares are cashed in for a dollar apiece, but if it doesn’t, they become worthless. As a result, an event’s price on PredictIt roughly reflects its perceived likelihood of happening.
Going into Sept. 11, Clinton shares in the presidential election were trading at about 72 cents apiece, but as soon as video emerged of her collapsing while trying to enter a van, the price of Clinton’s shares began to tumble. At day’s end, they were selling for 64 cents apiece, suggesting Clinton’s chances of becoming president fell by about 8 percent purely due to the revelation regarding her health.
Unsurprisingly, Republican nominee Donald Trump benefited from the news, with his share prices rising from about 30 cents to 35 cents. But the real big winners were other prominent Democrats, who all saw their odds of becoming president surge.
Vice President Joe Biden’s shares more than doubled from 3 cents up to 7 cents, before dropping back to 6 cents. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s biggest rival in the Democratic primary race, went from 2 cents to 6 cents, and Sen. Tim Kaine, Clinton’s vice presidential nominee, rose from just 1 cent up to 3 cents. Combined, then, the three major Democrats are having their shares sell at around 15 cents, though the prices continue to fluctuate as trading continues.
In other words, bettors think that even if the Democrats win in November, there’s a nearly 20 percent chance the victor won’t be Clinton.
Notably, the odds also indicate that if Clinton exits the race, gamblers don’t expect the party to automatically choose her running mate to replace her. While the Constitution ordains that the vice president automatically replaces a deceased president-elect, party officials are allowed to decide what happens if a presidential candidate drops out before the election. Evidently, bettors think it is more likely Democrats will turn to either a party elder (Biden) or the second-place finisher (Sanders) rather than the relatively less prominent Kaine.
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