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Donald Trump has won the battle: will he win the war?

Donald Trump has been declared the Republican Party’s nominee for the presidency of the United States – and for once, not only by himself. This victory defies all the laws of political gravity.

The traditional Republican way is to elect the establishment’s chosen candidate, generally someone who has served the party faithfully and well – and preferably someone plausibly electable against the Democrats’ standard bearer. The nominee is expected to stick to mainstream conservative principles and to be broadly acceptable to those pulling the strings at Fox News.

Trump fails all these tests. And with his signature blend of populism, provocation and spectacle, he has driven the party into a schism, pitting conservative against conservative.

In the immediate wake of the Indiana result the audience of Fox news was treated to a downcast debate between the network’s two principal conservative voices, Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer. While O’Reilly tried to defend Trump as a misunderstood populist hero, Krauthammer declared himself implacably opposed to a man he declared was not a true conservative and who could not be trusted to defend conservative values, far less be entrusted with the nuclear codes.
The party shows no sign of being ready to unite behind Trump. The Hill, an influential political newspaper published in Washington DC, has even provided a list of Republicans who have declared on the record that they simply will not back him. The list is long, and includes some very influential conservative names.

These horrified “NeverTrumpers”, who’ve been pushing their own #NeverTrump hashtag, are all too aware that nominating “The Donald” would not only betray the party’s core principles, but possibly doom the GOP to electoral catastrophe. Disgusted conservatives might well decline to vote at all. That would contaminate Republican candidates across the country; the party would probably lose control of the Senate, and perhaps even of the House of Representatives.

So what exactly are Trump’s chances against Hillary Clinton? The Real Clear Politics average of the most recent half dozen polls has Clinton leading Trump by an average of 6.5% in a hypothetical (and now very likely) match-up.

Take out the poll by the Rasmussen firm, which has a very chequered history – not least projecting a Mitt Romney victory on the eve of the 2012 election – and Clinton leads by 8.2%.

The respected Sabato Crystal Ball project at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics offers another perspective. This uses expert judgement on a state-by-state level to assess the likely number of electoral votes that would be won in a match-up between Clinton and Trump.

The best estimate offered, as of today, is a projected 347 votes for Hillary Clinton in the electoral college, with 191 going to Donald Trump. A total of 270 votes is required to win the presidency. By way of comparison, Barack Obama won 332 electoral votes in 2012 to 206 for Mitt Romney.

The betting and prediction markets tell a broadly similar tale.

Finally, let’s look to the PollyVote project, which combines evidence derived from polls, expert judgement and prediction markets, plus a few other indicators, to provide an overall forecast of the likely outcome in November. As of today, the PollyVote predicts the Democrats to obtain 53.3% of the two-party popular vote, compared to 46.7% for the Republicans.

Trump stands today at the top of the Republican tree. He has won the battle. He will find it much harder to win the war.

From the 1503 papal conclave to the 2015 Nobels: Forecasting Closed Door Decisions

When the Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich won this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, it was not unexpected. She was not only the clear favourite with the bookmakers but had traded as one of the leaders in the betting in the previous two years.

While firms lay odds on the literature and peace prizes, there are no betting lines available for the Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry and medicine. Instead, there is an organised platform which seeks to predict winners based on research citations.

Betting: from Hollywood to the Vatican

This has been a very good year for favourites in awards contests. The favourite in the betting won almost every single one of the 24 Oscar categories at this year’s Academy Awards. This domination of the favourites has been documented in politics for nearly 150 years, ever since hot favourite Ulysses S Grant strolled to the US presidency in 1868. The favourite in the betting has won almost every single presidential election held since.

But the Nobel Prize deliberations are quite different from a political election or even a Hollywood awards ceremony. Instead, they are a little more like a papal conclave, where the deliberations are secretive and there is no defined shortlist of nominees. Betting on papal conclaves has been formally recorded from as early as 1503. In that year, the brokers in the Roman banking houses who offered odds on who would be elected Pope made Cardinal Francesco Piccolomini the clear favourite. It was no surprise, therefore, when he went on to become Pope Pius III.

Since then the betting markets have had a mixed record of success in predicting the winner. For example, Cardinal Ratzinger was a warm favourite to be elected pope in 2005, and duly became Pope Benedict. The election of Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis, on the other hand, came as more of a surprise to the markets.
Inauguration of Pope Francis, who the bookmakers failed to predict. Casa Rosada/wikimedia, CC BY-SA
Betting on processes that take place behind closed doors also happens outside the church. In 2009, crowdsourced fantasy league (or “prediction market”) FantasySCOTUS.net launched an attempt to peer behind the doors of the US Supreme Court, predicting its deliberations – a market still going strong today. The Supreme Court might be particularly suitable for a prediction market, in that not only is there a relatively small number of decision makers, but the universe of possible outcomes is also very limited. Predicting the Nobel Prize announcements might be expected to be somewhat more difficult.

So how do the betting companies compile their odds when it comes to the Nobels? Ladbrokes has said that, in the absence of information, the best way is consulting literary contacts and following relevant online discussions. This is despite the fact that it only takes about ₤50,000 in bets on the Nobel in literature, compared with a couple of million for a big football match.

Patchy record

How well have the markets performed to date? For the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, established in 1968 by Sweden’s central bank and considered an unofficial “Nobel”, the most ironic failure of a sort came in 2009, when the betting market offered by Ladbrokes had Eugene Fama, a pioneering exponent of the theory of efficient markets, as the solid 2 to 1 favourite. Assuming the market was truly efficient in respect of all relevant information, we might have expected him to be well up there among the top contenders. But the prize was shared by Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, both of whom were trading as 50 to 1 longshots before the announcement. Fama did go on to share the Nobel Prize four years later.

On the other hand, Harvard University had already set up its own dedicated economics prize prediction market, which did much better than Ladbrokes by making Oliver Williamson one of the favourites. In 2010, Peter Diamond shared the prize after having been listed as one of the favourites by Harvard.

Of the others in the top eight in 2010, Jean Tirole went on to win in 2014, Robert Shiller and Lars Peter Hansen in 2013. Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims, who shared the 2011 prize, were among the favourites in the 2008 Harvard prediction market, which has since closed down.

Most of the market based predictions, however, focus on the Nobel Prizes for Literature and Peace. In 2014, French writer Patrick Modiano won the Literature Prize. Before the announcement, Modiano was trading as a reasonably well fancied joint fourth favourite. The previous year, Canadian Alice Munro was heavily backed into second favourite before claiming the prize. In 2011, Tomas Transtomer won the Literature Prize having been clear favourite in 2010.

The peace prize, which is awarded by a committee of five people who are chosen by the parliament of Norway, is slightly more complicated as awards are sometimes given to organisations rather than individuals. This also makes it less satisfying for potential market players. Still, the 2014 Nobel Peace prize was shared by Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. Malala had actually been backed to win in the previous year.
Malala Yousafzai was the bookmaker’s favourite the year before she actually won. There’s a pattern there. Southbank Centre/wikimedia, CC BY
The physics, chemistry and medicine prizes, on the other hand, have not really attracted market attention to date, probably because it is too niche for the regular player. Instead this role has been taken up by Thomson Reuters, which claims to have identified 37 Nobel Prize winners since 2002, on the basis of an analysis of scientific research citations within the Web of Science. As an interesting development, Thomson Reuters has also now established a People’s Choice Poll, more akin to the “wisdom of crowds” methodology of a prediction market. Scientific society Sigma Xi has a prediction contest that enables people to vote for their favourite.

2015 Nobels: the verdict

This outline of the past few years is pretty much par for the course in the history of Nobel predictions. Far from perfect, but not at all unimpressive. Interestingly, the market is often a better predictor of future Nobel laureates than for that particular year.

This year, although the market got the Literature Prize spot on, it had not predicted that the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet would win the peace prize. So well done to those who placed a bet on “none of the above”. It was trading as close second favourite to Angela Merkel on the PredictIt prediction market before the announcement.

Thomson Reuters got the 2015 physics, chemistry and medicine prizes wrong. This year it also highlighted Richard Blundell, John List and Charles Manski as the leading candidates for the economics prize, making special note of the former, who also won their People’s Choice poll. There was no organised betting on economics this year. This year’s economics Nobel went to Angus Deaton. Deaton, currently Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton (formerly of Cambridge and Bristol universities) for his analysis of consumption, poverty and welfare.

So what will the prediction industry look like in ten years? On current trends, it will have grown up a lot. The science of forecasting and the power of prediction markets are currently growing apace. Will there ever come a time, I wonder, when we don’t need to wait for the announcement, but instead just look to the odds? Maybe we should set up a prediction market to answer that question.

Beware the Ides of March! US Election Special

The Ides of March, or March 15, has long been associated with doom and destruction. In 44BC, confident populist Julius Caesar ignored a soothsayer’s warning and met his demise at the height of his adulation by an adoring public. It was also the day that Czar Nicholas II in 1917 formally abdicated his throne, and the day that Germany occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939. And now it’s the turn of the Republican Party.

This year’s Ides of March could prove pivotal for the US presidential race, as the primaries roll into five big states: Florida, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina and Missouri. With firebrand insurgent Donald Trump still denying all the Republicans’ attempts to stop him, the day’s massive delegate haul threatens to put him firmly on the path to the nomination.

Much will depend on what happens in Florida and Ohio, the home states of Florida Senator Marco Rubio and the Governor of Ohio,  John Kasich. Kasich has pledged to withdraw from the contest if he loses Ohio, while Rubio has himself said that whoever wins Florida will be the nominee of the Republican Party. If he falls behind, he will be under enormous pressure to bow out.

This confronts Trump’s conservative rival, Ted Cruz, with a fiendish dilemma. He’s won a fair number of states, but to have a decent chance at winning the nomination, Cruz needs Kasich and especially Rubio to drop out. So Cruz wants them to do poorly. But if either or both lose their home state, it’s Trump, not Cruz, who’s most likely to grab their delegates – a hefty 99 in Florida and a chunky 66 in Ohio, all allocated on a winner-take-all basis.

On the other hand, if Rubio somehow rallies to win Florida, he’s very likely to stay in, as is Kasich if he wins Ohio. This puts Cruz and other anti-Trump forces in the awkward position of needing Rubio and Kasich both to trump Trump and to fall short.

The best outcome Cruz can hope for is for Rubio and Kasich to do just enough to win Florida and Ohio respectively, therefore denying Trump the winner-take-all delegates, but to do so badly elsewhere that they drop out anyway. Not impossible, but unlikely.

So where does that leave us?

Splitting the difference

Trump just needs to seize Ohio and Florida to put him in touching distance of the prize, but that’s a big task, especially in Ohio. Illinois and Missouri offer a combined total of 121 delegates. North Carolina’s 72 delegates are in play as well, but those are allocated on a proportional basis, so grabbing the gold isn’t quite as important there.

So if Trump picks up Florida, Ohio and does well in Illinois and/or Missouri, the fight for the Republican nomination could be all but over by Wednesday morning. But that outcome is far from pre-ordained.

Let’s say Trump loses either Ohio or (less likely) Florida, but not both. That puts his chance of clinching a majority of delegates before the convention in jeopardy, maybe Illinois and/or Missouri tipping the scale. But if he loses both Ohio and Florida, he’s extremely unlikely to win a majority of the delegates before the convention in July.

If that’s the case, anything could happen. If it is ultimately not possible to construct a winning coalition of delegates around any of the current four horsemen of the Republican Party’s political apocalypse, the party could even turn outwards, to anoint a different saviour. This would presumably be someone undamaged by the internecine warfare that would have brought the party to that impasse. That would now seem to rule out Mitt Romney, given his recent full-on personal attacks upon Donald Trump. Instead they are more likely to look to a unifier, though they would need to change the convention rules to do so.

They have called upon someone fresh in dire straits before. At the end of 2015, the party could find nobody to replace John Boehner when he suddenly stood down as speaker of the House of Representatives. Then they found someone who at first said he wasn’t interested, but later relented: Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.

Is this a likely outcome? Not at all. While chatter around a possible Ryan candidacy suddenly spiked as March 15 loomed, a fundraising group formed to “draft” him recently shut down after his aides disavowed its work.

It’s far more likely that Trump will emerge as the Republican nominee, followed by Cruz, then Kasich and Rubio. But if no one can garner a majority of delegates to win the first ballot at the convention, any number of scenarios could play out.

As the betting markets currently see things, by far the most electable against a Democratic opponent in the general election are John Kasich and Marco Rubio. Of these two, Kasich is rated by the markets as much more likely to win the nomination. If he scrapes a win in the Ohio primary and finally starts winning delegates, might he somehow emerge from the pack at a contested convention, perhaps with Rubio or even Cruz in tow as his running mate? We shall see.

Super Tuesday is today. Will it be the day that Trump effectively clinches the Republican nomination?

In the wake of Donald Trump’s blowout victory amid the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, the money has been piling on the billionaire businessman from New York to sweep all aside on the way to a coronation at the Republican convention. But just how smart is this money?
After all, Trump was also favourite to win the Iowa caucuses, not only in the betting markets but also in the polls and the pundits’ conventional wisdom. In the event, he lost Iowa to Ted Cruz, the arch-conservative senator from Texas.
He also only narrowly bested Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who was suddenly being talked about as the main contender for the nomination – heralding a volatile period that sent the markets haywire.
It seems absurd that Rubio could vault past Trump after placing behind him, but that’s down to a little thing called the expectations game. If you can deflate expectations and come third, that’s somehow seen as better than attracting high expectations and coming second. It may not do much for you in the Olympics, but it matters a lot in politics.
It worked for Rubio until a fateful pre-New Hampshire debate encounter with New Jersey governor, Chris Christie. In a calamity that’s been compared to a scene from The Stepford Wives where a suburban woman suffers a circuitry meltdown, revealing her to be a robot, Rubio haplessly began repeating the same scripted attack on Barack Obama over and over again.
He promptly plummeted in the betting markets’ estimation, and eventually finished a poor fifth in New Hampshire. In his concession speech, he admitted that he had malfunctioned during the debate, but promised that systems were now restored and that no further meltdown would occur.
He seems to have been true to his word, but the drubbing Trump dealt him in the subsequent South Carolina primary suggested that the damage had already been done. Even so, Rubio’s stock had shown remarkable resilience in the betting, vying pre-Nevada with Trump for the shortest odds in the nomination market.
Meanwhile, Cruz – who won Iowa against the odds – has lengthened to odds usually indicative of someone with no chance at all. Why so? After all, he only narrowly lost the runner-up slot in South Carolina to Rubio, and performed similarly in Nevada. He also has plenty of money on hand. Part of the reason is that he’s losing against Trump among his own base of arch-conservative religious evangelicals – and was unable to beat Rubio even in South Carolina, whose demographics should have made it prime Cruz territory.
The Cruz brand has also earned something of a reputation for dirty tricks. On the night of the Iowa caucuses his team spread rumours that rival candidate Ben Carson was bowing out of the race. Before South Carolina, the campaign clumsily photoshopped Rubio’s head onto someone else shaking hands with Obama at the White House. Most recently, they released a video in which subtitles over Rubio’s slightly garbled speech suggest he was mocking the Bible, when in fact he did the exact opposite.
So where can Cruz go? Home to Texas, where he’ll be hoping for a very strong showing when the state holds its primary on March 1. He’ll need to win big to change the betting markets’ mind: they put his odds of clinching the keys to the White House at as long as 150-to-1.
With Nevada out of the way and the Trump campaign in full swing, the markets see the future pretty clearly.
Trump is now trading at short odds on (2-to-7) to win the Republican nomination, while Rubio is currently available at a best price of about 5 to 1 against. That makes Trump better than a 3-in-4 favourite to become the Republican standard-bearer for the general election, with Rubio’s chances about 1-in-6 as we head into the latest phase of the campaign.
The odds have been shuffled on the Democratic side too. The “Bern” that Bernie Sanders was feeling after routing Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire was reduced to something of a fizzle in Nevada, where she beat him by a comfortable five points. Nevada’s caucuses resolve ties by means of a card draw. At one deadlocked caucus in the town of Pahrump, an ace was drawn for Clinton against a six for Sanders, an apt representation of the night he had.
Sanders now faces Clinton in South Carolina, where she’s the heavy favourite. She’s also now a best priced 1-to-20 to secure the nomination, as a slew of southern and western states expected to fall to her line up to vote in the next three weeks. She is currently the odds on favourite (4-to-7) to win the presidency, which gives her about a 63 per cent chance of going all the way. Meanwhile, Trump is trading at about 11-to-4 (a 27% chance) to win the big prize, and Rubio at 16 to 1. Of the rest, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg have more chance of winning the Presidency, as we head into the afternoon of Super Tuesday, than any of the other Republican candidates.
And so we wait for array of states large and small to make their decisions – and potentially scramble the odds once again. (4-to-5) to win the presidency.
And so they all march on to Super Tuesday, when an array of states large and small will make their decisions – and potentially scramble the odds once again.

The US election is suddenly getting very interesting!

Heading into the Iowa caucuses, all the main forecasting methodologies ranked Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as favourites to win the first contests in their respective nomination battles. In the end, they were half right: while Clinton managed to squeak the narrowest of wins over Bernie Sanders, Trump came second behind Ted Cruz of Texas, with Florida’s Marco Rubio nipping at his heels.

The results were written up with varying degrees of surprise and shock. So who did the best job of predicting them?

Of the opinion polls, the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics survey is generally regarded as the gold standard in terms of the Iowa state caucuses. In its last survey before voting began, it had Trump on the Republican side leading Ted Cruz by 28% to 23%, with Marco Rubio on 15%. For the Democrats, Clinton was leading Sanders by 45% to 42%. This survey proved wide of the mark and, in that regard, it was broadly consistent with other recent polling.

Then there’s the panel-of-experts model. One such group is the Political Caucus, a panel of strategists, operatives and activists. In its final survey, Republicans were split, but put Donald Trump in pole position, with Cruz second and Rubio third. Democratic insiders were less divided, coming out strongly in favour of a decisive Clinton victory. So, also wrong.

But there’s another way of forecasting that often proves to be much closer to the actual result: the betting and prediction markets. These can be observed in real time through the Oddschecker service (which lists a range of leading bookmaker prices) as well as by observing the prices on the person-to-person betting exchanges.

There are also dedicated “crowd wisdom” prediction markets such as Almanis, “wisdom of crowd” projects such as Predictwise, as well as real-money prediction markets such as PredictIt and the Iowa Electronic Markets.

On the eve of the caucuses, the real-money betting and prediction markets gave Clinton about a two-in-three chance of winning Iowa, and Trump just a little less. Rubio, it seemed, was trailing third by a fair margin. In the event, it was Cruz who surged to victory among the Republicans while Rubio’s third-place showing was unexpectedly strong. The Democratic race was labelled pretty much across the board as too close to call for most of the count, but the betting markets sided consistently with Clinton.

As soon as the actual results are declared, the betting markets adjust to incorporate the new information. So far they’ve already shaken up their thinking about who will become the Republican party’s nominee, but have barely flickered in regard to the Democratic choice.

Odds on

Going into the caucuses, of the main candidates the betting markets gave Trump a 50% chance of winning the Republican nomination, followed by Rubio on 32%, Cruz on 9% and Jeb Bush on 8%. The commensurate predictions for the Democratic nomination were 80% for Clinton and 19% for Sanders.

In terms of winning the White House, Clinton was firm favourite, with a 51% chance of winning the general election, followed by Trump on 19%, Rubio on 15%, Sanders on 6%, Cruz on 4% and Bush on 3%.

As Americans woke up after the count that map had changed significantly, at least on the Republican side. The new favourite to win the Republican nomination on the betting markets is Rubio, who emerged from the polling with a 53% chance of being the eventual nominee, followed by Trump on 26%, Cruz on 14% and Bush on 5%.

Despite the narrowness of the Democratic contest, the betting markets were unfazed, with Clinton clinging to her 80% chance of taking the nomination.

As to the map of probabilities for who will eventually win the White House, the markets still ranked Clinton as the firm favourite for the presidency, just as strong as before Iowa, and Rubio was now her closest challenger: the markets in the immediate aftermath of the Iowa caucuses rated his chances of progressing all the way to victory in November at more than one in five, up from 15%. Trump’s chance slipped to about one in ten, down from 19%.

So the news of the night is that nothing had really changed on the Democratic front, while Rubio leapfrogged Trump as the most likely challenger to Clinton.

Then came that debate, in which the mask of the new Republican frontrunner seemed to slip, as he started to repeat the same phrase over and over again, like some sci-fi scene in which the human is finally revealed to be a cleverly designed android. Enter the Stepford Wives! Enter the Replicant!

The momentum which had grown from beating expectations, albeit by coming third, was suddenly reversed. With less than a day to polling in the New Hampshire primary, the newly designated ‘Marcobot’ still held on to frontrunner status in the betting markets, though not in the real-money prediction markets.

What happens in the Granite State will now be fascinating. It could even be decisive.

 

Can Boy Rubio win? You bet he can!

Heading into the Iowa caucuses, all the main forecasting methodologies ranked Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as favourites to win the first contests in their respective nomination battles. In the end, they were half right, if only just): while Clinton managed to squeak the narrowest of wins over Bernie Sanders, Trump came second behind Ted Cruz of Texas, with Florida’s Marco Rubio nipping at his heels.

The results were written up with varying degrees of surprise and shock. So who did the best job of predicting them?

Of the opinion polls, the Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics survey is generally regarded as the gold standard in terms of the Iowa state caucuses. In its last survey before voting began, it had Trump on the Republican side leading Ted Cruz by 28% to 23%, with Marco Rubio on 15%. For the Democrats, Clinton was leading Sanders by 45% to 42%. This survey proved wide of the mark and, in that regard, it was broadly consistent with other recent polling.

Then there’s the panel-of-experts model. One such group is the Politico Caucus, a panel of strategists, operatives and activists. In its final survey, Republicans were split, but put Donald Trump in pole position, with Cruz second and Rubio third. Democratic insiders were less divided, coming out strongly in favour of a decisive Clinton victory. So, also wrong.

But there’s another way of forecasting that often proves to be much closer to the actual result: the betting and prediction markets. These can be observed in real time through the Oddschecker service (which lists a range of leading bookmaker prices) as well as by observing the prices on the person-to-person betting exchanges.

There are also dedicated “crowd wisdom” prediction markets such as Almanis, “wisdom of crowd” projects such as Predictwise, as well as real-money prediction markets such as PredictIt and the Iowa Electronic Markets.

On the eve of the caucuses, the real-money betting and prediction markets gave Clinton about a two-in-three chance of winning Iowa, and Trump just a little less. Rubio, it seemed, was trailing third by a fair margin. In the event, it was Cruz who surged to victory among the Republicans while Rubio’s third-place showing was unexpectedly strong. The Democratic race was labelled pretty much across the board as too close to call for most of the count, but the betting markets sided consistently with Clinton.

As soon as the actual results are declared, the betting markets adjust to incorporate the new information. So far they’ve already shaken up their thinking about who will become the Republican party’s nominee, but have barely flickered in regard to the Democratic choice.

Odds on

Going into the caucuses, of the main candidates the betting markets gave Trump a 50% chance of winning the Republican nomination, followed by Rubio on 32%, Cruz on 9% and Jeb Bush on 8%. The commensurate predictions for the Democratic nomination were 80% for Clinton and 19% for Sanders.
In terms of winning the White House, Clinton was firm favourite, with a 51% chance of winning the general election, followed by Trump on 19%, Rubio on 15%, Sanders on 6%, Cruz on 4% and Bush on 3%.

As Americans woke up after the count that map had changed significantly, at least on the Republican side. The new favourite to win the Republican nomination on the betting markets is Rubio, who emerged from the polling with a 53% chance of being the eventual nominee, followed by Trump on 26%, Cruz on 14% and Bush on 5%.

Despite the narrowness of the Democratic contest, the betting markets were unfazed, with Clinton clinging to her 80% chance of taking the nomination.

As to the map of probabilities for who will eventually win the White House, the markets still rank Clinton as the firm favourite for the presidency, just as strong as before Iowa, and Rubio is now her closest challenger: the markets now rate his chances of progressing all the way to victory in November at more than one in five, up from 15%. Trump’s chance has slipped to about one in ten, down from 19%.

So the news of the night is that nothing has really changed on the Democratic front, while Rubio has leapfrogged Trump as the most likely challenger to Clinton. Next comes the New Hampshire primary – and the outcome of that might turn out to be much more significant.

US Elections Forecasting Project 2016

Follow: @leightonvw

The 2016 US Elections Forecasting Project, headed by Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams, Director of the Political Forecasting Unit and the Betting Research Unit at Nottingham Business School, will be updated regularly thought the Primary season and up to and including General Election Day, November 8, 2016.

Monday, January 18, 2016 (Saturday, January 16 in brackets)

Iowa caucuses, February 1, 2016, Democrats

Clinton v. Sanders only.

Political Forecasting Unit projection:

Clinton 61% (63%)

Sanders 39% (37%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-only forecast (based on state polls):

Chances of winning:

Clinton 65 % (66%)

Sanders 35% (34%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast (state and national polls, plus endorsements):

Clinton 81% (82%)

Sanders 19% (18%)

PredictIt implied probabilities:

Clinton 54% (52%)

Sanders 46% (48%)

Betfair implied probabilities:

Clinton 55.9% (59.4%)

Sanders 44.1% (40.6%)

Oddschecker implied probabilities:

Clinton 62.5% (62.5%)

Sanders 37.5% (37.5%)

Predictwise forecast

Clinton – 59% (61.5%)

Sanders – 41% (38.5%)

New Hampshire Primary, February 9, 2016 – Democrats

Clinton v. Sanders only

Political Forecasting Unit projection:

Clinton 32% (35%)

Sanders 68% (65%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-only forecast (based on state polls):

Chances of winning:

Clinton 29% (28%)

Sanders 71% (72%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast (state and national polls, plus endorsements):

Clinton 57% (57%)

Sanders 43% (43%)

PredictIt implied probabilities:

Clinton 29% (27%)

Sanders 71% (73%)

Betfair implied probabilities:

Clinton 36.6% (38.8%)

Sanders 63.4% (61.2%)

Oddschecker implied probabilities:

Clinton 33.5% (34.8%)

Sanders 66.5% (65.2%)

Predictwise forecast:

Clinton – 29% (37%)

Sanders – 71% (63%)

Iowa Caucuses, February 1, 2016 – Republicans

Cruz, Rubio, Trump only

Political Forecasting Unit projection:

Cruz 58% (57%)

Trump 34%  (34%)

Rubio 6% (7%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-only forecast (based on state polls):

Chances of winning:

Cruz 43% (44%)

Trump 42% (42%)

Rubio 8% (8%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast (state and national polls, plus endorsements):

Cruz 51% (51%)

Trump 28% (29%)

Rubio 13% (17%)

PredictIt implied probabilities:

Cruz 57% (54%)

Trump 40% (39%)

Rubio 4% (7%)

Betfair implied probabilities:

Cruz 64.5% (61.7%)

Trump 33.8% (32.5%)

Rubio 5.0% (5.8%)

Oddschecker implied probabilities:

Cruz 61.0% (62.3%)

Trump 33.4% (30.2%)

Rubio 5.6% (7.5%)

Predictwise forecast:

Cruz 62% (63%)

Trump 31% (33%)

Rubio 3% (4%)

New Hampshire Primary, February 9, 2016 – Republicans

Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Christie, Kasich, Bush only

Political Forecasting Unit projection:

Trump 57.5% (55.5%)

Rubio 15.4% (16.1%)

Cruz 9.9% (10.1%)

Christie 7.4% (7.2%)

Kasich 5.4% (6.8%)

Bush 4.4% (4.3%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-only forecast (based on state polls):

Chances of winning:

Trump 56% (57%)

Rubio 12% (12%)

Cruz 9% (9%)

Christie 7% (7%)

Kasich 7% (8%)

Bush 5% (5%)

FiveThirtyEight polls-plus forecast (state and national polls, plus endorsements):

Trump 39% (39%)

Rubio 19% (19%)

Cruz 14% (14%)

Christie 7% (7%)

Kasich 10% (10%)

Bush 8% (9%)

PredictIt implied probabilities:

Trump 69% (65%)

Rubio 11% (12%)

Cruz 9% (9%)

Christie 3% (5%)

Kasich 5% (5%)

Bush 3% (4%)

Betfair implied probabilities:

Trump 59.5% (53.1%)

Rubio 15.1% (16.0%)

Cruz 9.7% (10.1%)

Christie 6.9% (7.9%)

Kasich 4.5% (8.3%)

Bush 4.3% (4.6%)

Oddschecker implied probabilities:

Trump 55.6% (57.6%)

Rubio 17.5% (15.5%)

Cruz 9.7% (8.5%)

Christie 8.7% (10.3%)

Kasich 5.2% (4.7%)

Bush 3.3% (3.4%)

Predictwise forecast:

Trump 59% (51%)

Rubio 17% (13%)

Cruz 9% (11%)

Christie 6% (7%)

Kasich 3% (5%)

Bush 6% (3%)