A presidential match-up between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is rated likelier than ever after the front-runners totally dominated Tuesday's round of primaries in the North-East.
Clinton is now just 1.041/25 to be the Democrat Nominee and 1.341/3 to become Next President, which equates to 96% and 75% chances respectively. On the Republican side, Trump is 1.211/5 or 83% for the nomination, and 5.39/2 (19%) for the presidency.
In keeping with the entire campaign, the movement in Trump's odds over recent weeks has been remarkable, proving how even the most predictable sources of momentum can transform betting markets.
After losing Wisconsin three weeks ago, Trump fell to his lowest rating since notching his first victory in New Hampshire, down to around 45%. All that has changed since to drive those odds down is a series of wholly predictable victories in his home state of New York and then Tuesday's quintet.
Likewise, the odds regarding a contested or brokered convention have been transformed. After Wisconsin, Trump was rated around 78% to win fewer than the 1,237 delegates required to guarantee victory. Today, 'Yes' in our Contested Convention market is down to just 33% at odds of 3.02/1. According to Fivethirtyeight's delegates prediction models, he is running ahead of the required rate.
In addition to Trump winning even more bound delegates than expected on Tuesday, the front-runner received a massive bonus with the news that a further 39 of Pennsylvania's unbound delegates will support him. Every one of them that fulfils their word on the first ballot at the party convention in July reduces Trump's target from 1,237. From previously 2.568/5 (39%) for No to a Brokered Convention, it is now rated 77% likely that the result is determined on the first ballot.
Could things turn around again? The answer hinges almost entirely on next week's Indiana Primary. Were Trump to win most of the 57 delegates, realistic paths to stopping him would close. Were Ted Cruz to win, though, the #NeverTrump movement will be emboldened ahead of the final few races. One week later, Nebraska looks a prime target for Cruz.
Currently, Trump is favourite at 1.351/3 (74%) for Indiana - a price doubtless driven by the latest results and polls showing him between 5 and 8% ahead. However, those polls pre-date a significant development with the potential to transform the contest.
On Monday, Trump's two rivals effectively forged a public agreement to swap targets. Kasich will make no meaningful attempt to win Indiana - where he's polling around 20% - in exchange for Cruz disregarding Oregon and New Mexico.
It remain to be seen whether Kasich voters will behave tactically or even prefer Cruz, but the trends from Wisconsin bode well for him. Generally, in states where he has polled around or below 40%, Trump has struggled to pick up enough switchers or late deciders. If Kasich defectors can propel Cruz beyond 45%, he will likely win.
It also remains to be seen whether Cruz will get a boost from announcing Carly Fiorina as his running mate. The former Hewlett Packard CEO's performances in earlier debates were widely praised and she arguably fared better against Trump than any of her male rivals. She could have the potential to expand Cruz's loyal yet limited base. Nevertheless, the Texas Senator's presidential bid is now only one important defeat away from irrelevance.
Follow me on Twitter @paulmotty and at my website Political Gambler
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