Yet again, opinion polls have been proved spectacularly wrong in a major political betting event. Yet again, odds-on backers were taught a lesson about trying to buy easy money in US primary elections.
Rubio the real winner after Trump's shock defeat
After trading below [2.0] for the Republican nomination, a defeated Donald Trump has ceded favoritism to Marco Rubio, who is now odds-on at [1.82], rated a 55% chance to be the GOP candidate in November's General Election. That despite only finishing third behind Ted Cruz, who is still surprisingly weak at around [7.0] or 14%.
So far as the bigger race is concerned, Rubio is now rated 24% likely to become the first Hispanic US President at odds of [4.1], second only to long-term even money favourite Hillary Clinton. Trump has drifted to [10.0] (10%), while Cruz is relatively dismissed at 24.0 (4%) to be Next President.
The logic behind that betting order is that, while Iowa was perfect for Cruz's pure conservative rhetoric and religiosity, the next stop in New Hampshire tends to favour a more mainstream candidate. After a very strong finish - only scoring 1% less than Trump despite having trailed by up to 14% in a Quinnipac poll published on the day of the caucus - Rubio is best positioned to claim that mantle.
It was a depressing night for Trump and his supporters. Matched down to [1.4] before the caucuses opened, once it became clear that turnout was very high, his odds shortened to just [1.17] (85%). However the market signals were all wrong, and, rather than being the Trump supporters that many had predicted would never materialise at a caucus, these extra voters seem likelier to have turned out in huge numbers to stop him.
That raises the spectre of a similar outcome next week in New Hampshire, where the billionaire and long-standing poll leader has drifted from [1.3] to [1.6]. Once again the market move is for Rubio, down to [4.4] from [10.0]. Cruz is trading around [9.0] with John Kasich also competitive at [14.0].
Sanders goes close but Clinton is the hot pick in Democrat battle
On the Democrat side, Bernie Sanders is almost unbackable at just [1.06], rated 94% likely to avenge an agonisingly close Iowa defeat that may yet be contested. The 74-year-old socialist Senator from neighbouring Vermont continues to draw huge crowds, attract huge amounts in small donations, and gain momentum. Nevertheless, the market still much prefers Clinton for the Democrat Nomination at [1.25] (80%). Sanders remains around [11.5] (9%) for the presidency.
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