After Iowa Caucus, Gamblers See Rubio As GOP’s Best Bet

His Iowa flub means no-one's putting money on Donald Trump any more

Wouldn't bet on this pair — (Illustration: R. A. Di Ieso/Vocativ)
Feb 02, 2016 at 2:34 PM ET

Rubio came in third place in Iowa Monday night, but in one arena, he’s the smart money to win it all.

A forecasting project led by economist David Rothschild shows how people who are wiling to bet cold, hard cash on the Republican race are placing their bets on Rubio after his third-place showing in the Iowa caucus. Trump’s was given a 59 percent chance of winning the nomination as recently as yesterday, but fresh predictions in the cold light of the post-Iowa dawn showed that the billionaire has taken a nosedive, and that dark horse Marco Rubio has surged ahead of the pack, from the punters’ perspective.

The project is called Predictwise, and it aggregates betting markets like Betfair and other online spaces where people place bets with each other on sporting and political events. The massive overnight shift in Marco Rubio’s odds can be attributed to Monday night’s Iowa caucus, in which Ted Cruz confounded the pollsters to take the lead, Donald Trump was named the ironic loser, and Marco Rubio came in a close third place. Since then, Trump took a massive hit of 26 percentage points, boosting Rubio’s standing by nearly as much.

PredictWise uses aggregated data to help show likelihood of various outcomes, effectively functioning as a prediction markets. Such tools have proven effective in accurately forecasting past elections, even more so than polls, arguably because the people placing the bets have a real financial stake in the outcome, and therefore make more informed choices.

Despite his first-place triumph in Iowa last night, Cruz’s current chances currently stand at a mere 13 percent. Though an improvement from earlier this week, he’s still adjudged to have be 10 points more likely to receive the nomination than Jeb Bush, who has sunk to a low which reflects the extremely low expectations of his campaign.