2016 Election Odds: How Will the Clinton E-Mail News Impact Predictions?

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton arrives on stage for a rally at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, October 23, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton arrives on stage for a rally at the University of North Carolina. (Getty)

Following the breaking news on Friday that the FBI plans to look into newly discovered emails relevant to their investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private server, the presidential race betting markets immediately reacted.

On PredictWise, an aggregate that takes a look at betting markets and predictions all over the Internet, within about an hour of the news hitting the Internet, Donald Trump’s chances of winning the presidency rose from 10 percent to 13 percent. Hillary Clinton’s chances dropped from 90 percent to 87 percent, a significant decline to occur in just about an hour.

Delving into some of the individual betting markets, some of them reacted to the FBI news more drastically than others, but virtually all of them saw Hillary Clinton’s likelihood of winning decreasing slightly. Still, she remains the overwhelming favorite. On Predict It, right after James Comey released his announcement, Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency dropped about eight points.

On Bet Fair, an even sharper decline occurred, as the odds of Hillary Clinton winning the presidency fell 10 points, going from 85 percent to 75 percent.

Meanwhile, on OddsShark, the Hillary Clinton news was seen as so significant that the presidential race’s odds were temporarily taken off of the site. When they came back, Clinton’s chances had dropped, going from -450 to -300 and with Trump going from +275 to +200. This translates into a drop from 85 percent to 75 percent for Clinton, and a rise from 23 percent to 33 percent for Trump.

On 5Dimes, Clinton’s odds went from 1/5 before the news to 2/9 after. On Ladbrokes, Trump’s chances of winning rose eight points, from 21 percent to 29 percent.

Very quick swings in the betting markets like this are not unprecedented, and we’ve seen a few notable sudden changes throughout the presidential race. In the 24 hours after the release of the now infamous Access Hollywood tape on which Donald Trump brags about sexually assaulting women, his odds of winning dropped from 19 percent to 13 percent.

These markets also reacted during the presidential debates, during the first one moving about four points towards Hillary Clinton, 69 percent to 73 percent.

So will this news actually impact who wins the presidential election? One factor to consider is that millions of voters across the country have already cast their ballots, with early voting in several states having been open for a few weeks now. On Twitter, PredictWise founder David Rothschild said he doubts this news will affect voter sentiment, but he said he could see it affecting voter enthusiasm. The idea that many within the Obama coalition might stay home on Election Day is currently one of the Clinton campaign’s biggest fears.


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