Like many Americans, I was out all day on Sunday watching football. Slowly but surely, I started getting lots of emails about Hillary’s health. Figuring something was up, I finished watching the first set of games, and then went home and checked out what happened. Once I read the news and found out what occurred, like those who had contacted me, I wondered what the effect the presidential election would be.
So where did I look? If you’ve read my previous content on where to find the real odds, you already know: I went straight to Betfair, and checked out the US election odds. As the news got digested by the oddsmakers, and real money was moved around and the odds repriced, the odds for Sanders, Biden, and Kaine began increasing. The odds for Trump moved up just a touch, but not nearly as much as many who contacted me thought they would.
As of 9/12/2016 at 11:20AM EST, the odds were as seen below:
I’ll put the numbers in percentage terms of chance to win the election, to simplify. All percentages are approximates:
- Hillary Clinton: 61% (prior: 68%)
- Donald Trump: 30.5% (prior: 28%)
- Joe Biden: 3.7%
- Bernie Sanders: 3.1%
- Tim Kaine: 1.1%
- Gary Johnson: 0.25%
After looking at the new odds, I asked myself the question again: does Hillary’s health matter? Below are my observations:
Of all the possible candidates to potentially replace Hillary, Biden and Sanders are in a virtual tie, with a slight edge going to Biden. While Tim Kaine could replace Hillary, he would likely remain as the VP on a new ticket. The DNC has no official procedure to replace a nominated candidate who drops out, so no one really has a clue what would happen if Hillary left the race. The presumption is that the DNC would think Biden is a stronger replacement than Sanders, who was not liked by the DNC during the nomination process. Sanders of course would have a lot of existing support of many who voted for him in the primary, just not the backing of the DNC. Biden, who was likely already kicking himself for not running, has to really be regretting that decision now… unless he somehow bucks the odds and ends up replacing Hillary. If Biden does replace her, he would get all the benefits of being the candidate, without having any of the drawbacks of having ample time to attack his platform leading into the election, leaving him far better off than if he ran from the beginning.
Only a small amount of the “benefits” of Hillary’s health episode have accrued to Trump… so far. His odds for victory have only increased ~2% from a prior 28% this past week. I think this is because any of the proposed replacements are far stronger candidates than Hillary is. Hillary is easily the weakest, most flawed, and easily exposed presidential candidate the party has put forward in the last 7-8 election cycles, if not more. She lost to Obama in 2008, and while Obama is an excellent speaker and campaigner, he was Illinois’ junior senator at the time who hadn’t even finished serving his first term. Obama and Sanders both should have been patsy opponents for her, and she still lost to Obama and had to have heavy DNC support to defeat Sanders, who has plenty of his own weaknesses, including his own age and mental health.
If Hillary isn’t replaced, I think only some of the benefits of her health episode will accrue to Trump. The “Never Trump” crowd will still come out for her, but will obviously be less likely to show up and vote for someone they think may not be healthy enough to hold office, not including all her other misgivings.
If Hillary is replaced, I would expect Trump’s odds to get way worse. I think if Biden/Sanders/Kaine replaced Hillary, people would flock to the new candidate. Trump is hated by people from both parties, notably the elites/establishment, constantly puts his foot in his mouth, and I believe it would be easy to garner support for whoever should have been running against him instead of Hillary. And as I stated above, all of the potential replacements are far stronger candidates than Hillary.
Gary Johnson is still not a factor. Unfortunately, the Libertarian candidate hasn’t seen any benefit at all from this.
So, while Hillary’s health COULD be a factor, right now, it is more than likely not a big enough issue to get her replaced. The market is pricing the likelihood of Hillary replacements at a total of ~8% chance of winning it all. As a percentage of Hillary’s odds to win, that puts her odds of being replaced at ~13%. Her health is most likely either A) not an issue, or B) is an issue, and the DNC/Mainstream Media will prop her up Weekend at Bernie’s style. No matter what the pundits are saying to get their name in the news, with an 87% chance that she stays in the race, odds are very strong that Hillary’s presidential race isn’t ending until after the election is over.