Sunday, January 31, 2016

Can Donald Trump Run the Table in February?

On the eve of the Iowa caucus let's forget the polls again and look at the odds:

Candidate 11/11/20151/31/2016
Hillary Clinton 45.7% 50%
Donald Trump 9.9% 16%
Marco Rubio 15.8% 11%
Bernie Sanders 7.9% 10%
Ted Cruz 3.0% 9%
Michael Bloomberg - 2%
Jeb Bush 5.7% 1%
Chris Christie 1.9% 1%
Ben Carson 3.8% -
John Kasich 1.6% -
Carly Fiorina 1.3% -
Mike Huckabee 1.0% -
Rand Paul 0.5% -
Martin O'Malley 0.5% -
Rick Santorum 0.4% -
Bobby Jindal 0.4% -
Lindsey Graham 0.3% -
George Pataki 0.3% -

For now, the smart money is still sticking with Hillary Clinton. Since November, Donald Trump has moved up a slot and Marco Rubio has moved down. It's fair to say that Trump was always leading Rubio, but there was some expectation Trump would fade and Rubio would become the front-runner. Ted Cruz has also moved up, despite questions about his eligibility.

Moreover, Trump is poised to run the table in February:
Candidate Iowa
New Hampshire
South Carolina
Donald Trump 69% 82% 68% 50%
Ted Cruz 29% 4% 30% 33%
Marco Rubio 1% 4% 5% 15%
John Kasich 1% 4% 1% 1%
Jeb Bush 1% 2% 1% -

That would put Trump's raw odds (if these were just coin flips) at 19% to run the table and win all four delegate contests in February. However, these are not independent events, and a sweep would create tremendous momentum going into the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses in 13 states on March 1.

Update 2/2/2016:Trump didn't buy the farm in Iowa, but he did say he was thinking about buying one in his second place victory/concession speech. His odds of sweeping the remaining 3 contests in February has dropped to 13%. I'm guessing he saw his shadow in New Hampshire on Groundhog Day.

Update 2/10/2016:Trump's win in New Hampshire put him back on track. His betting odds to sweep both South Carolina and Nevada are now at 32.5%. But while Donald Trump's 100,406 NH votes beat the 95,252 for Hillary Clinton they finished second to the for 151,584 Bernie Sanders. In total, the 246,836 votes cast for Hillary and Bernie on the Democratic side trailed 279,130 for the Republican field. Uh oh.

Update 2/21/2016:Trump has won all the delegates in South Carolina on the strength of his 32.5% first place showing and is now the 82% favorite to win Nevada. Cruz, the Iowa winner, has had to settle for 2 third place finishes and may suffer another Tuesday in Nevada.

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