Can you Pick the 2016 Election Winners Without TV Analysts? Here’s a Better Bet


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Gamblers who put their money on the line tend to be more accurate than pollsters and pundits. You'll be surprised at what they're saying about Trump and Clinton.

If you want a quick glimpse at who’s likeliest to be our next president, don’t listen to pollsters and pundits. Follow the money.

We don’t mean the big bucks of super PACs or even the millions from small-money donors.

We’re talking about real money people who wager on election outcomes. It turns out that the collective wisdom of bettors has a better record of predicting winners than the talking heads.

One place that bettors congregate online is the Iowa Electronic Markets, or the IEM, at the University of Iowa.

“If you look at polls run during the election, in about 75 percent of the cases, Iowa’s market prices predict the outcome of elections better than the polls,” says Joyce Berg, a University of Iowa accounting professor who oversees the IEM.

Frederick Boehmke, University of Iowa political science professor and faculty adviser to the Hawkeye Poll, recently explained why to the Quad City Times newspaper.

“A poll asks a person’s preference, what they want to happen,” Boehmke said. People investing in the IEM, however, “are trying to make money, so they pick the candidate or party they think will win. They typically set aside personal preferences to make money.”

Also, a poll is a snapshot at a moment in time, Boehmke said. The market “is about who will win in the end.”

The IEM and another exchange, PredictIt, which is set up in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, say the predictions work because the “wisdom of crowds” aggregates the expectations of thousands of bettors who have skin in the game.

A now-defunct exchange called Intrade in 2012 “predicted” the electoral outcome in 49 of the 50 states.

People who put up real money are more likely to consider all the available information than people who just offer their opinions, says Money Talks News financial expert Stacy Johnson.

That information could include economic and business conditions, stock market performance, inflation and employment rates as well as other factors that could sway voters’ moods. Once invested in the outcome, bettors follow campaigns closely. As on a stock exchange and similar to fantasy sports leagues, bettors can make or lose money buying and selling their shares in the outcomes in which they invested.

You can get in on the action.

How it works

In exchanges, bettors actually are traders who buy and sell real-money contracts based on their beliefs about “yes or no” election outcomes. Unlike a casino sports book, the exchange does not set odds. The prices reflect the probabilities of various candidate winning a given political race.

PredictIt explains it this way:

You make predictions on future events by buying shares in an outcome, Yes or No. Each outcome has a probability between 1 and 99 percent, which is converted into U.S. cents.

“For example, Trader A thinks an event has at least a 60 percent chance of taking place so she offers 60 cents for a Yes share. PredictIt matches her offer with that of Trader B, who is willing to pay 40 cents for a No share. Each trader now owns a share in the market for this event on opposite sides. … If an event does take place, all Yes shares are redeemed at $1. Shares in No become worthless. If the event does not take place before the market closes, traders holding shares in No will be paid $1, while Yes shares will be worthless.

At the IEM, you can open an account for $5 to $200.

If you just want to look, check who’s leading the popular bets.

Popular bets

For the moment, according to the exchanges and other betting venues, the odds-on favorite is Hillary Clinton. That doesn’t mean bettors favor Hillary’s politics over those of Bernie Sanders, her rival for the Democratic nomination, or Republican front-runner Donald Trump. It just means they bet she wins. The likelihood of a Trump presidency, according to bettors, is less than 20 percent.

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,067 more deals!