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Track Record - Election Betting Odds

By Maxim Lott

ElectionBettingOdds.com tracked some 370 different candidate chances across dozens of races and states in 2016.

How accurate has this site been?

When a candidate favored by bettors loses, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking the bettors were "wrong". But remember that when bettors give someone, for example, a 65% chance to win -- that also means the bettors give the person a 35% chance to lose.

The real way to judge the bettors' accuracy is to consider: out of all the different candidates whom bettors have given a 65% chance of winning - how many actually won?

If the bettors were perfectly accurate, the candidates whom they gave a 65% chance would win exactly 65% of the time.

On ElectionBettingOdds.com, out of the 11 times the bettors gave a candidate between a 60% and 70% chance of winning on election day - that candidate actually won 64% of the time. That's pretty spot-on.

However, in a few percentile ranges the bettors were not perfectly accurate in 2016.

The worst accuracy came in 19 races where bettors put the odds at between 20% and 30%. In those case, candidates actually won more than 40% of the time. This prediction error was caused by upsets such as Trump and Brexit.

The following graph shows all percentile ranges along the horizontal axis, broken into 10% increments. The vertical axis shows how often the candidates won in reality.

The blue line shows what predictions would look like if they were perfect. Where the red line differs from the blue line, the predictions were off somewhat:

The graph shows that bettors were not perfect at predicting 2016 elections, but that they were good, and better than other predictors.

It beats listening to pundits. A study by the author of Superforecasting got smart people to make predictions for study of their accuracy:

I managed to recruit 284 serious professionals, cardcarrying experts whose livelihoods involved analyzing political and economic trends and events... Almost all had postgraduate training; half had PhDs...

In the end:

the average expert was roughly as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee.

Certain groups of pundits - namely ideological ones and those with frequent TV appearances - actually did worse than dart-throwing chimpanzees.

As ElectionBettingOdds.com tracks more elections, it will be interesting to see if the accuracy increases. Also to come: an analysis looking at more predictions made by the site over time (every day, or even every 5 minutes) -- as opposed to data used in the above graph, which just looks at a single prediction for each candidate, taken on the morning of the election.

As an aside, here were the biggest upsets of 2016:

CANDIDATESTATEEBO ProbabilityWIN? 1=yes, 0=no
CruzOK4.7%1
CruzME6.4%1
SandersMI8.4%1
TrumpWI General Election12.5%1
REP SenWI General Election - Senate13.5%1
TrumpUSA General Election20.2%1
TrumpPA General Election20.6%1
SandersIN22.0%1
REP SenPA General Election - Senate23.0%1
TrumpMI General Election24.8%1
SandersMN24.9%1
LeaveBrexit24.9%1

Below is ElectionBettingOdds.com's full track record for 2016 (send any questions or comments to Maxim Lott at maxim.lott@gmail.com or at @maximlott on Twitter.) The graph above is based on these data:

CANDIDATESTATEEBO ProbabilityWIN? 1=yes, 0=no
ClintonIA72.4%1
SandersIA27.3%0
OMalleyIA0.3%0
TrumpIA62.8%0
RubioIA6.7%0
CarsonIA0.2%0
FiorinaIA0.2%0
CruzIA30.0%1
ChristieIA0.2%0
ClintonNH2.6%0
SandersNH96.9%1
OMalleyNH0.5%0
BushNH3.2%0
TrumpNH82.2%1
RubioNH4.7%0
CarsonNH0.1%0
KasichNH6.7%0
FiorinaNH0.1%0
CruzNH2.2%0
ChristieNH0.9%0
BushSC0.9%0
TrumpSC88.5%1
RubioSC7.4%0
CarsonSC0.9%0
KasichSC0.3%0
CruzSC2.1%0
ClintonSC98.7%1
SandersSC1.3%0
TrumpNV90.1%1
RubioNV8.8%0
CarsonNV0.3%0
CruzNV0.9%0
ClintonAL99.4%1
SandersAL1.0%0
TrumpAL98.8%1
RubioAL1.3%0
CarsonAL0.3%0
KasichAL0.3%0
CruzAL0.3%0
ClintonAR49.3%1
SandersAR50.7%0
TrumpAR86.0%1
RubioAR2.3%0
CarsonAR2.6%0
KasichAR0.9%0
CruzAR10.3%0
ClintonGA99.4%1
SandersGA0.5%0
TrumpGA95.3%1
RubioGA2.1%0
CarsonGA1.1%0
KasichGA0.9%0
CruzGA2.1%0
ClintonMA91.7%1
SandersMA8.5%0
TrumpMA96.6%1
RubioMA1.6%0
CarsonMA0.9%0
KasichMA0.9%0
CruzMA0.9%0
ClintonMN75.1%0
SandersMN24.9%1
TrumpMN62.5%0
RubioMN29.4%1
CarsonMN1.2%0
KasichMN1.2%0
CruzMN5.7%0
ClintonOK58.6%0
SandersOK41.4%1
TrumpOK87.8%0
RubioOK7.0%0
CarsonOK0.2%0
KasichOK0.2%0
CruzOK4.7%1
ClintonTN98.7%1
SandersTN1.2%0
TrumpTN93.8%1
RubioTN1.2%0
CarsonTN0.2%0
KasichTN2.6%0
CruzTN2.1%0
ClintonTX99.2%1
SandersTX0.8%0
TrumpTX12.3%0
RubioTX1.0%0
CarsonTX0.4%0
KasichTX0.4%0
CruzTX87.9%1
ClintonVA99.2%1
SandersVA0.8%0
TrumpVA93.9%1
RubioVA4.8%0
CarsonVA0.6%0
KasichVA0.7%0
CruzVA0.6%0
ClintonKS21.5%0
SandersKS78.5%1
TrumpKS37.7%0
RubioKS5.2%0
CruzKS57.0%1
TrumpKY70.1%1
RubioKY6.9%0
CruzKY22.9%0
ClintonLA99.9%1
SandersLA0.1%0
TrumpLA88.0%1
CruzLA11.9%0
(ClintonME16.1%0
SandersME83.8%1
TrumpME77.1%0
RubioME2.7%0
KasichME13.7%0
CruzME6.4%1
TrumpPR11.4%0
RubioPR73.9%1
CruzPR14.7%0
TrumpHI30.2%1
RubioHI45.6%0
KasichHI4.2%0
CruzHI20.0%0
TrumpID33.2%0
RubioID2.7%0
CruzID64.1%1
ClintonMI91.5%0
SandersMI8.4%1
TrumpMI87.4%1
KasichMI8.2%0
CruzMI4.3%0
ClintonMS99.9%1
SandersMS0.1%0
TrumpMS88.5%1
CruzMS11.4%0
TrumpDC29.2%0
RubioDC35.4%1
KasichDC24.9%0
CruzDC10.5%0
ClintonFL91.5%1
SandersFL8.4%0
TrumpFL88.8%1
RubioFL9.2%0
CruzFL1.9%0
ClintonIL51.7%1
SandersIL48.2%0
TrumpIL66.6%1
KasichIL2.4%0
CruzIL30.9%0
ClintonMO31.8%1
SandersMO68.1%0
TrumpMO53.9%1
CruzMO46.0%0
ClintonNC90.1%1
SandersNC9.8%0
TrumpNC85.5%1
CruzNC14.4%0
ClintonOH61.8%1
SandersOH38.1%0
TrumpOH27.2%0
KasichOH70.8%1
CruzOH1.9%0
ClintonAZ83.9%1
SandersAZ16.1%0
TrumpAZ87.4%1
KasichAZ0.7%0
CruzAZ11.9%0
ClintonUT15.9%0
SandersUT84.1%1
TrumpUT3.2%0
KasichUT2.7%0
CruzUT94.1%1
ClintonWI13.1%0
SandersWI86.9%1
TrumpWI19.4%0
KasichWI1.0%0
CruzWI79.6%1
ClintonNY89.6%1
SandersNY10.4%0
TrumpNY99.9%1
KasichNY0.1%0
CruzNY0.1%0
ClintonCT81.4%1
SandersCT18.6%0
TrumpCT98.6%1
KasichCT1.1%0
CruzCT0.3%0
ClintonDE96.4%1
SandersDE3.6%0
TrumpDE97.1%1
KasichDE1.5%0
CruzDE1.4%0
ClintonMD97.5%1
SandersMD2.4%0
TrumpMD94.3%1
KasichMD3.5%0
CruzMD2.2%0
ClintonPA94.6%1
SandersPA5.4%0
TrumpPA93.9%1
KasichPA3.1%0
CruzPA3.0%0
ClintonRI57.7%0
SandersRI42.2%1
TrumpRI97.8%1
KasichRI1.7%0
CruzRI0.5%0
ClintonIN77.9%0
SandersIN22.0%1
TrumpIN94.4%1
KasichIN0.1%0
CruzIN5.5%0
TrumpNE96.4%1
KasichNE1.4%0
CruzNE2.1%0
ClintonWV12.4%0
SandersWV87.6%1
TrumpWV99.9%1
KasichWV0.1%0
CruzWV0.1%0
ClintonOR19.8%0
SandersOR80.2%1
TrumpOR99.6%1
KasichOR0.1%0
CruzOR0.2%0
TrumpWA99.9%1
KasichWA0.1%0
CruzWA0.1%0
ClintonCA74.8%1
SandersCA25.1%0
TrumpCA99.9%1
KasichCA0.1%0
CruzCA0.1%0
ClintonUSA General Election79.5%0
TrumpUSA General Election20.2%1
JohnsonUSA General Election0.1%0
SteinUSA General Election0.1%0
McMullinUSA General Election0.1%0
ClintonAK General Election14.5%0
TrumpAK General Election85.5%1
ClintonAL General Election2.5%0
TrumpAL General Election97.5%1
ClintonAR General Election3.5%0
TrumpAR General Election96.5%1
ClintonAZ General Election25.0%0
TrumpAZ General Election75.0%1
ClintonCA General Election96.0%1
TrumpCA General Election4.0%0
ClintonCO General Election79.0%1
TrumpCO General Election21.5%0
ClintonCT General Election94.0%1
TrumpCT General Election6.0%0
ClintonDE General Election95.5%1
TrumpDE General Election4.5%0
ClintonFL General Election66.8%0
TrumpFL General Election33.2%1
ClintonGA General Election13.9%0
TrumpGA General Election86.1%1
ClintonHI General Election96.0%1
TrumpHI General Election4.0%0
ClintonIA General Election25.0%0
TrumpIA General Election75.0%1
ClintonID General Election3.5%0
TrumpID General Election96.5%1
ClintonIL General Election95.5%1
TrumpIL General Election4.5%0
ClintonIN General Election4.5%0
TrumpIN General Election95.5%1
ClintonKS General Election4.0%0
TrumpKS General Election96.0%1
ClintonKY General Election3.5%0
TrumpKY General Election96.5%1
ClintonLA General Election2.5%0
TrumpLA General Election97.5%1
ClintonMA General Election96.5%1
TrumpMA General Election3.5%0
ClintonMD General Election97.5%1
TrumpMD General Election2.5%0
ClintonME General Election83.9%1
TrumpME General Election16.1%0
ClintonMI General Election75.2%0
TrumpMI General Election24.8%1
ClintonMN General Election89.0%1
TrumpMN General Election11.0%0
ClintonMO General Election5.4%0
TrumpMO General Election94.6%1
ClintonMS General Election2.5%0
TrumpMS General Election97.0%1
ClintonMT General Election6.0%0
TrumpMT General Election94.0%1
ClintonNC General Election54.4%0
TrumpNC General Election45.6%1
ClintonND General Election3.5%0
TrumpND General Election96.5%1
ClintonNE General Election2.5%0
TrumpNE General Election97.5%1
ClintonNH General Election69.7%1
TrumpNH General Election30.3%0
ClintonNJ General Election94.6%1
TrumpNJ General Election5.4%0
ClintonNM General Election87.7%1
Trump NM General Election12.3%0
ClintonNV General Election81.2%1
TrumpNV General Election18.8%0
ClintonNY General Election95.5%1
TrumpNY General Election4.5%0
ClintonOH General Election34.0%0
TrumpOH General Election66.0%1
ClintonOK General Election2.5%0
TrumpOK General Election97.5%1
ClintonOR General Election93.5%1
TrumpOR General Election6.0%0
ClintonPA General Election79.4%0
TrumpPA General Election20.6%1
ClintonRI General Election92.3%1
TrumpRI General Election7.7%0
ClintonSC General Election7.5%0
TrumpSC General Election92.5%1
ClintonSD General Election6.5%0
TrumpSD General Election93.5%1
ClintonTN General Election1.5%0
TrumpTN General Election98.5%1
ClintonTX General Election8.5%0
TrumpTX General Election91.5%1
ClintonUT General Election6.5%0
TrumpUT General Election87.0%1
OTHERUT General Election6.5%0
ClintonVA General Election86.7%1
TrumpVA General Election13.3%0
ClintonVT General Election96.5%1
TrumpVT General Election3.5%0
ClintonWA General Election95.0%1
TrumpWA General Election5.0%0
ClintonWI General Election87.5%0
TrumpWI General Election12.5%1
ClintonWV General Election2.5%0
TrumpWV General Election97.5%1
ClintonWY General Election2.5%0
TrumpWY General Election97.5%1
DEM SenAK General Election - Senate6.4%0
REP SenAK General Election - Senate93.6%1
DEM SenAZ General Election - Senate5.5%0
REP SenAZ General Election - Senate94.5%1
DEM SenCO General Election - Senate92.5%1
REP SenCO General Election - Senate7.5%0
DEM SenFL General Election - Senate14.1%0
REP SenFL General Election - Senate85.9%1
DEM SenIA General Election - Senate2.5%0
REP SenIA General Election - Senate97.5%1
DEM SenIL General Election - Senate95.1%1
REP SenIL General Election - Senate4.9%0
DEM SenIN General Election - Senate33.5%0
REP SenIN General Election - Senate66.0%1
DEM SenLA General Election - Senate14.8%0
REP SenLA General Election - Senate85.2%1
DEM SenMD General Election - Senate97.0%1
REP SenMD General Election - Senate2.5%0
DEM SenMO General Election - Senate41.0%0
REP SenMO General Election - Senate59.0%1
DEM SenNC General Election - Senate34.3%0
REP SenNC General Election - Senate65.7%1
DEM SenNH General Election - Senate51.5%1
REP SenNH General Election - Senate48.0%0
DEM SenNV General Election - Senate77.0%1
REP SenNV General Election - Senate18.5%0
DEM SenOH General Election - Senate4.0%0
REP SenOH General Election - Senate96.0%1
DEM SenPA General Election - Senate77.0%0
REP SenPA General Election - Senate23.0%1
DEM SenWI General Election - Senate82.5%0
REP SenWI General Election - Senate13.5%1
LeaveBrexit24.9%1
StayBrexit75.1%0

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