Betfair has matched more than £700 million on the winner US Presidential Election, making it probably the largest single betting event ever. Oddschecker, the price comparison site, has revealed that the election night was the highest day for traffic in its 21-year history. The affiliate stated that the traffic on election night was 19.4% higher than its previous highest day, which was 14 April 2018 for the Aintree Grand National.

Joe Biden’s victory – although the market remains open on Betfair at the time of writing – is a surprisingly good result for the bookmakers. Ladbrokes, quoted on CalvinAyre.com, said it wanted a Biden result. The payout would be horrendous if Trump won.

If that was the case, why was Trump not favourite? The answer lies in the forecasts made by pollsters and the bookmakers followed their lead. As it turns out, they were right to do so. But did the odds reflect true chance? I don’t think so.

Biden, with the help of postal votes, won but It was a lot closer than the polls suggested.

Frank Lutz, the political strategist told Fox News, “the polling profession is done; this is devastating for my industry.”

On Tuesday morning on the day of the election, The New York Times gave Biden a 70 percent chance of winning Florida, a state Trump won by more than 3 points.

FiveThirtyEight.com projected that Democrats had a 70 percent chance to take back the Senate, while Biden had an 89 percent chance of winning the presidency

New York Times/Siena, rated an A+ pollster by FiveThirtyEight, overestimated Biden’s support by:

• 6+ in Florida
• 4+ in North Carolina
• 10+ in Wisconsin
• 10+ in Iowa
• 9+ in Ohio

The pollsters got Brexit wrong. They got the last UK election wrong. They got the 2016 Presidential election wrong. They got the US 2020 Presidential Election right, but by the wrong margin, this was no landslide as predicted.

Why do they get it so wrong? According to Dr Patrick Basham from the Democracy Institute all pollsters in the US are biased. They set out to produce the result they want. In his polling he doesn’t ask the usual question: “Who are you voting for?” Instead, he asks “Who do you think will win?

When asked, “If they were to vote Trump, would they tell their friends?” only 28% said they would. So, people lie to conform to social acceptability.

A friend of mine has a house in Arizona. He said in the Trump-Clinton election of 2016 all his neighbours had Clinton poster on their lawns, but they all voted for Trump.

How can a bookmaker possibly make a book when the form guide is so out of line with reality? The weight of money determines the odds. This is bookmaking 101.

The market might still be open on the next president, but at 1/18 for Biden, the result is surely in.

by Warwick Bartlett

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