Hillary Clinton has a 91 percent chance to the win presidency, according to Microsoft Research economist David Rothschild, higher odds than any candidate received in the previous three presidential elections under his forecasting model.
Rothschild spoke at the Seattle Interactive Conference Tuesday, and he opened his talk with this simple declaration: “Hillary Clinton is likely to be the next president of the United States.” Rothschild, adorned in a red bowtie and a pair of yellow pants that I am heading out to buy as soon as I post this story, discussed issues with polling, details about his forecasting models and a number of other topics.
Rothschild, who joined Microsoft in 2012, correctly picked all but one state from the 2012 presidential election as well as an average of 20 of 24 Oscars from 2013 to 2016, and all 15 knockout games in the 2014 World Cup. His model, called PredictWise, includes a combination of prediction markets, along with polling and online/social media data, and it helps power Bing’s election forecasts.
But that doesn’t mean Rothschild is immune from being wrong. He gave Great Britain’s exit from the European Union only a 25 percent chance of happening, and we all saw how that turned out. But that’s one of the biggest downsides of being in the forecasting business. He easily could have been right that such an outcome was unlikely, but it still was possible. Which of course means that a Donald Trump presidency is still possible, it’s just not very likely.
An informal poll of the audience showed not a single person intended to vote for Trump, though that could be an indication of the shy Trump voter phenomenon as much as the leftward-bend at this tech conference. A couple people did indicate they were going to vote for third-party candidates. Rothschild said he doesn’t buy a big third-party groundswell.
“People will strategically pull for third party candidates that they want to appear popular and actually like, but then vote for other people because the system really rewards voting for major party candidates,” Rothschild said.
But more important than this election, the Chicago Cubs are the favorite to win the World Series, according to Rothschild’s model, with a 40 percent chance.
The New England Patriots (boo) are the favorite to win the Superbowl at 25 percent, with the Seattle Seahawks (yay) second at 12 percent. Daenerys Targaryen is the favorite to win the Game of Thrones at 35 percent, followed by Jon Snow at 22 percent.
Donald Trump apparently has about as much chance of becoming president as Tyrion Lannister has of winning Game of Thrones. The biggest difference between the two, other than their height, is that Trump doesn’t always pay his debts.