It’s probably first ballot or bust for Donald Trump at GOP convention

It’s probably first ballot or bust for Donald Trump at GOP convention

At the prediction market Betfair on Friday morning, bettors put Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination at 56 percent. That’s down a fair bit — Trump had been hovering at about 70 percent after his win in Arizona (and loss in Utah) last week. Meanwhile, the likelihood of a contested convention according to bettors has considerably increased. There’s now a 63 percent chance that the convention in Cleveland will require multiple ballots, according to Betfair.

In other words, the markets are now betting on a contested convention. Not just a near-miss, where the nomination is resolved at some point between the last day of GOP primaries June 7 and the start of the convention July 18, but the thing that political journalists dream about: a full-blown contested convention where it takes multiple ballots to determine the Republican nominee.

Here’s the thing, though: Those markets don’t make a lot of sense. If you really think the chance of a multi-ballot convention is 63 percent, but also still have Trump with a 56 percent chance of winning the nomination, that implies there’s a fairly good chance that Trump will win if voting goes beyond the first ballot. That’s probably wrong. If Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, he’s probably screwed.

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