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.