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Will President Trump be impeached or leave office early? Here’s what the prediction markets say.
What are the odds that President Donald Trump faces impeachment?
This question, once seen as a rabid liberal fantasy, has percolated into the realm of relative possibility amid a cacophony of scandals that have bombarded the Trump White House over the past few months.
In mid-May, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) became the first member of Congress to call for Trump’s impeachment on the House floor, and despite receiving death threats, he told C-SPAN he’s drawing up articles of impeachment—and Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) already has.
Even some Republicans, including Rep. Carlos Curbelo—who faces re-election in a blue district in 2018—have entertained the possibility of a Trump impeachment.
A Public Policy Polling survey released on June 12 found that 47 percent of people believe Congress should impeach Trump, while 43 percent do not think the president should be impeached. That’s a slight increase over the numbers in a May 31 Politico/Morning Consult poll, which found that 43 percent of Americans want Congress to being the process of impeaching Trump, a five-point increase over the same poll’s previous findings.
Calls for Trump’s impeachment—or a simple resignation—increased in August following the president’s widely criticized remarks regarding violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The uproar has sparked headlines declaring Trump a failed president, and the moment marks a new low for Trump. But that doesn’t mean he’ll vacate the Oval Office anytime soon.
Let’s be clear: Impeaching Trump remains a distant possibility, and booting him out of office is even less likely. Doing so would require the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to bring impeachment against him, and the Republican-controlled Senate to conduct an investigation into allegations against him—and a two-thirds vote in the Senate to find him guilty.
In short, Trump is probably not going to get kicked out of office. But as any American likely remembers, he was probably not going to be president, either.
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Despite the low probability of a Trump impeachment, the chances are rising on political betting markets. Unlike polls, these markets are based on the predictions of people who have real money in the game, which may make them more accurate than any single poll.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of the odds bettors put on Trump either being impeached or leaving office before the end of his term in 2020.
Betfair odds that Trump leaves office early: 46.6 percent
As of Friday, Aug. 18, Betfair puts the odds that Trump leaves the White House before the end of his first term at 46.6 percent—a significant dip from early July, when the odds were at 54 percent.
The Betfair odds of Trump leaving office by the end of 2017 remain low but have risen slightly to 10.6 percent—although that’s still below the 11 percent odds from early July. Bettors put Trump’s odds of an early exit in 2018 at just over 26 percent; however, the odds of him serving out two full terms is at 46 percent—nearly an eight-point drop from the beginning of July.
Trump impeachment odds on Predictit: 34 percent
Predictit, which bills itself as a “stock market for politics,” puts Trump’s odds of being impeached during his first term at 34 percent. That’s slightly down from the high of 39 percent on Aug. 7, but the odds are on an upward tick as of Aug. 18.
Predictit users give Trump an 11 percent chance of being impeached in 2017. That said, Predictit users give it a significantly higher likelihood (20 percent) that Trump will leave office before the end of the year. Users predict a 38 percent chance of Trump leaving the White House by the end of 2018.
Ladbrokes combines the question of Trump being impeached and leaving office early (which are not necessarily the same thing) to give even chances of America having a different president earlier than expected.
Overall, Ladbrokes bettors give Trump a 14.3 percent chance of leaving the White House in 2017, a 25 percent chance of leaving in 2018, and about a 5 percent chance that he serves two full terms.
Are Trump impeachment odds correct?
These numbers may seem high—a nearly even chance Trump leaves office early, really?—and, according to some data experts, they likely are. David Rothschild, an economist with Microsoft Research, tracks Trump’s chances of leaving office early at his site, PredictWise. The site tracks betting markets like Betfair and Predictit to give an aggregate look at the data, which he says is “not great.”
According to Rothschild, Trump’s chances of leaving office before the end of his term are likely much lower than the betting markets’ current prices reveal. “The true probability is lower than their ask price and higher than their bid price; if there is no bid price, than the true probability is between $0 and the ask price,” Rothschild writes.
Still, Rothschild’s numbers show Trump’s chances of remaining in the White House through 2020 falling precipitously in mid-May to their lowest point since he took office on Jan. 20. Over the course of July and the first half of August, they’ve settled in at below 50 percent.
In a deep dive “thought experiment” into Trump’s chance of impeachment, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver says any odds of 50 percent or lower are good news for Trump. But if they hit 75 percent, then it’s time to start wondering about the future of America’s commander-in-chief.
Of course, all the numbers above will fluctuate as the Trump presidency progresses, for better or worse. And that’s especially true if Democrats trounce Republicans in the 2018 midterm election. If that happens, the smart money may be a bet against Trump. Of course, that line of thinking has failed before.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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