In October, Paddy Power paid out £800,000 ($992,528) on a Clinton victory after a series of negative news stories threatened to derail Donald Trump’s campaign.
“We’re in the business of making predictions and decided to put our neck on the line by paying out early on Hillary Clinton, but boy did we get it wrong,” Paddy Power spokesperson Lewis Davey said in a statement Wednesday.
The bookmaker added that it had been hit for more than £4 million ($4.96 million) by punters who’d backed Donald Trump to win.
“We’ve been well and truly thumped by Trump, with his victory leaving us with the biggest political pay-out in the company’s history and some very, very expensive egg on our faces,” Davey added.
In fairness to them, the day that news broke, Trump was less than 10 days removed from the “Access Hollywood” tape and had just absorbed a week of sexual-assault accusations. He was down nine points in one new national poll and by 15 in another, and trailed in a poll of Arizona by five. Yet another reminder that the polls were garbage all along, no? Not exactly: Team Trump’s own internal polling showed him losing to Clinton too, and recently.
The best data inside the Trump campaign and the RNC had Donald Trump’s chances of winning the presidency as a one-in-five proposition…
[On Friday] RNC staffers thought Trump would win 240 Electoral College votes, 30 short of the 270 needed to win. They cautioned reporters that these numbers could change. And it was noteworthy that their projections were more optimistic than much of the public polling. But Trump was down 2 points in Florida, down 2 points in Iowa, down 2 points in New Hampshire and down 3 points in Wisconsin. Trump won Florida, won Iowa, won Wisconsin, and as of the publishing of this story was in a tight race for New Hampshire.
The best data inside the Trump campaign was just as pessimistic. Even the most optimistic models run by Cambridge Analytica for Trump showed him losing. But as Cambridge’s Matt Oczkowski tweeted late Tuesday, Trump’s support and turnout among rural voters was 10 percentage points higher than they had expected.
My map on Tuesday afternoon ended up being more optimistic for him than theirs did. How do you go from 240 electoral votes on Friday, which was what the RNC was projecting, to 290 and counting four days later? You already know part of the answer to that if you read this post. The way his votes were allocated across states was extremely efficient. Hillary piled up big margins in blue states, but where it counted — Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida — she fell just short of catching up to Trump’s massive working-class white support. That’s most of the story of the election. But this is part of it too:
— Norah O'Donnell (@NorahODonnell) November 9, 2016
I never would have guessed that, especially after Comey gave her a clean bill of legal health on Sunday. My hunch for the entire campaign was that anyone who was still undecided in the last days of the race would be dogged by suspicions about Trump’s temperament and the thought of him commanding the nuclear arsenal. Instead, it seems, the question they went into the booth asking themselves was “Status quo or no?” More amazingly, it wasn’t just last-minute late deciders who broke for Trump. It was people who decided in the final month of the campaign, which was arguably his worst stretch all year. That’s when the tape hit and the sex-assault allegations started. Unless Comey’s letter announcing that the email case had been reopened moved a lot of votes, late deciders were shifting towards Trump during a period when most assumed the scandal stuff was pushing them towards Clinton. In Florida, Trump won final-month late deciders 50/43 — and they were 26 percent of the electorate. In Michigan it was 52/37(!), again at a 26 percent electoral share. In Wisconsin it was 57/34(!) and 24 percent of the electorate, and in Pennsylvania a somewhat narrower 49/43 advantage, again with 24 percent deciding during that period. He won each state by around 1.5 points, meaning that this share of the vote was decisive in every case. And in each and every one of those states, voters agreed by wide margins that he’s not qualified to be president and lacks the temperament for the job. In Wisconsin, the site of his biggest upset, more than 50 percent thought Clinton had the right temperament and was qualified. For Trump, they broke 39/59 and 35/64 on those questions, respectively. A heavy majority basically agreed with Clinton that he’s unfit for office — and handed him the state anyway. They rolled the dice, pure and simple.