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As Trump moves closer to impeachment, political markets bet on his survival, and a 2020 victory

Javier E. David
·Editor focused on markets and the economy

As the drive to remove President Donald Trump from office comes to a head, political betting markets are pricing in the increasing likelihood that he not only survives, but prevails over his Democratic challenger next year.

On Wednesday, the Democratic-led House of Representatives appeared all but certain to vote for Trump’s impeachment. The vote would then head to the Republican-led Senate for a trial, where members of the president’s party are already preparing for a swift acquittal.

With those factors in mind, U.K.-based political betting site Smarkets said investors are pricing in an overwhelming chance that Congress will back impeachment. However, the firm also sees a high probability that he serves out the rest of his term, with near-even odds that he is reelected next year.

Protesters hold a lit-up "impeach" sign as they take part in a rally to support the impeachment and removal of U.S. President Donald Trump outside the federal building in Seattle, Washington, U.S. December 17, 2019.  REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Protesters hold a lit-up "impeach" sign as they take part in a rally to support the impeachment and removal of U.S. President Donald Trump outside the federal building in Seattle, Washington, U.S. December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

"With the Ukraine scandal coming to a head, President Trump is currently 99% likely to be impeached today according to our market,” according to Sarbjit Bakhshi, Head of Political Markets at Smarkets.

“However, with a Republican-loaded Senate, trading activity on our exchange suggests he has an 83% chance to serve his full term,” he added.

"Not only that, but the Republican leader's chances of getting re-elected have actually gone from strength to strength on our Next President market, now trading near an all-time high at 49%,” Bakhshi said — well ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner, at 13%.

Smarkets’ results are consistent with other betting markets that expect the Trump era won’t end prematurely. PredictIt, a prominent site built by New Zealand researchers, sees an 84% chance Trump will serve through 2020, with a 47% chance he wins reelection.

The heat and light over impeachment has obscured Trump’s rising support in at least a couple of general election poll snapshots, and his enduring competitiveness in key swing states that are pivotal to his reelection chances.

The relative strength of the economy, characterized by a solid jobs market, is seen as critical to Trump’s reelection bid — and could easily undermine his chances in the event of a downturn, analysts say.

Javier David is an editor for Yahoo Finance. Follow Javier on Twitter: @TeflonGeek

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