Following reports of United States President Donald Trump’s positive test result for COVID-19, prediction markets have (perhaps predictably) seen a flurry of activity.
One of the more macabre predictions gaining attention is on the centralized PredictIt market run by the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
Posing the question “Will Donald Trump complete his first term?,” the prediction was originally intended as a measure of the likelihood of the president getting impeached and leaving office.
However, interest has grown following news of the president’s close aide Hope Hicks testing positive for the virus and the president subsequently being tested. Daily volume jumped from a seven-day average of around $6,000, to over $37,000.
A good proportion of this must have been placed on “No” as the “Yes” price went down $0.04 to $0.82.
Following this morning’s news that the president’s test result came back positive, the “Yes” price has come down another $0.04 to $0.78. Less than a week ago, the “Yes” price was at a lofty $0.90.
For clarity, the specific rules of this prediction market state, “Temporary incapacity resulting in the temporary transfer of authority to an acting president shall have no bearing on the outcome of this market.”
With the threat of impeachment no longer hanging over him, this means that predictors are essentially betting on the likelihood of Trump’s death.
As a technically obese man in his seventies, Trump certainly falls into the higher risk category. He and his wife Melania are currently quarantining at the White House, putting election campaigning on hold for now.