WASHINGTON - Real estate mogul Donald Trump is dominating polls and capturing headlines in the Republican presidential race, but rival Jeb Bush is still the favorite of traders in political prediction markets.
While Bush has been eclipsed by Trump in opinion polls, the former Florida governor is riding high with online traders who give him a 40 percent chance to capture the party's presidential nomination, according to prediction market aggregator PredictWise.com.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a distant second with a 15 percent chance, and Trump has risen to third in recent weeks with 14 percent, according to PredictWise, which aggregates about a half-dozen political prediction markets.
Those markets, in which traders bet on the outcomes of various events, often have a better track record than polls in determining a winner in elections. Bush has been their favorite since mid-2014, said David Rothschild, an economist who runs PredictWise.
"Jeb Bush has been steady at the top at between 45 percent and 40 percent, where he is now. He certainly hasn't fallen off noticeably," Rothschild said.
In opinion polls, Trump has shot past Bush in recent weeks as the two candidates have feuded over Trump's hard-line immigration plan calling for deportation of illegal immigrants.
In the Real Clear Politics average of polls, Bush runs second in the 17-strong Republican field at 11 percent behind Trump's 22 percent. A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday showed Bush tumbling into a tie for third behind Trump, as Bush's support fell from 16 percent to 8 percent over five days.
At Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, Bush remains the favorite with 13/8 odds of capturing the Republican nomination for the November 2016 election, said spokesman Rory Scott.
"Jeb Bush has drifted a tiny little bit, probably because of the rise of Trump, but he's still the favorite and he's been pretty stable," Scott said.
Trump has been on the move, however, attracting about 50 percent of the bets since the first debate earlier this month and rising to second, Scott said.
For the Democrats, front-runner Hillary Clinton has been a steady and dominating force at the top of the presidential pack in the markets since immediately after the 2012 election.
She currently is given a 72 percent chance of winning the nomination by PredictWise, with Vice President Joe Biden, who is still pondering a possible bid, in second at 14 percent.
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