There are no sure things. Not in sports, music, dating, cartoon squids, gambling and, especially, politics.
Just ask former First Lady Hillary Clinton, who was considered the overwhelming favorite in 2008 to win the Democratic nomination for president ... until a one-term Illinois Senator named Barack Obama lapped her on his way to winning the White House twice.
But, as both parties gear up for next year's presidential election, guess who's once again sitting at the top of the leaderboard? According to Public Policy Polling's latest numbers, Clinton leads all potential Republican candidates by 7-10 points nearly two years before we go to the polls for the 2016 election.
In the polling, they matched her up with potential GOP candidates. The results? She's up 7 against Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, 8 over Chris Christie and Scott Walker and 10 over Jeb Bush, who at one point looked like the Republicans' sure thing.
Those numbers are nice, but if you're like me, you vote with your wallet. Not, like, on economic issues, but on how much cash you'd put down on the candidate you think will win. So MTV News hit up our old friend Kevin Bradley, sports book manager for online sports betting site Bovada.lv to find out what the current odds are on Clinton's return to her old digs in D.C.
"Hilary Clinton is the favorite for a reason and the fact that she has taken in more money in wagers than anyone else goes to show why," Bradley said. "This could surely change in 2016, but I doubt it will change significantly for the rest of 2015." (Bradley offered up his numbers just before concerns were raised about Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State.)
Here are Clinton's odds against the leading contenders, according to Bovada:
Hillary Clinton 13/10
Jeb Bush 5/1
Scott Walker 10/1
Marco Rubio 12/1
Chris Christie 16/1
Elizabeth Warren 16/1
Joe Biden 20/1
Paul Ryan 25/1
To put that in non-bettor terms: if you bet $2 on Clinton to win, you'd only come out $2.60 ahead because she's so heavily favored. If you bet the same amount on Bush, your profit would be $10, because his odds are way longer. And don't even get us started on the super-long odds that Bradley gave for the least likely next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: George Clooney (500/1). Keep in mind, Clinton has not (yet) announced whether she's running or not. (And we're pretty certain Clooney won't be throwing his hat in the ring.)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came in behind Bush on the list, even though he came out of last weekend's CPAC Republican gathering as the second most-popular candidate, leading the dozen-plus expected hopefuls in his party, just behind Senator Rand Paul.
Back in 2012, President Obama's odds of being a two-term commander in chief were pretty much a lock over his opponent, Mitt Romney, at, respectively, 5/11 and 11/4. (For the record, Clinton did not run, but was a 100/1 longshot).
Bradley also broke down the odds on which party is likely to win the 2016 presidential election, with the Democratic party a huge favorite at -190 and the GOP at +155. That basically means that you would have to bet $190 to win $100 on the Dems, but could take home $155 if you bet just $100 on Republicans.
And that email controversy thing?
"Even in light of a so-called scandal regarding Hillary Clinton, it is not enough to move her Presidential odds of 13/10 and the favorite as the Democratic candidate," Bradley said on Friday (March 6). "In fact if anything, we have seen more support from the betting public funny enough. The Democrats remain clear 1/2 favorites with the Republicans at 8/5 for 2016 winning party."
Three Other Reasons Clinton Looks Like A Lock
Numbers don't lie, but we still asked political expert (and frequent "Sway in the Morning" guest) Mike Muse to break down potential candidate Clinton's strengths.
>>Name Recognition: "From her work as the first lady to Senator from New York and her incredible run seeking the Democratic nomination, she's brought as much excitement as any woman as at this point... or any male candidate."
>>Tenacity: "In the [2008 campaign] she went neck-and-neck with Obama all the way up to Puerto Rico. It shows the strength of who she is and that she's not willing to give up. That translated into when she was Secretary of State, too. Nobody put as many miles on as she did and nobody fought for America's new direction of diplomacy as much as she did."
>>The Republicans Need To Find Their Identity: "She has to accept she's the frontrunner and launch a campaign presuming she is, aware that if she does run she has to target all the demos that [President] Obama brought into the tent. The challenge Republicans have is that the only way to win on a national levee is through identity politics... you have to have Latinos, women, Jews, blacks and the LGBT community on your side. Her challenge is to make sure she doesn't take any of those demos for granted."
Muse didn't buck the odds at all. "I will go on record and say that a Democrat will be president in 2016," he confidently predicted.