Advance voting for the second round of the presidential elections at the Turku main library on February 2, 2024. LEHTIKUVA


As Finland's presidential race enters its critical second round, the spotlight intensifies not just on the candidates but also on the intriguing world of political betting. The initial round's tight finish between Alexander Stubb and Pekka Haavisto has set the stage for a closely watched finale, with betting odds offering a unique perspective on the candidates' chances.

Alexander Stubb, who emerged as the frontrunner in the first round with 27.2% of the votes, has been favoured heavily by bettors on no registration betting sites.

The odds reflect a strong confidence in Stubb's victory, with betting companies offering a low multiplier of 1.10 for his win. This means that a bet of ten euros on Stubb would yield a return of just one euro in profit, indicating the perceived high probability of his success.

On the other hand, Pekka Haavisto, trailing closely behind with 25.8% of the votes, is seen as the underdog in this electoral contest. Betting odds for a Haavisto victory stand at a more lucrative 5.75, suggesting that a ten euro bet on him would bring in a return of 57.5 euros if he were to win. These odds illustrate the betting market's view of Haavisto as a less likely, though potentially more rewarding, candidate to back.

The betting odds have remained relatively stable since the close of the first round, indicating a consensus among bettors and oddsmakers about the likely outcome of the election. However, the dynamics of political betting are complex, influenced by a myriad of factors including campaign developments, media coverage, and public sentiment. The visibility and media mentions of the candidates, as analyzed by Retriever, play a significant role in shaping these perceptions, with the volume of media coverage often correlating with public interest and betting trends.

Political betting in Finland has seen a surge in activity compared to previous elections, reflecting a growing interest in political wagering as a form of engagement with the democratic process. This trend is not isolated to Finland but is part of a broader increase in political betting worldwide, as bettors seek to capitalize on their insights into political outcomes.

As the second round approaches, the betting odds serve as a fascinating barometer of public expectation and sentiment. Whether these odds will align with the final electoral outcome remains to be seen, but they undoubtedly add an extra layer of excitement to the electoral process, offering a speculative glimpse into the future of Finland's leadership.

In the the first round of Finland's presidential election, the media spotlight was intensely focused on the candidates, with Jussi Halla-aho leading in media mentions during the crucial pre-election period of January 1-27, 2024. Despite finishing third in the initial round of voting, Halla-aho was the most mentioned candidate in Finnish editorial media, featuring in nearly 4,000 articles. The leading vote-getter, Alexander Stubb, was not far behind with close to 3,800 mentions, while Pekka Haavisto received approximately 3,700 mentions.

This detailed analysis of media attention on presidential candidates was conducted by Retriever, a media monitoring company. Henje Huotari, the head of media analysis at Retriever, highlighted the surge in visibility for all candidates as the early voting period began. "Halla-aho garnered the most visibility in January, both in overall publicity and specifically in the context of the presidential election. The visibility for all candidates started to increase significantly with the start of early voting," Huotari explained.

The order of candidates by media mentions largely mirrored the election results, with the notable exception of Jutta Urpilainen, who managed to surpass Li Andersson in media visibility thanks to a strong finish in the pre-election month. "Urpilainen started her campaign later than others but made a significant final push. She collected 73% of her mentions in the December-January period, compared to 66% for both Haavisto and Stubb," said Huotari.