Forget Trump. Gamblers have money on Rubio for 2016

Marco Rubio debate
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Donald Trump may be leading the traditional polls, but the "smart money" is betting Marco Rubio will be the 2016 Republican presidential nominee.

Rubio now has a substantial lead over his Republican rivals on PredictIt, an online platform where people actually put money down for who they think will win the GOP race.

Rubio surged above Jeb Bush to take the No. 1 spot on PredictIt the end of September. He has led ever since. Trump is a distant third.

It's yet another sign that political insiders and Wall Street financiers do not believe Trump and Dr. Ben Carson have what it takes to win the nomination.

PredictIt isn't a typical online poll. People buy and sell candidate shares much like a stock. Nearly 1.5 million shares have been traded so far in PredictIt's Republican presidential poll.

Related: Marco Rubio is everywhere...except CNN

2016 republican nomination
Screengrab of Predict It on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

The "Rubio will win" option traded as high as 40 cents on Tuesday. The next highest Republican candidate is Jeb Bush at 30 cents followed by Trump at 23 cents.

The Republican standings on PredictIt are a sharp contrast to the latest poll results.

Trump and Carson continue to have a commanding lead in new polls from CNN/ORC and the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll this week.

Rubio currently comes in third place in more traditional polls.

Related: Wall Street has made Hillary Clinton a millionaire

Casino gambling on elections is currently illegal in the U.S. Would-be gamblers can participate in small-scale prediction markets used for research purposes like PredictIt that heavily restrict the amount of money one can wager.

PredictIt's users tend to be 18-to-40 year olds who follow politics and like to bet on races. The site allows people to put down only up to $850 in a particular race. Betters could double their money -- or better -- if they bought early and held on.

There are a number of other sites in the U.S. and internationally that allow people to express their view on who will win in 2016.

CNNPolitics has a free Political Prediction Market where Rubio heads the Republican field with 32% odds of winning. Bush comes in second place with 22% odds.

On Irish betting site Paddy Power, Hillary Clinton currently leads the 2016 race with the best odds followed by a tie between Bush and Trump. There's a three-way tie for fourth place between Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

CNN's Chris Moody and Alexander Rosen contributed to this report.

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