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Political Horse Race: Can the Election Survive COVID-19?

With primaries delayed, who benefits from the Coronavirus outbreak?

The Candidates’ Market Report

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and its associated panic, serious questions are being raised about the process and validity of the primaries. President Trump has already surpassed the 1,276 delegates needed to secure the Republican Party nomination (which was hardly in doubt), but what of the Democratic Party primaries? Joe Biden has a 300 delegate lead over Bernie Sanders, however there are almost 1,800 left up for grabs.

So far, eight locations have postponed their primaries (including today’s March 24 in Georgia), with a likelihood of more delays to come if the Coronavirus doesn’t soon dissipate. While Biden may be reveling in his frontrunner status right now, when the Milwaukee convention rolls around, he may have to tell the Bernie Bros that despite not having the required majority, he is going to assume the throne anyway. How will this bode for Dems come November?

Speaking of November, recent Rasmussen polling shows that 25% of likely U.S. voters are prepared to postpone the general election. Surprisingly, this figure is roughly the same across the partisan divide.

This Week’s Major Players

Approval Ratings:

  • Donald Trump – 46% ( – 1% )
  • Congress – 17% ( + 1% )

What the Gamblers Say

As with most things, if you follow the money, you can’t go too far wrong. This is a selection of the odds for key races and events.

Democratic Party Nominee:

  • Joe Biden – 1/16
  • Hillary Clinton – 20/1
  • Bernie Sanders – 25/1
  • Michelle Obama – 40/1

Now that Tulsi Gabbard has withdrawn from the race, the Democratic field has shrunk considerably with only two candidates vying for position and two Hail Mary contenders who aren’t even standing.

What is most notable regarding this week’s betting odds is that Biden, Sanders and Hillary Clinton have all lost points. Biden dropped from a commanding 1/25 to a still reasonably secure 1/16. Hillary lost six points but is still in second place. And Bernie fell 3 points leaving him as a 25/1 longshot. Only Michelle Obama gained ground, jumping 10 points to 40/1.

Does this signify that the race for the nomination is likely to remain unfinished business, or that voters have little confidence in the candidates? It certainly appears that cash bettors are getting spooked and suspect the nomination will be unresolved. Only eight of the remaining 35 primaries and caucuses have decided to postpone so far, but if the COVID-19 situation doesn’t resolve itself before June 2, when over 450 delegates are up for grabs, it could very easily result in a brokered convention.

Primary Races

Head over to Liberty Nation’s Primary Tracker for all the latest results, odds, and polls.

Primaries that are not taking place or are delayed due to the Coronavirus outbreak:

  • Ohio
  • Georgia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Louisiana
  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky

Presidential Election:

  • Donald Trump – 10/11
  • Joe Biden – EVS (Even Money)
  • Mike Pence – 33/1
  • Bernie Sanders – 33/1
  • Hillary Clinton – 50/1
  • Nikki Haley – 66/1
  • Michelle Obama – 80/1

Last week, Joe Biden just squeaked past President Trump to take the favorite position on winning the November election; this week, the crown has gone back to the incumbent. With most major media coverage going to the president and his handling of the pandemic, many voters are now regarding Trump as a “wartime president.” So far, many of the president’s actions have been well-received by both sides of the political divide.

The reality could be that with this “wartime” situation, the idea of Joe Biden at the helm is scaring voters away. His general confusion and struggles with basic facts don’t appear to be endearing him to a public that has concerns over how this crisis will be managed.

Donald Trump:

  • Complete first term – Bets are no longer being taken on this as it seems a certainty that Trump will remain president until at least the end of his term.

Make sure to check back next week for all the numbers that count.


Read more from Mark Angelides.

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