The Candidates’ Market Report
If you turn on a TV or browse the net for headlines, you’ll likely see that this election is all over for President Trump and that Joe Biden is on track to win by a landslide. An averaging of the last five major national polls gives Biden a 9.4% lead over the incumbent. Surely, it’s all over but the singing?
In last week’s Horse Race column, we looked at the Social Desirability Bias (known as the Bradley Effect) and how voters may not be keen to express their political preferences openly. A Gravis Marketing poll for Minnesota suggests this may be seen in the current presidential race. Respondents were asked who they would vote for “today.” They responded 54% for Biden and just 37% for Trump, with 10% saying they were “uncertain.” But then, Gravis asked who participants would choose if they “must” vote for one of the two candidates. In that case, Trump wins with 53% compared to Biden’s 47%. This suggests one of two things is happening:
- Potential voters do not feel comfortable telling pollsters their electoral preference.
- When push comes to shove, voters won’t bite the bullet on Biden.
This Week’s Major Players
- Donald Trump – 47% (+ 3% )
- Congress – 16% ( – 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 – 1/33
- Hillary Clinton – 12/1
- Michelle Obama – 33/1
- Bernie Sanders – 50/1
- Andrew Cuomo – 66/1
- Kamala Harris – 100/1
- Elizabeth Warren – 100/1
The nomination for Democratic Party candidate is a done deal short of rebellion in Milwaukee this August. Less certain is who will be Biden’s running mate.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) ruled herself out of contention this week in what could be described as the most pointless virtue signal of the election cycle. She said: “I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on the ticket.” Was this a huge sacrifice of her own personal ambition, or a face-saving exercise in reaction to her fast-plummeting betting odds and polling. The smart money says the latter.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) remains the firm favorite to win the VP slot, but will she be a boon or a liability to the Biden campaign? Horse Race readers may remember the details of the disastrous campaign Harris ran to win the presidential nomination. Marked by infighting, poor management, a lack of decision-making, a budget apocalypse, and her inability to effectively manage and motivate her team spelled a one-way ticket to electoral oblivion.
Harris may be popular in California, but Trump is not even looking to the west coast for votes. Can she make herself an appealing element in flyover country? Or will she be the Jonah of Biden’s campaign that she was to her own?
Biden’s Running Mate:
- Kamala Harris – 4/5
- Val Demings – 5/1
- Susan Rice – 15/2
- Keisha Lance Bottoms – 12/1
- Elizabeth Warren – 14/1
- Stacey Abrams – 20/1
- Gretchen Whitmer – 25/1
Swing State Odds
Certain states hold the keys to power in 2020. The following are the ones that President Trump needs to do well in if he intends to serve another four years. As Liberty Nation’s Tim Donner puts it:
“Florida, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin – he must win Florida and two of the others to squeak by. In fact, if he wins the 27 other states he won in ’16, he could win just one of Pennsylvania, Michigan, or Wisconsin and still win with exactly 270 electoral votes. On the other hand, Virginia and Colorado will be telling – both swing states Trump lost in ’16. A true bellwether is probably Minnesota, which he lost narrowly and is going after hard this time. Through all of this COVID stuff, I will stick with my prediction of 350 electoral votes or more, at least for now.”
The odds of each party winning the following states:
- Florida: Democrats – 8/11; Republicans – Even
- Arizona: Democrats – 4/7; Republicans – 5/4
- Michigan: Democrats – 1/3; Republicans – 2/1
- Wisconsin: Democrats – 8/15; Republicans – 11/8
- Joe Biden – 8/13
- Donald Trump – 6/4
- Hillary Clinton – 50/1
- Mike Pence – 50/1
- Bernie Sanders – 100/1
- Andrew Cuomo – 100/1
- Michelle Obama – 100/1
- Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – 100/1
Biden maintains his lead to win the presidency according to polls and betting odds. Trump has a Herculean task ahead of him if he wants another four years. So, what is each candidate doing to improve his situation?
Trump has begun campaigning in earnest. With rallies, pressers, and executive orders, he is keeping himself front and center of the media storm. The president has been constantly touting the historic economic growth that even his opponents admit he is largely responsible for, and more importantly, the post-COVID recovery that economists are predicting is going to be spectacular, this election – like almost all others – will come down to the voters’ wallets.
Biden, on the other hand, seems to be campaigning on not being Donald Trump – a surprisingly successful tactic so far, as by saying very little, no one really has ammunition to use against him. But can this last all the way through to November?
The chatter now is not whether Joe Biden will avoid debating President Trump, but rather what excuse he will use. Now, that could be a betting market of supreme interest.
Donald Trump and the Electoral College:
Number of Electoral College votes awarded to Trump:
- 251 – 269 = 8/1
- 270 – 275 = 14/1
- 276 – 280 = 14/1
- 281 – 290 = 11/1
- 291 – 300 = 11/1
- 301 – 315 = 9/1
- 316 – 330 = 9/1
- 331 – 350 = 10/1
Make sure to check back next week for all the numbers that count.
Read more from Mark Angelides.