The Candidates’ Market Report
This week has seen polls dominate the headlines, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think. It began with CNN publishing their own poll showing Joe Biden with a 14-point lead over President Trump. Much lauded and widely broadcast, the actual integrity of the survey appears to have flown under the radar. Not only did the poll of 1,259 purposely include an oversample of 250 black, non-Hispanic adults, it also underplayed support by containing just 25% Republican voters. The Devil is, as ever, in the detail.
But what of the rest of the country? With all elections, it comes down to the economy, and recent COVID-19 events have certainly put a halt on the tidal wave of good economic news. However, the latest Rasmussen survey on Consumer Confidence shows a 16-point jump this month, bringing it back in line with the heady days of Trump’s first months. If the trend continues, it could spell doom for the Democrats hoping to capitalize on recent disasters.
This Week’s Major Players
- Donald Trump – 44% ( – 4% )
- Congress – 17% ( no change )
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
Now that Joe Biden has crossed the threshold of delegate numbers, his position as the official nominee is secure. And with betting odds of 1/33 on him facing Trump, this position may be unassailable. It seems unlikely that there will be mutiny at the August convention, but with Bernie Sanders still holding on to his own delegate haul, the direction and platform of the party going into the election is still very much up for grabs.
The Democrat strategy appears to be to keep Biden as far from the public view as possible and hope that the positive polling will be enough to convince voters to hit the ballot boxes hard. The problem the party faces right now is enthusiasm. A number of surveys show that likely Biden voters are more concerned with removing Trump than with electing Uncle Joe, which means this election will be based almost entirely on optics. If the Trump campaign can show that their man has the best chance of being re-elected, will apathetic Dems brave poor weather and long lines?
Kamala Harris remains the firm favorite to be Biden’s running mate. Harris and Biden hosted a fundraiser that netted a cool $3.5 million, which shows that there is certainly support for the California senator. But with Biden not letting any clues slip, some are wondering if he is keeping potential candidates on the line to build a war chest.
Biden’s Running Mate:
- Kamala Harris – 11/10
- Val Demings – 4/1
- Elizabeth Warren – 17/2
- Keisha Lance Bottoms – 11/1
- Michelle Obama – 11/1
- Amy Klobuchar – 12/1
- Stacey Abrams – 12/1
- Gretchen Whitmer – 16/1
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 – 8/11
- Donald Trump – 5/4
- Hillary Clinton – 50/1
- Mike Pence – 50/1
- Bernie Sanders – 100/1
- Andrew Cuomo – 100/1
- Michelle Obama – 100/1
With numerous polls indicating a Biden victory in November, and with the betting odds now showing Biden as the 8/11 favorite (against Trump’s 5/4), things look bleak for the incumbent. But are these odds and polls right?
Looking back at 2016, we saw that President Trump always under polls. This has a lot to do with Social Desirability Bias, which was first examined in-depth during the California Gubernatorial race in 1982. One contender, Tom Bradley polled very well but ultimately lost. The analysis suggested that people were uncomfortable saying they would not vote for the black candidate (Bradley was black); thus, respondents were likely to say they would give him their vote to pollsters but voted differently in the privacy of the booth.
With President Trump being vilified as racist, misogynistic, and just about every negative attribute under the sun, is it any wonder that those who are going to vote for him in November are not keen to announce it?
The second element in Trump’s favor is that he plays better as the underdog. It’s a keen psychological distinction, but the negative media, the bruising polls, and the general level of hatred aimed at him, actually gives him a boost in some sectors. Whether Biden understands these issues and can successfully counteract them will be revealed on November 4.
Donald Trump and the Electoral College:
Very interesting movement in the odds on Electoral College votes for the incumbent this week. Trump’s odds of winning between 301 and 315 EC votes rose shortened from 16/1 to 15/2; his odds of earning 316 to 330 went from 20/1 to 9/1. The odds are moving back towards President Trump.
Number of Electoral College votes awarded to Trump:
- 251 – 269 = 10/3
- 270 – 275 = 7/1
- 276 – 280 = 7/1
- 281 – 290 = 10/1
- 291 – 300 = 14/1
- 301 – 315 = 15/2
- 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.