US 2020 enters its final 100 days of campaigning, as current polls indicate a comfortable Joe Biden / Democratic Party victory as President Trump flounders on his handling of critical issues in the most unprecedented of election years.
Against the ropes, can Trump deliver another seismic political upset, or has America finally turned the lights off on ‘President 45’… SBC gets the bookies lowdown!
SBC: Trialling by 10-14 points across all core polls, losing electorate appeal in swing and red states… Is this the end of the President Trump show?
Sarbjit Bakhshi (Head of Politics – Smarkets): Not since George HW Bush has an incumbent president polled as badly as President Trump at this stage of an election.
There has been almost £3m traded on our Winner of the 2020 Presidential Election market, with Trump currently trading at 35%, after hitting his lowest ever price of 31% this June. Even the bellwether state of Florida puts the Republicans slightly behind, showing just a 37% chance of staying red on election day.
However, this might be indicative of more than merely a popularity contest between Trump and Biden. With the Republican Party so closely associated with the president, the impact may be felt in the House and Senate races, with our market currently suggesting a 48% chance the Democrats could control both after the election.
Could the end of the Trump presidency also usher in a serious decline in the power of the Republicans in the US political system? With the markets pointing to Trump being out of office in 2021 and a Democratic House and Senate seeing him off, this might very well be the case…
SBC: Is President Trump’s US 2020 campaign the biggest political demise of all time, considering his comfortable lead against a divided DNC in March?
Matt Shaddick (Head of Politics – GVC Holdings): I don’t think Trump was clearly leading in many polls, although he was still favourite through the early part of March.
It was a bit of a mystery to us as to why Trump was still favourite up until the Covid crisis started impacting American states. Biden was solidly ahead in the polls, and Trump’s favorability ratings were not good. I guess people were still expecting the mostly positive economic indicators to see him through at that stage of the crisis.
In contrast to some other leaders and governments, Trump’s poll ratings have gotten worse through the pandemic and he needs a big turn around to give him any kind of chance by November. It’s certainly possible, but the betting markets seem way too high on his chances. Incredibly, 95% of all the money Ladbrokes took last week was on Trump and he’s led on that measure almost every week recently: The mismatch between what the polls are showing and how our customer’s are betting is fairly dramatic right now.
SBC: Latest polls show Biden tracking above voter expectations in traditional GOP heartlands. Could any ‘Red States flip‘ come November?
Darren Hughes (Betfair Politics): This has so far been an election like no other, as the US continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Betting markets have been very active- there has already been over £50m traded on Betfair Exchange, over twice the amount traded at the same stage of the 2016 election. At 15/8, Donald Trump is the least likely incumbent in US Presidential betting history to be re-elected, with presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, outpolling him in many key states, and trading at 4/6 to claim the White House in November.
‘The state-by-state betting is every bit as interesting, as both polls and Betfair Exchange suggests that Trump may well be on the cusp of losing the Republican heartland of Middle America. A traditionally deep-red state like Arizona is currently 4/6 to vote Democrat in November. Wisconsin, a state Trump won in 2016, are currently 2/1 to vote Republican this time around. North Carolina, a state won by Trump in 2016, and who have voted Republican in 10 of the last 12 presidential elections, are barely a coin-toss to do so again this year at 20/21, all of which would spell trouble for Trump’s election chances.
‘Perhaps the most sobering poll of all for the GOP machine is in their traditional heartland of Texas. The reddest of red states, which hasn’t turned blue in over 40 years, is as short as 15/8 to vote Democrat in the Fall, a result that would surely come as a death knell on the night for the Republican party.
‘While this election is far from over, both polling and betting markets suggest things are leaning firmly in Biden’s favour as we enter the final 100 days of the campaign, and we will watch with interest as the markets continue to react in real-time.
SBC: As we enter the last 100 days of campaigning. Are there any more twists and turns left in this Election… or has the public had all the drama it can take in 2020?
Amy Jones (Mischief Maker – Paddy Power): As we roll into the last 100 days of the campaign, excitement around the election remains strong, and that’s reflected in our markets. Betting volumes are around 50% higher than four years ago, and the rate the money comes in only seems to be increasing.
The current lead in the polls and the prospect of the Republicans possibly losing their Texas stronghold would typically suggest a shorter price for “Sleepy Joe” (8/15), who has been expertly executing the “Keep out the way, and yet Trump lose this himself” strategy. Still, punters have seen this before and fully expected Trump (7/4) to go on the attack and have something up his sleeve.
This is supported by the punters – who have staked over 80% of all volume on Trump since the market was activated following the inauguration in 2017 – a figure which has actually been increasing in recent weeks.
The impacts of Covid-19 and what is seen as an unsatisfactory response, coupled with the resulting economic pressures look increasingly hard for an incumbent to survive and has seen Trump drift from 8/13 pre-Covid to 7/4.
2020 has been one of those years and we can only expect the unexpected, but ultimately this does not look like 2016. This is a wider bridge too narrow for Trump, with more against him. In a way he was lucky in 2016 to scrape through in enough states to win the election with such a deficit in the popular vote. Expect some outlandish fun and games as the desperation builds but ultimately this looks a step too far for “Four more years”.