2024 US Election Betting: Will History Repeat Itself?

This article first appeared at casino.org on 24th January 2022

The finale is 33 months away but the biggest market in world betting is already heating up.

£1.6BN was traded on Betfair when Donald Trump and Joe Biden faced off in 2020, smashing the previous all-time record – set by Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016 – by a factor of eight.

A new record may well be set in 2024.

There’s a strong sense of deja vu. BetOnline’s Sportsbook report Trump as by far their biggest liability and now even a flood of money for Clinton.

Plus at odds of 4.5, their likeliest match-up is a rematch from 2020 – Trump v Biden, Part 2.

Rematches are rare, if not unprecedented.

If materialising, it will be the first since 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower won for a second time against Adlai Stevenson.

Prior to that, it was 1900 when William McKinley repeated his victory over William Jennings Bryan. Interestingly, that pair of elections followed another rematch, when Grover Cleveland reversed his 1888 defeat to Benjamin Harrison.

The logic of a rematch this time is strong. Both Biden and Trump give every indication they intend to run again.

Whilst there is some doubt about Biden given his age and dire ratings, were he to withdraw, he would be the first incumbent to not seek a second term since Lyndon Johnson in 1968.

If you want to back either man, Betfair is the place to get the best odds. Their exchange quotes Biden at 6.6 and Trump at 4.6.

By comparison, buying either on PredictIt would equate to fixed odds of 4.2 and 3.3 respectively. At BetOnline, those odds are 5.25 and 3.5 respectively.

So, should we be betting on the obvious? Personally, I’m sceptical.

It is simply too early in the cycle to make confident assumptions. Events can and will happen, which are bound to impact the reputations of both men.

Other candidates will raise their profiles. The primaries are two years off, and most contenders won’t start declaring until 2023.

Odds on which candidates will run

On that front, we can bet on whether candidates will run and when they will declare.

Regarding whether Trump will file a Statement of Candidacy before 2023, the PredictIt trading line is around 30c for Yes, 70c for No.

Likewise, BetOnline offer odds of 3.25 that Trump declares this year, or 1.48 that he is listed on the first ballot of the opening ballot or caucus.

They also offer a wide range of politicians and celebrities for the latter market.

Hillary Clinton is at 4.0 to run – the same odds as actor Dwayne Johnson. “The Rock” has signaled interest in running previously and, the way it is shaping up, 2024 could be perfect for somebody outside politics.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is a 5.0 chance while Ivanka Trump has also been a popular selection at odds of 8.0. For a real longshot, Oprah Winfrey is available at 67.0.

Biden is in big trouble

Leaving aside those more outlandish options for a moment, let’s return to the rematch, whether it will happen and who would win.

For my money, Joe Biden has a mountain to climb. His approval ratings are terrible and legislative agenda stalling.

It is very likely he will lose Congress at the mid-terms and then be ground down by Republican investigations.

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