Betting markets dismiss Biden, but are they premature?

Joe Biden is friendless on Betfair

There’s no question who has fared best on the markets since Tuesday’s opening Democrat debate. Hillary Clinton begun the evening as a 68% chance to win her party’s nomination. She is now rated 76% likely. For the Presidency, her rating jumped from 39% pre-debate to the current 43%.

Those ratings are likely to move further upwards in the immediate future, unless Joe Biden comes into the race. That known unknown, to quote Donald Rumsfeld, has so far deterred a lot of punters from playing – including myself. The latest betting movements are very negative, with punters either assuming he’s out or has blown it by delaying the decision.

When hitting a peak in recent weeks as negative headlines swirled around Clinton, Biden was rated 26% likely for the nomination, 14% for the Presidency. Today, those ratings are just 11% and 7% respectively.

Rather than reading these latest betting movements as a signal of inside information, though, Clinton’s good performance in the debate was probably the key dynamic. As explained yesterday, it reassured her backers and those centrist Democrats that fear Bernie Sanders would prove unelectable nationally, who may have been tempted to search for a mainstream alternative.

According to CNN today, the question is how and when he’ll run, rather than whether he will. If he does, this becomes a genuine 3-horse race, rather than the Clinton Coronation currently implied by the betting. I’m still sticking to my rules – when a bet involves second-guessing the mindset of a person you don’t know, steer clear!


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