This article first appeared at betting.betfair.com on June 25th 2020
What may ultimately prove to be the biggest political gamble of all-time may be underway. Joe Biden just hit his lowest odds yet to be Next President, at odds of [1.66].
Record amounts traded on US election
Just shy of £40M has been matched in that principal US election market, equating to more than twice the levels at this stage of the 2016 election. That historic Trump/Clinton encounter was the biggest market in Betfair’s history, so numerous records are on course to be broken. Over the past month, an average of 500K has been matched per day.
The move for Biden marks a distinct turning point. A wide differential between pollsters and election models versus betting markets has been evident for months, and still exists. Biden’s odds reflect a 60% chance of winning. The Economist/Yougov rate it at 87%.
My long-term analysis that Trump’s odds were too short has always been legitimately countered by arguing that the incumbent had the time and opportunity to turn around dire polls. With a good campaign, for example.
Polls get ever worse for Trump
Trajectory, however, is moving fast in the wrong direction. Trump’s polls have gone from poor to catastrophic. The latest NYT Upshot/Siena poll – A+ rated by Fivethirtyeight – record Biden leading by 14%. His average lead is now above 10%.
A second common argument for backing Trump involves the electoral college. As in 2016, he could afford to lose the popular vote and stay in power – by winning the swing states. The localised numbers from the same pollster are arguably even grimmer for the president.
There are, of course, more than four months until polling day, for Trump to turn things around. As we are constantly reminded, remember what happened in 2016. Biden, however, is considerably further ahead – by around 5% – in the polls than Clinton was at this stage.
Moreover as an incumbent, there is even less historic precedent for such a turnaround. No incumbent president has won from being further behind than 2.7% at this stage.
Anti-Trump majority unlikely to switch
Having long argued that there is a clear anti-Trump majority and that this election would be a referendum on him, I have no intention on reversing my series of lays on him (average 2.22).