South Carolina Primary: Biden poised to unite the anti-Sanders vote

This piece was first published on Saturday 29th February 2020 at

This year is the third time that Joe Biden has run for the presidency. If the signals on Betfair for tonight’s South Carolina Primary are correct, he is about to finally win a race.

Biden expected to land big win in SC

The fourth primary towards the Democratic Nomination has been an extraordinary betting heat already. Biden was matched down to [1.15] early but ceded favouritism following heavy defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire. Yet after a transformative week, he’s back down to [1.1] – equivalent to a 90% chance.

The polls certainly point that way. The RealClearPolitics average lead is 12.5%, with five of the last nine showing Biden 15% or more ahead. I reckon the bigger margins are right, factoring in the momentum of recent days. Fivethirtyeight give him a 95% chance of victory.

Evidently, the former VP was boosted by his midweek debate performance. As explained beforehand, I backed him at [15.5] for the nomination in expectation of this endorsement from James Clyburn.

Tactical voting now liable to help Biden

Tuesday’s debate seems to have had a profound effect on the race which, within a few days, may become a dual. Every primary so far has involved tactical voting among moderates – for example Buttigieg was best-placed to thrive in IA and NH.

Now, however, neither Mayor Pete or Klobuchar seem viable. They will both be thrashed on Super Tuesday by Sanders and, at least in the Southern states with large black electorates, by Biden too. They will soon run out of money soon and endorse Biden.

Critically, Michael Bloomberg may have peaked. His second debate was better than his first, but still pretty grim. He isn’t a natural Democrat and it shows.

Reportedly, Bloomberg hasn’t committed to a massive ad-spend after Super Tuesday. Again, expect him to back Biden.

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