With just 20 days to go to the highly anticipated election, our analyst Political Joe takes a look at this week's presidential race status on the betting markets. Don't forget to subscribe so you can stay updated to the latest experts insights every week.
Death by a Thousand Cuts
It has been a week with more lows than highs for the Trump campaign. As the President headed for swing state rallies desperately seeking an opportunity to wrestle back some much-needed momentum, the polls and betting markets indicate the tide he’s swimming against is ever increasing in its ferocity.
Joe Biden hit a new low price in recent days. William Hill traded at odds 4/9 (1.44), as betting markets once again gravitated towards the kind of prices the polls have been indicating for some time. On the Betfair Exchange, where more than £126m has been matched across the US Election market, 2/5 (1.41) was the new low point – an implied probability of just over 70% for a Biden victory in early November!
So, what exactly has caused this shift towards Biden? It’s certainly difficult to isolate one significant contributory factor and what we’re most likely seeing is a case of death by a thousand cuts.
First up, the sympathy support bump from Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis is well and truly behind us. The question now being did it ever actually materialise? We most likely just saw it prevent a further slide in support out of a dismal first debate performance.
Speaking of debates, the cancellation of the second town hall format debate can only be music to the ears of the Biden campaign. While it would have been very interesting to see President Trump field questions from ordinary every day Americans, Biden won’t worry about that missed opportunity, despite the format lending itself much more to his empathetic tone. At this point in time the Biden camp are very happy to avoid scenarios where major mistakes could be magnified. The remaining debate, should it take place, is most definitely one of those.
The polls, both nationally and on a state by state basis, are also very much trending in the wrong direction for President Trump. Couple that with the queues seen at the start of early in-person voting in key states and many people are starting to read between the lines. Sure, Trump will gain energy from his rallies in both Florida and Pennsylvania, but will it be enough to carry those states? Florida has a solid track record of predicting future presidents. Since 1996 it has seen every candidate who succeeded there go forward to the Oval Office. Once favoured for Trump at 2/3 (1.67) he now finds himself the underdog, trading at 11/10 (2.10) in William Hill. Pennsylvania is a similar story. As close as 50/50 when markets initially opened, despite the perceived local Biden advantage, Trump now sees himself with a mountain to climb, trading at 9/4 (3.25) in William Hill.
Despite all the doom and gloom on the Trump front we have been here before. It’s important to remember he’s less of an underdog right now than he was at this point in 2016. That said, Joe Biden is not nearly as divisive a character as Hillary Clinton was.
While this Political Joe, like so many others, has come to expect the unexpected when it comes to Donald Trump, why should 2020 of all years be any different?