This article first appeared on 3rd March 2020 at betting.betfair.com
The eve of the biggest date of primary season could barely have been more dramatic, both in terms of events and their effect on Betfair markets. Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar have both withdrawn and endorsed Joe Biden.
Biden the new favourite after day of drama
From the Democrat Nominee race being regarded a six-runner race less than a week ago, now it appears between two men in their late seventies. We also have a new favourite. Joe Biden is now favourite at [2.02], compared to Bernie Sanders at [2.56].
Before getting to Super Tuesday, a quick update on the bet discussed last week. I backed Biden at [15.5] in expectation of a win in South Carolina and subsequent surge. I’ve now cashed that bet out in full.
Is it now a two-horse race?
The betting, polls and delegate counts certainly point to a duel. Tuesday night’s races will be the first time Michael Bloomberg has been on a ballot so, in theory, his saturation of TV ad markets might throw a curve-ball into that narrative.
However, I have never been convinced they would translate into real votes and, now Biden has hoovered up the moderate lane, the billionaire has no real purpose in the race, other than to throw his extraordinary wealth behind the battle to beat Trump.
I expect Bloomberg to vastly under-perform earlier polling and delegate expectations tonight. As this tweet from Nate Silver shows, the evidence behind his strong position was always flaky, even when he his candidacy had a raison d’etre.
Can Warren retain a key role?
If Bloomberg does blow out, that would leave Elizabeth Warren as the only alternative to the front-runners. While it appears that the earlier Kremlin-amplified smear campaign killed her chance, enabling Sanders to eat her lunch, the Massachusetts Senator should pick up some of these defectors from Buttigieg and Klobuchar.
The question is whether that is enough to (a) win any races tonight (b) pass plenty of 15% delegate thresholds and therefore retain a stake in the contest. Earlier I felt she was not only the right candidate, but the unity pick. The only non-Sanders candidate with progressive credentials to match his.