This piece first appeared at gamblerspick.com on Monday 17th March 2020
A fortnight ago, we discussed how the race to be the Democrat nominee in November’s US General Election was developing ahead of the biggest single day of primary season, into a straight choice between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden – as the latter was rapidly hoovering up support from rival candidates, united around a ‘Stop Bernie’ plan.
Super Tuesday, and it’s lesser sequel, have since passed. They could barely have gone better for Biden, who is now overwhelming favourite. Following last night’s head-to-head debate, the former Vice President is best priced at a mere 1.1 for the nomination (Ladbrokes) and 2.2 for the presidency (Betfair).
Tomorrow is Super Tuesday 3 which both polling and betting market signals simply will be the effective end of the contest. Of the four states in play – Florida, Ohio, Arizona and Illinois – Biden leads by double-digit margins. The biggest odds about Biden for any of them (on the Betfair Exchange) is a mere 1.03 (equivalent to a 97% chance).
It remains to be seen whether, in the face of that likely thrashing, Sanders withdraws from the race. Regardless of that tactical decision, bettors will mostly shift focus to latter targets.
Primarily that means the probable Biden v Trump match-up – currently tied at 2.2 (Betfair) – but first, the former must choose a running mate. Biden offered an important clue to resolving this wide-open market last night by saying he would pick a woman. Whilst helpful in whittling the candidates, this was no surprise. It was long obvious that, representing a party that relies on winning women voters, he would need to balance the ticket.
Biden must now choose which segment of voters are most important to pursue. African Americans (especially women) are a core part of the Democrat base. Lower turnout among them in key states proved the difference between success and failure for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Attracting Hispanic voters to the polls – a fast growing demographic amongst whom turnout has big growth potential – is another Democrat priority. The party’s best mid-term result in over 40 years, plus their strong position in national polls, was built on the transfer of white, largely college educated, women in swing districts.
Whilst none of these groups are mutually exclusive – and may ultimately unite around Biden whoever he picks, because removing Donald Trump is their priority – some candidates are stronger than others with each cohort. Ideology is another important factor, arguably more so than identity, given the need to unite the liberal and left vote.