2024 US Election: The Top 10 Rated

As one political era ends, a new one begins. Betting on the 2024 US Election is open. If anything like the last two, prepare for fireworks!

Throughout, I’ll be frequently rating the top 10 candidates and identifying any good bets from further down the list.


1: Kamala Harris — $4.80

In a unique scenario, a first-term incumbent president doesn’t start out as favourite. That honour falls to the vice-president. The assumption built into this price is that Joe Biden, who will be 81 during the 2024 campaign, will either leave office early or retire, triggering a seamless transition.

The latter feels highly likely. Biden effectively came out of retirement to challenge Trump. I doubt he would have been the nominee against any other Republican opponent. If he does stand aside and endorse Harris, I expect she’d win any primary in a canter. Combined odds about the pair of them pays $2.80 — sure to be a good position come 2024.

A stand-alone bet, however, makes less appeal. The above scenario involves numerous ifs. If Biden is riding high in the polls, she’ll probably drift in the market. 


2: Joe Biden — $6.40

Obviously, all the same factors are in play here. $6.40 about somebody who might well not run hardly stands out, 45 months from payday. But the longer he disproves the fears about his age and health, and retains high approval ratings, his odds should shorten. In 2024, the Democrat candidate will probably be odds-on, especially set against Republican chaos.

Running again at 81 is not unimaginable in US politics. Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell are both older than Biden. Nevertheless, at this stage, I reckon Harris is likelier to be the candidate. Biden may already have decided and can enjoy governing without having to worry about re-election.


3: Donald Trump — $12.50

Besides the occasional strategic trade or cashout, I’ve never regarded Trump as good value. His fame and fanbase drive his odds down. That still applies.

Based on the opinion of GOP primary voters right now, of course he would win their nomination. But much can, and probably will, change over the next 45 months. Following the Senate trial, Trump will face constant legal and possibly financial problems. A Democrat Congress will investigate and expose the crimes of his administration and the 2016 campaign.

Previously Trump quite brilliantly managed to divert from his wrongdoings, using an easily gamed media, his Twitter bully pulpit and later the office of the presidency. All that has gone. As has his brand as a winner. Whatever happens in the courts, Trump will age and fade in relevance.


4: Nikki Haley — $17

If so, we have a market for the ages. The race for Republican Nominee would be the most wide-open in history. 

Haley is right to be top-rated among alternatives to Trump. She is someone who could, and probably should, have been on the GOP ticket in either 2020 or 2016, either instead of or alongside Trump. The party has a massive problem with women voters. A successful female governor could help. She emerges relatively undamaged from the Trump era. These odds are plenty short enough though, given the extremely unpredictable situation.


5: Mike Pence — $25

Indeed it is far from clear which way the GOP will go. Towards the faction who wanted to hang Mike Pence, or to the NeverTrumpers, or somebody like Haley who managed to straddle the two.

I can’t see a path through that which ends up with Pence on the 2024 ticket. He’s associated with and implicated by Trump’s actions in office but has failed the purity test to succeed among his supporters. A poor bet.


6: Ted Cruz — $46

If the insurrectionists win the GOP civil war, Cruz is in a strong position as one of the most vocal and certainly the most prominent. He will run for president again and again. I’m not convinced his faction will win the party, though. It is a road to electoral oblivion. Cruz is personally implicated in inciting the deadly insurrection that endangered his colleagues’ lives. That will stick.


7: Elizabeth Warren — $50

Could Biden/Harris face a primary challenge? If from the Left, Warren would be the one. She was favourite for a long way during the 2020 primary and would probably have won had Bernie Sanders withdrawn after his heart attack.

She retains impeccable credentials for the party base and will doubtless play a prominent role in the Democrat-controlled Senate. I’m not convinced there will be a serious primary challenge though, or that Warren would make such a divisive move.


8: Pete Buttigieg — $60

Similar story here. 12 months ago, ‘Mayor Pete’ was winning the Iowa Caucus. He’s now Transportation Secretary and a rising Democrat star. If Harris is the candidate, I’d make Buttigieg favourite to be her running mate, but I can’t see him challenging her.


9: Tucker Carlson — $65

The best value trade on the GOP side. There is no public suggestion that the Fox News presenter intends to run but speculation is inevitable. If Trump wanes, they have no leader and Carlson will be most prominent, daily attacker of the Biden administration.

The lesson of the last decade is that the Republican base hate establishment politicians — which they’ve now come to define as almost anyone in Congress. Evidently, they prefer larger-than-life media mavericks, for whom populist rhetoric is second nature.


10: Rand Paul — $65

A Paul ran for the three Republican primaries prior to 2020. Rand lost early in 2016 but his father was second to Mitt Romney in 2012. They represent a specific strand of isolationism and so-called libertarianism within the party. Even if he’s not competitive, expect Rand to run again, if only to promote the arguments.

His chance would be much greater this time because the party has since transformed its foreign policy under Trump. Back in 2012, criticising defence spending, NATO, US-led wars, Israel was anathema to Republicans. Not anymore.


Outsiders

Just one to recommend at this early stage — Paul Ryan at around $320. He is the former Republican Speaker and was Romney’s running mate in 2012. Before Trump’s hostile takeover of the party, he was widely deemed a future presidential candidate. By retiring from the Speaker role, Ryan managed to avoid association with the era and damage to his reputation. He’s only 51 years of age.


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