Democratic Candidate Odds: Where Do They Stand Post Iowa?

Following Paul Krishnamurty’s Ranking of the Democratic Candidates and the Iowa Democratic Caucus results, Democratic Candidate odds have shifted significantly.

The Political Pundits now assess where the Democrats now stand and make comments on the five current favourites.


Bernie Sanders

Nomination: $2.54
President: $5.80

Although Sanders didn’t have the clear victory that the betting projected in Iowa, he definitely emerges as the front-runner. He’s trading below $1.20 and $1.50 to win the next races in New Hampshire and Nevada respectively. If he delivers in both, he would surely be heavily odds-on for the nomination.

Why, therefore, is he available to back above $2.50? A view that Democrat voters will eventually coalesce around a more moderate alternative. Sanders is nowhere near 50% nationally, or even it seems in New Hampshire. Even with a fast start, he may not win a majority of delegates, thus prompting speculation of a contested, or brokered, Democrat Convention.

The market will likely resist Sanders all year to some extent, because hype about an establishment stitch-up against him will proliferate. In many respects, this Democrat race is beginning to mirror the 2016 Republican race, when outsider Trump fought mulitple establishment candidates. We know how that ended. Bernie’s odds for both markets are pretty generous and likely to shorten in the weeks ahead.


Mike Bloomberg

Nomination: $5.80
President: $9.60

Nothing should surprise us anymore in politics but this did catch me out. Bloomberg – a former Republican, a billionaire, without campaigning in an early state or appearing on a debate stage – has stormed to second place. Is the gamble inspired or insane?

It depends whether beating Trump at all costs is more important than specific policies to Democrat voters. Bloomberg is already polling well, notably against Trump. Of all the candidates, I think he’d fare best. He knows how to beat him – strategically and rhetorically.

However, I am skeptical primary voters will see it that way. A billionaire trying to buy the Presidency? That’s meat and drink to Bernie Sanders. I’m not dismissive at all of Bloomberg, but need to see a lot more polling evidence in specific primaries to get excited.


Joe Biden

Nomination: $6.60
President: $16

One thing I did call right was Biden’s poor show in Iowa. This is the beginning of the end. The former VP is the classic bad early favourite of primary folklore. Propped up by polls based on name recognition, familiarity and lack of engagement with alternatives. Voters generally only engage on a deeper level close to polling day. He was a bad candidate at his peak and now past his sell-by date.

Yet he’s still relatively popular in the betting. Again, I think this is just a matter of polls catching up. Opinion dynamics move very fast during primary season. He isn’t engaging anyone and establishment endorsements mean ever less. I think he’ll be trounced in the next two races, then lose South Carolina and quit the race.


PETE BUTTIGIEG

Nomination: $7.20
President: $16

The chief beneficiary of Biden’s collapse in Iowa is now in pole position to represent the centrist, moderate wing of the party. Expect that to be confirmed in New Hampshire if finishing clear second behind Sanders. Can he sustain it or win over the majority?

Much has been written about Buttigieg’s inability to win black voters, who make up a substantial portion of the primary electorate. That should not be regarded as set in stone – few voters had probably ever engaged with ‘Mayor Pete’ until the last week or so. Nevertheless, it won’t change overnight and he’s unlikely to be competitive in South Carolina or several others voting on Super Tuesday.

For that reason I can leave his odds at current levels. One thing in his favour – the media love him and, if Biden and Bloomberg both fail, he’d sweep support from the Democrat establishment.


ELIZABETH WARREN

Nomination: $18
President: $50

Warren had an excellent result in Iowa in third place, winning late deciders, second round transfers and outstripping her polls. Yet the market moved against her. Gamblers seem to hate Warren, apart from me. A divided party may come to realise over the weeks ahead that she is their best bet – the unity candidate.

Granted, at present, she is losing the progressive vote to Sanders (although not by a huge margin). That makes it likelier that her role would be kingmaker, later in the process, by endorsing or directing her delegates towards Sanders.

However, her support is not one-dimensional. She will win plenty of ex-Biden or Klobuchar voters. She might overtake Buttigieg and win his defectors later. If as seems the case, there is a vast anyone-but-Bernie contingent, Warren could end up their only hope. She is resilient, well-prepared, has a great ground game and will be the sole woman candidate.


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