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A Glimpse Into the Contenders
It is never too early to look at the odds from the best political betting sites for the 2024 United States presidential election, which is set to take place on November 5, 2024. The favorite to win the Democratic nomination is current President Joe Biden, and the favorite to win the Republican nomination is former President Donald J. Trump.
It would be the first time since 1956 that the election was a rematch, and Dwight D. Eisenhower won both times when that happened. It would be the first time since 1912 that it was an incumbent against a former president back when more than two parties had a chance to win.
Either one, Trump or Biden, would set a record for the oldest president in U.S. history, which is troubling many voters who want to see someone younger and more likely to make it through a full term. A current Quinnipiac University poll shows that 52% of voters want new candidates in 2024.
But you can’t always get what you want. Neither candidate is particularly well-liked right now. According to FiveThirtyEight, Biden’s approval rating is only 39.3%, which is poor. Even Trump was just above 40% at this point of his presidency.
Of course, Trump’s approval rating was rarely good as his support primarily comes from his rabid base, something that Biden does not have as there have been Democratic voices growing louder that he should step aside for 2024. Both parties have in-fighting, but only the Republicans are afraid of crossing Trump in public as the backlash will be harsh and significant (see Liz Cheney).
Polls and Odds
Trump also has a 48% edge to win over 46% for Biden according to other polls from Quinnipiac, and oddsmakers have also been giving a slight edge to Trump recently, though it is usually very tight.
You can find Trump with odds in the range of +137 and +160 to win a 2nd term while Biden is not far behind at +150 to +200 depending on where you look.
Let’s focus on some of the key points of this race right now.
|Robert Kennedy Jr.
Focus on Polls in the Key Battleground States
Even with 50 United States, most of them are predictably blue (Democratic) or red (Republican) and will vote accordingly. If you want an idea of who will win in November 2024, you have to focus on the key battleground states that have largely decided the last few elections.
In 2016, Trump beat Hillary Clinton thanks to roughly 80,000 votes in the Rust Belt region:
- Trump won Wisconsin, which voted Republican for the first time since 1984.
- Trump also won Michigan and Pennsylvania, which went Republican for the first time since 1988.
In 2020, Biden beat Trump thanks to taking back the Rust Belt and some other swing states:
- Biden won back the 46 electoral votes from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
- Biden won Georgia, the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992.
- Biden won Arizona, the first Democrat to do so since Clinton in 1996.
- Biden won Nebraska’s 2nd congressional district, the first for a Democrat since Barack Obama in 2008.
But the Rust Belt alone would have been enough to swing things for Biden, who needed 270 electoral votes to win. In 2016, Trump won with a 304-227 margin, so those 46 votes made the difference. In 2016, Biden won 306-232, so the 27 votes from Georgia (16) and Arizona (11) were not 100% necessary thanks to the 46 votes in the Rust Belt.
How Do Things Look Right Now in The Rust Belt States?
Pennsylvania’s recent polls:
- Bloomberg: Trump 47%, Biden 44%
- Emerson College: Trump 46%, Biden 43%
- New York Times/Sienna College: Trump 48%, Biden 44%
Michigan’s recent polls:
- Bloomberg: Trump 43%, Biden 43%
- Emerson College: Biden 43%, Trump 41%
- New York Times/Sienna College: Trump 48%, Biden 43%
Wisconsin’s recent polls:
- Bloomberg: Trump 47%, Biden 46%
- Emerson College: Trump 44%, Biden 43%
- New York Times/Sienna College: Biden 47%, Trump 45%
Most of the polls favor Trump by a slight margin, but most forecasters see these as very close, crucial races that you have to keep an eye on into next November.
Trump’s Legal Battles Not Likely to Have Impact
Trump is “Teflon Don” as nothing ever seems to stick to him or drag him down. He survived the events on January 6, 2021 and a 2nd impeachment hearing. His support has remained steady even through 4 indictments by federal court and 91 charges in a variety of alleged crimes.
The fact that these cases will likely not be resolved until after the election, perhaps in 2025, makes it very unlikely they will have an impact on the election results. We also do not have any laws in place that say Trump could not run for president or even run as president if he was convicted of a felony.
There has thankfully been no precedent for a president trying to serve from prison, but you never know what could happen here. Alas, if Trump wins reelection in 2024, his administration could dismiss the cases against him, and that would be a quick way to resolve this matter from turning into a moral quagmire and a mockery of the job of POTUS.
The Republicans were given a free pass to dump Trump when these indictments started rolling out. They could have thrown support behind someone like Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley and moved into the 2024 election phase with a new leader and direction to gain more independent votes. But they are still by and large riding with Trump, who is -800 at some sportsbooks to win the Republic nomination for 2024.
Will Biden Be Challenged by Party?
No incumbent in modern U.S. history has ever been replaced as their party’s nominee. Some have been challenged before like Jimmy Carter by Ted Kennedy in 1980, but Carter still won the nomination and ran against Ronald Reagan. He was also the last Democratic president to only serve one term.
In the history of the United States, one-term presidents have been rare. It has only happened 10 times since the 18th century:
- Donald Trump, 2017-2021
- George H.W. Bush, 1989-1993
- Jimmy Carter, 1977-1981
- Gerald Ford, 1974-77
- Herbert Hoover, 1929-33
- William Howard Taft, 1909-13
- Benjamin Harrison, 1889-93
- Martin Van Buren, 1837-41
- John Quincy Adams, 1825-29
- John Adams, 1797-1801
But Biden’s age does put him in rarified air and opens him to new criticism we usually don’t see with presidents. He would be 82 on Inauguration Day in 2025. He would be 86 when his second term ends in January 2029.
With Vice President Kamala Harris not having a good approval rating, the prospects of her taking over during Biden’s next term leaves voters feeling uneasy. This is why there has been a push for California Governor Gavin Newsom to challenge Biden, but that would go against the grain of what parties usually do with incumbents.
But it does feel like Biden faces a bigger threat from Newsom or another contender than Trump does in a Republican party he has consumed since 2015.
But one challenger who has no shot of winning is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He announced his candidacy as a Democrat in April before jumping ship to run as an independent in October. His best hope is to be a third-party spoiler, and it is unclear if he would pull more votes away from Biden or Trump in the swing states.
But unlike his famous uncle or father, this is a Kennedy who will never have mass appeal to win the presidency. His odds are +1600 at bet365 and that’s more generous than most oddsmakers.
It’s not even hindsight to say 2020 was an easy call compared to 2024. You just sensed people had enough of Trump’s presidency, and COVID was the final straw. He was going to lose that one to Biden as a record number of voters turned out to make sure it happened.
But going into 2024, it feels like a bigger toss-up with most voters wanting no part of either Trump or Biden to run again. Give us fresh blood and some new faces. The problem is people like Kamala Harris and Ron DeSantis do not have mass appeal at all, and third-party candidates do not stand a chance in 2024 given the 2-party system this country blindly supports despite it being the root of the problem.
But something Trump has that Biden doesn’t is that MAGA base, the 40% of the party that is behind him 100% no matter what he does. That base of voters is why other Republicans are afraid to attack Trump in public, because they don’t want to lose them in case something happens with Trump and they can replace him.
The best betting strategy would be to hedge on both Biden and Trump, waiting for the right moments to take advantage of the odds. Trump should see a boost when he names his Vice President pick, assuming it’s a good pick, and that’s when you strike with a Biden bet after his odds go down.
Strategic Betting Approach
But this is going to be a fluid situation, and given their ages, you never know if one will just no longer be with us come Election Day. So, the best bet may just be to bet on which party wins the 2024 election. As crazy as it sounds, the Republicans are doing well in the polls and have revenge in mind for 2020. Over 74 million voted for Trump in 2020 and that number will probably go up in 2024.
The energy for Biden just isn’t there, and the Democrats seem to be quietly heading into disaster without publicly seeking a younger challenger who is more likely to complete a term. There’s also the unlikability factor with Harris that works against the Democrats.
The data keeps trending in this direction, and we are going to stick with it for now and take the Republicans to win back the White House in the 2024 election. But be vigilant, shop for the best odds out there, and make sure you are hedging this one as it is going to be a tight race and you don’t want full exposure to only one side.