- The US Presidential Election takes place tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 3rd)
- Donald Trump’s reelection odds remain long, but not as long as they were last week
- The massive early-voter turnout is a bad sign for the incumbent
All week, President Donald Trump has watched his reelection odds improve – little by little – on a near-daily basis. On Sunday, October 25th, the political-futures market set Donald Trump as a +170 underdog, on average, while Democratic nominee Joe Biden was a -207 favorite.
As of Monday, November 1st, Trump had shortened to +157, narrowing the gap considerably between himself and Biden at -188.
On the eve of Election Day, though, Trump’s momentum has stalled.
2020 Presidential Election Odds
|Candidate||Nov. 2 Odds||Nov. 1 Odds||Oct. 28 Odds||Oct. 26 Odds||Oct. 25 Odds|
Biden remains a heavy favorite with a little over 24 hours to go until polls close.
The current odds give Biden a 62.65% chance to win, leaving 37.34% for Trump. If you had told Democrats a few months ago that this is where the odds would be on Nov. 2nd, they would have been ecstatic.
But, if you gave them the same information last week, it would have raised some concern.
Back on Oct. 25th, the futures market gave Biden a 64.54% chance versus Trump at 35.45%. In other words, the gap in probability has decreased from 29.09% to 25.31% in the last eight days.
Advanced Voting a Good Sign for Biden
The advanced-voter turnout for this election has been historically high. Vox reported that over 95 million ballots had been cast as of Nov. 2nd, and that there were more to be counted.
#Military absentee ballots will be counted as late as Nov. 23. Re-posting b/c of @realDonaldTrump comments today he hopes vote count will stop Election night. 1 in 5 of those 250,000 military absentee votes was cast in Florida https://t.co/albyL4JxXw
— Tara Copp (@TaraCopp) October 29, 2020
In the 2016 election, only 58.3 million ballots were cast before election day. The 2020 early vote is going to wind up nearly doubling 2016.
One of the driving forces behind early (mostly mail-in) votes is COVID. Voting by mail is safer than going to a polling place with other members of the public – which would suggest in-person voting on election day will be lower than usual.
But even with that factored in, the total-voter turnout projections are as high as 150 million. The 2016 election saw 139 million votes, in total, which was the most ever in a US election.
The analysis on early voting is that it is favoring Democrats by roughly a six-point margin. And generally, high voter turnout has been bad for incumbents.
Will the Odds Move Tonight?
The short answer is “probably”. While the election odds have been open for years, most bettors (at least when it comes to sports) don’t wager until the day of the event.
The old adage in sports betting is that most of the late, “public” money goes on the favorite. If that holds true this evening, Biden’s odds will move north of -200 again, while Trump fades back closer to +170.
Don’t bank on that happening though; online political betting is a fairly new invention by comparison and it remains to be seen how the public acts in the hours before Election Day.