How Trump vs Biden Election Odds Measure Up Against Polls

How Trump vs Biden Election Odds Measure Up Against Polls
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Donald Trump’s odds heading into the US election this week suggest the president is about to lose his place in the White House.

Yet the political betting markets offer far more favourable reading for Trump compared to opinion polls in the United States.

Ever since Joe Biden was confirmed as the Democratic candidate to rival Trump in the November 3 vote, the incumbent has seen his chances of securing a second term wane.

Pollsters have pitched Biden between eight and 13 points ahead of Trump heading into the election, which would give Barack Obama’s former vice president a healthy lead even when factoring in margins for error.

Indeed, bar a brief flurry of support across the betting markets at the end of August – which didn’t coincide with a poll shift – Trump has drifted away from Biden in both the odds and public opinion. The expectation is that the Republican cannot shock the world like he did in 2016.

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And yet punters are still putting money on the 74-year-old to beat Biden. Attracted by his high odds and how Trump defied the polls to beat Hilary Clinton four years ago, more and more bets are being placed on the incumbent.

And this has caused the discrepancy between polls and betting markets. According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump has a 10% chance of winning this election, with Biden at 90%. If these were betting odds, that would be Trump at 9/1, with Biden at 1/9.

Yet the latest politics odds price Biden at 8/15 and Trump – still the outsider – at 7/4. That suggests Biden has just a 65.2% chance of winning, with his rival ballooning to 36.4%.

In getting Biden at 8/15 when he could be perceived as having a 1/9 chance, high-rolling bettors clearly see value in Biden too – Betfair have reportedly accepted a £1million bet on the Democrat.

Why The Difference?

The main reason for the difference between polls and betting markets is that punters backing Trump are artificially deflating his price.

Many will have backed Biden when he was out at 8/1 to win the election during the Democratic primaries, where he beat the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mike Bloomberg to secure the nomination.

Biden became the favourite to win the 2020 US election in the middle of May, during the height of the coronavirus first wave in America. It coincided with a dramatic slump in opinion polls for Trump, while the country was embroiled in social unrest over police treatment of minorities, state lockdowns and mass unemployment.

Trump has used the final few days of the campaign to stage rallies in key swing states such as Florida and North Carolina. The Sunshine State is a particularly important battleground for the Republicans, who turned it Red four years ago.

Analysts believe Trump cannot win the election without Florida, while there are a handful of other Red states that could flip to Biden on polling day.

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