2020 Election Odds: Trump’s Debate Performance Did Little To Improve His Re-Election Chances vs. Biden

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SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: President Donald Trump

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2020 Election Odds

Candidate
Odds
Implied Prob.
Joe Biden
-227
65.2%
Donald Trump
+180
33.5%

Odds as of Oct. 22 and via European sportsbook Betfair. If you’re new to betting, Donald Trump’s +180 odds mean a $100 bet would net $180 if he wins the election. Convert odds using our Betting Odds Calculator. Note that the implied probabilities above do not include the tax the book charges.


Thursday night’s second and final presidential debate had fewer interruptions than the first one, but it did little to move the needle toward re-electing president Donald Trump, according to the betting markets.

Trump leaves the debate with nearly identical odds (+180) to those with which he entered the debate (+175). The +180 odds equate to a 33.5% chance to win. Compare those to Biden’s -227 odds (a 65.2% chance), and it’s clear that the betting market thinks Trump needs to shift the race significantly with less than two weeks remaining until Election Day.

Note: Trump and Biden’s chances to win do not add up to 100% because Betfair lists odds for more than just the two main candidates.


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Presidential Election Odds Tracker

Here’s a snapshot of how odds have evolved from week to week, starting with March 4 — the day after Super Tuesday. Note that the implied percentages will not always add up to 100%. That occurs when Betfair lists odds for more than just Trump/Biden.

Past Presidential Race Updates

Oct. 22 — Pre-Debate

Heading into the final presidential debate of the 2020 election cycle, Joe Biden maintains a significant lead over Donald Trump on the oddsboard.

Biden’s odds have regressed slightly over the past 10 days — his -277 odds with a 67.6% implied probability of winning on Oct. 13 are down to -227 (64.4%) as of Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Trump has seen a slight bump from +200 (30.6%) to +175 (33.7%) over that same span.

However, the implications remain largely the same: Biden has roughly a 2/3 chance of winning according to the betting market.

Note that Biden’s and Trump’s implied probabilities don’t quite add up to 100%, because Betfair has also listed odds for Vice Presidential nominees Kamala Harris and Mike Pence.

As the second of only two debates was cancelled in the wake of Trump’s positive COVID-19 case, Thursday night could shift the odds: Trump saw a 3.4% decline while Biden saw a 7.3% boost after their first nationally televised showdown.

Predictive forecasts such as FiveThirtyEight’s align with the betting market, with Biden winning 87% of the time in their model’s 40,000 simulations.

Oct. 13

We’re three weeks out from Election Day, and the betting odds are continuing to trend toward former Vice President Joe Biden. The latest odds from Betfair — Biden: -277, Trump +200 — imply Biden has a little more than a two-thirds chance to win the Presidential Election.

Trump, meanwhile, is hovering around 30%. (Note: The implied percentages at the top of this article don’t quite add up to 100% because Betfair also has listed Kamala Harris and Mike Pence in their latest round of odds.)

These are the worst odds we’ve seen for Trump in the seven-plus months of monitoring this market. Last Thursday, the morning after the Vice Presidential debate, Biden’s odds sat at -250, while Trump was at +188.

This week’s Presidential debate, which was supposed to take place on Thursday, was canceled after President Trump — who has yet to test negative for COVID-19 after being diagnosed a week-and-a-half ago — turned down the chance to debate Biden virtually.

The two will instead partake in separate town halls at the same time on different TV networks on Thursday.

Early voting in many key swing states is already well underway, which could be why many predictive models, such as FiveThirtyEight’s Election Forecast, are more bullish on Biden’s chances than the betting markets. FiveThirtyEight’s model gave Biden an 87% chance of winning at the time of publication.

Bettors haven’t forced sportsbooks to adjust quite that much yet.

Oct. 8 Morning After Vice Presidential Debate

On Wednesday night, Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris squared off in the Vice Presidential debate. And by Thursday morning, Joe Biden’s chances of winning the presidency were more double that of Donald Trump’s — 67.3% vs. 32.7% — according to Betfair.

At -250 odds, Biden continues to gain momentum as Trump’s diagnosis of COVID-19 has taken him off the campaign trail. This represents an all-time high for Biden’s odds to win in the betting markets. In fact, his chances to win have risen 12.9% from just nine days ago, before the first debate between Biden and Trump.

Since then, a lot has changed. After Trump’s performance in the first debate, most polls in key battleground states moved against him … Trump and many members of his inner circle contracted COVID-19; the president had to be hospitalized for four days before returning to the White House on Monday … Pence and Harris squared off in the Vice Presidential debate, with pundits saying it did little to fundamentally change the race, bad news for a Trump campaign that is running out of time to swing the election in its favor.

Oct. 6 Four Weeks Until Election

With exactly four weeks to go until Election Day, the 2020 race has entered truly unprecedented territory.

President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19 just two days after the first presidential debate of the cycle, prompting a flurry of questions about the final stretch of his campaign. After spending three nights at Walter Reed medical center, Trump returned to the White House on Monday.

As soon as news that Trump had contracted the virus broke, sportsbooks took 2020 election odds off the board, but have since re-posted them — and, in the case of European book Betfair, finally eliminated odds for other candidates to offer lines for only Trump and his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden is now a -175 favorite to win in November, and while they’re not his best odds yet — he reached as high as -200 in July — with Betfair no longer offering lines for other candidates, the -175 odds do give him his highest implied probability of winning yet at 62.3%.

Meanwhile, Trump is now a +160 underdog, giving him a 37.7% implied probability of winning.

Sept. 29 Post-Debate

It didn’t take long for the first debate of the general election to swing the odds.

Just hours before Donald Trump and Joe Biden squared off in primetime, Trump was a +120 underdog with a 42.8% implied probability to win in November, while Biden was a -137 favorite with a 54.4% implied probability. But both of their odds shifted quickly after Tuesday night’s debate ended.

Trump’s updated odds of +138 now give him a 39.4% implied probability of winning, while Biden’s -161 odds now give him a 61.73% implied probability.

That’s a 3.4% dip for Trump compared to a 7.3% boost for Biden.

Sept. 29 Pre-Debate

After climbing back up to +100 at the end of August — his best odds since early June — Donald Trump is now a +120 underdog heading into the first presidential debate against Joe Biden on Tuesday night.

That’s a -2.6% difference in implied probably (45.4% to 42.8%) for Trump over the past month.

Biden, meanwhile, has maintained the slight edge on the odds board. After seeing his implied probability of winning the general election fall 11.6% between July 30 and Aug. 28 (from 61.2% to 49.6%), Biden has regained some of the ground he lost: His -137 odds give him a 54.4% implied probability heading into Tuesday night’s debate.

Aug. 28

Donald Trump’s odds of winning the 2020 election have jumped substantially over the past month: Since July 30, his implied probability has improved from 33.4% (+175) to 45.4% (+100) at European sportsbook Betfair — a 12% increase.

These are his best odds since early June.

Now a day after accepting renomination at the Republican National Convention, Trump is within striking distance of Joe Biden, who is still favored but has seen his implied probability fall from 61.2% (-200) to 49.6% (-120) over the same span (11.6% decrease).

Biden’s lead on the oddsboard has notably shrunk since the start of the party conventions two weeks ago. The former Vice President was a -149 (54.1%) favorite on Aug. 17, Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention.

Interestingly, the recent movement at Betfair bucks the trend of FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls over the same span: Biden had a +8.3 lead on July 30 and now sits at +9.1 as of writing.

August 24

Donald Trump continues to trail Joe Biden on the oddsboard as the Republican National Convention kicks off Monday, but the difference has shrunk over recent weeks.

Since July 30, Trump’s odds have improved from +175 to +125 — a 7.6% jump in implied probability (33.4% to 41.0%) according to the betting market. Biden’s odds have simultaneously fallen from -200 (61.2% implied probability) to -137 (53.4%) over that same span.

The latest odds trends do not seem to reflect the latest trend in polling: Biden is +9.4 in FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls compared to +8.4 heading into the Democratic National Convention last Monday and +8.3 on July 30.

That said, Trump has seen a slight uptick in his approval rating, which sits at an average of 41.7% according to FiveThirtyEight, up from 40.4% at the end of July.

August 17

Joe Biden finally announced his running mate, making good on his promise to select a woman by asking Kamala Harris to join his ticket last week.

Now, as the virtual Democratic National Convention kicks off Monday night, Biden finds himself with a smaller but still sizable lead in the betting market. Since July 30, Biden’s odds have dropped from -200 (61.2% implied probability) to -149 (54.1%) while Donald Trump’s have risen from +175 (33.4%) to +130 (39.3%).

Trump’s boost in odds coincides with a slight uptick in his approval rating, which now sits at 42% — the highest it’s been since early June according to FiveThirtyEight’s tracker, when protests over racial injustice began to sweep the nation.

Biden’s lead over Trump in FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls has gone from +8.3 to +8.0 over that same span (since July 30).

July 30

Donald Trump, who on Thursday tweeted about delaying the 2020 election, is trailing Joe Biden in 2020 election odds for the ninth straight week.

At +175, Trump’s odds haven’t worsened since our last update 10 days ago, but Biden’s have improved from -189 to -200 over that same span. Since we first started tracking these odds on March 4, Biden’s implied probability of winning has gone from 40% to 61.2%, his highest yet.

Biden first leapfrogged Trump on the oddsboard in early June, at the height of nationwide protests over racial justice, when his -110 odds gave him a 47.3% implied probability. He’s expected to announce his running mate in the first week of August, before the Democratic National Convention starts on Aug. 17.

July 21

Donald Trump has matched his lowest odds of the 2020 cycle, hitting +175 for the second time over the past month, giving him only a 33.2% implied probability of winning reelection.

Joe Biden’s odds, meanwhile, have matched his previous best: At -189, the former Vice President once again has better odds than Trump did as the favorite when we started tracking this market after Super Tuesday and the President was listed at -149. This aligns with what Smarkets has also reported — that Biden’s chances of winning are now better than Trump’s have been (per their exchange prices).

The odds board has better reflected polling over the past two months, when Biden began to grow his lead, going from a +6.0 edge on May 21 to a +8.8 edge on July 21 in FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls. In fact, he’s sustained a +8.0 or higher edge since mid-June.

According to The New York Times, this is the first time a candidate has sustained this kind of advantage for this long in nearly 25 years, when Bill Clinton led Bob Dole in 1996 election polls.

July 15

Kanye West’s presidential bid didn’t last very long.

After announcing intentions to run against Donald Trump and Joe Biden as a third-party candidate on July 4, Kanye ended his campaign just 10 days later. Other than the rapper’s brief entry into the race, not much else has changed over recent weeks: Biden is still a significant betting favorite against Trump, with -175 odds that give Biden a 58.2% implied probability compared to Trump’s +163 odds and 34.7% implied probability.

Trump’s decline started in late May/early June, when protests enveloped streets and cities across the county in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis. There’s also the nationwide rise in coronavirus cases since mid-June to consider.

Since June 8, Biden has maintained higher than a 50% implied probability of winning according to the betting market. Trump’s implied probability hasn’t spiked above 40% since then.

Biden is +8.3 in FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls.

July 6

Donald Trump just saw his 2020 election odds move in a positive direction for the first time since Memorial Day.

After hitting a new low of +175 odds last week, Trump is now a +150 betting underdog coming out of the Fourth of July weekend, gaining back some of the implied probability he had lost over the past month when he had fallen from 45.2% on June 2 to 33% on June 30.

Joe Biden maintains a substantial lead on the oddsboard at -161 with a 55.8% implied probability of winning in November.

Kanye West threw his hat in the proverbial ring on Independence Day, announcing on Twitter that he’s allegedly running for president — yes, in 2020. The betting market’s initial odds for Kanye seem to reflect the obstacles he would have to overcome if he’s serious about entering the race just four months until the election: He’s a +8000 longshot. That’s a 1.1% implied probability for the rapper.

June 30

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge throughout the United States while the country confronts issues of systemic racism, Donald Trump’s odds to be re-elected continue to fall.

Trump is now a +175 betting underdog, giving him only a 33% implied probability of winning the election compared to Joe Biden’s 59.3% implied probability. The latest polling backs it up: According to FiveThirtyEight’s average of national polls, Biden has an average +9.6 edge over Trump — that’s tied  for Biden’s second-biggest edge over Trump in FiveThirtyEight’s average since late February.

Trump’s implied probability has steadily declined since outrage over George Floyd’s death swept the nation, falling from 45.2% on June 2 to 33% on June 30. Trump hits this new low just days after The New York Times released new polling that showed him falling six to 11 points behind in six battleground states that helped deliver his 2016 victory.

June 22

The presidential race continues to evolve as the nation grapples with COVID, issues of race and more.

Joe Biden is now a -161 betting favorite, giving him a 55.8% implied probability — that’s a 3.2% increase over the past two weeks and the biggest edge lead the former Vice President has had over Donald Trump since we started tracking these odds on Super Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Trump’s 36.2% implied probability with +150 odds is the worst it’s been this cycle, falling from 40.5% and +125 over the past two weeks.

June 8

After a second straight weekend of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, CNN released a new poll showing that only 41% of the public supports Donald Trump compared to the 55% that supports Joe Biden.

The betting market continues to move in Biden’s direction, as well: The former Vice President is now a -137 favorite to win the election, giving him a 52.6% implied probability of winning according to the odds at the European sportsbook Betfair.

That’s the biggest lead Biden has had over Trump since we started tracking these odds after Super Tuesday.

These odds were stagnant for months as the U.S. battled COVID-19, but have quickly moved in Biden’s favor over the past two weeks.

June 4

Joe Biden is the favorite to win the 2020 presidential election for the first time since mid-March.

After trailing Donald Trump on the odds board for much of the past three months, Biden drew even with Trump earlier this week with +100 odds at European sportsbook Betfair. Now Biden’s -110 odds give him a 47.3% vig-free implied probability of winning in November — a 2.1% increase over the past two days — while Trump is down to +110 (a 2.2% decrease).

The first significant shift in election odds comes amidst ongoing unrest across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The odds now better reflect recent polling, as Real Clear Politics’ average of major polls lists Biden at +7.8.

June 2

Amid ongoing protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the 2020 election odds market just saw its first significant change in months.

Donald Trump — who had been between a -110 and -120 favorite since mid-March — is now listed at even odds (+100) with Joe Biden at the European sportsbook Betfair.

Just one month ago, the betting market gave Trump a 46% vig-free implied probability of winning November’s election, which at the time was a 6.1% edge over Biden. Now their +100 odds give them each a 45.2% implied probability of winning.

As my colleague Bryan Mears recently discussed, betting markets haven’t necessarily reflected recent polling. And while the current odds are now closer to what polls seem to indicate about the state of the presidential race, Biden actually still has a +6 edge over Trump in Real Clear Politics’ average of notable polls:

As the U.S. continues to grapple with issues of racial inequality and a virus that has claimed more than 100,000 American lives, it appears that betting markets have at least adjusted for the uncertainty of how the coming weeks and months will impact the presidential race.

May 13

There hasn’t been much movement on the 2020 election oddsboard in May.

Donald Trump is still favored to win in November. His -110 odds give him a 46% implied probability of winning — a more than 6% edge over Joe Biden, whose +120 odds give him a 39.9% implied probability.

May 5

Donald Trump has maintained his position as the favorite to win the 2020 election since mid-March, though his edge has shortened over the past three weeks — his implied probably of winning according to the betting market has fallen from 50.5% (-120 odds) to 46% (-110 odds) over that span.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden’s odds remain unaffected by the ongoing coverage of the sexual assault allegation against him, holding steady at +120 since mid-April.

April 13

Just five days after seeing a boost from Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race, Joe Biden’s election odds are once again trending downward while Donald Trump’s continue to rise.

Here’s how their implied probabilities of winning (per their odds) have shifted since last Wednesday:

  • Trump: 47.6% to 50.5% (+2.9%)
  • Biden: 45.5% to 42% (-3.5%)

April 8

Bernie Sanders ended his campaign on Wednesday, paving way for Joe Biden to (likely) secure the Democratic nomination in August.

Biden’s election odds saw a boost as a result, improving from a 40.4% implied probability (+125 odds) to 45.5% (+100). That puts him within nearly two percentage points of Donald Trump, who had been previously padding his lead on the odds board over the prior two weeks.

April 3

Since re-emerging as the betting favorite 10 days ago, Donald Trump has held a steady lead over Joe Biden on the 2020 election odds board as the U.S. continues to navigate the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak.

Trump now has a 6.8% edge in implied probability over Biden (47.2% vs. 40.4%).

Here’s a brief snapshot of notable odds movement over that span:

  • March 24: Trump announces he hopes to relax social distancing guidelines by Easter. His odds move from +110 (tied with Biden) to -110, positioning him as the favorite once again.
  • March 25: Betfair adds election odds for New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who has seen those improve from +8000 (1.1% implied probability) to +2200 (3.9%) since.
  • March 27: Biden sees his odds dip from +110 to +120, or from 43.7% to 41.3% (-2.4%) in implied probability in just two days.
  • March 30: The day after reversing course on his Easter timeline to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April, Trump sees his lead over Biden grow with the former Vice President’s odds slipping further to +125.

March 30

A day after Donald Trump announced that federal social distancing guidelines would be extended through the end of April, the gap has widened between Trump and Joe Biden in 2020 election odds.

Trump remains a -110 favorite (47.2% implied probability) to win in November, but Biden saw his implied probability fall from 41.3% (+120 odds) to 40.4% (+125 odds) between Friday and Monday — or 3.3% total since March 18.

March 27

After bottoming out at +110 odds (43.1% implied probability) last week, Donald Trump re-emerged as the betting favorite to win the general election earlier this week and is now padding his lead over Joe Biden.

The former Vice President is down to a +120 underdog as of Friday, representing a dip in implied probability from 43.7% to 41.3% (-2.4%) since this past Wednesday.

March 25

On Wednesday, European sportsbook Betfair added one more name to the 2020 election odds board: New York governor Andrew Cuomo, who is currently combatting a COVID-19 outbreak across his state.

Still, Cuomo hasn’t actually announced any intention of running as of writing, and his +8000 odds give him only a 1.1% chance of winning.

Donald Trump remains the favorite to win the general election with his 45.9% implied probability giving him a slight edge over Joe Biden, who has a 43.7% implied probability.

March 24

After hitting a new low of +110 (43.1% implied probability) only one week ago, Donald Trump’s odds to win the 2020 election are up to -110 (46.1% implied probability), meaning he is once again the favorite to win in November.

Trump’s 3% boost in implied probability comes at a cost to Joe Biden: While the former Vice President has held steady at +100 odds, his implied probability has dipped from 44.5% to 44% over the past week.

We’ll continue to monitor how the 2020 presidential election odds shift in the coming days and weeks, so be sure to check back as the race evolves.

March 19

Betting odds indicate the market is growing increasingly bearish on Donald Trump’s chances of re-election.

His odds reached a new low on Monday, bottoming out at +110 (43.1% implied probability). Trump has since bounced back to +100, but that still leaves him even with Joe Biden, who has gained significant ground since Super Tuesday (March 10), when he was a +500 underdog to win the presidency.

For context on how quickly Trump’s odds have fallen, his -162 odds heading into Super Tuesday gave him a 50.2% implied probability of winning. That’s now down to 44.5%.

Betfair is offering odds simply for President Donald Trump not to be re-elected — meaning it doesn’t pin him against Joe Biden or any other candidate; it’s just a yes/no bet — and Trump is listed as -137 to not be voted in for a second term.

Trump is also positioned as an underdog in two other bet categories at Betfair:

  1. Popular vote winner: The still to-be-officially-nominated candidate of the Democratic party is a -227 favorite (64.6% implied probability) to win the popular vote over Trump, who is listed at +163 odds (35.4%).
  2. Winning party: Democrats are a -120 favorite to win the presidential election (49.7% implied probability) against the Republicans, who are -110 (47.6%). An independent is, unsurprisingly, a +3300 longshot (2.7%) to win.

Vig-free implied probabilities mean that the fee Betfair charges bettors for a wager has been factored out so that the implied probabilities of odds for a given market all add up to 100% exactly.

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