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Democrats Odds-On Favorites to Win 2020 Presidential Election

California Attorney General Kamala Harris
Kamala Harris is among the favourites to win the 2020 Democratic Party Presidential nomination. Photo by The Office of the Attorney General of California (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License]
  • Four of the last five presidents served a second term
  • But the latest odds place the Republicans as the underdog to win the White House in 2020
  • Is it worth betting against the incumbent?

The chances of a president serving two full terms are generally pretty good. Four of the last five presidents sailed through to a comfortable reelection, with H.W Bush being the only president to lose a reelection bid in the last 25 years.

That should make the Republican nominee — presumably Donald Trump — the odds-on favorite to win the 2020 Presidential election. But the latest numbers have the Democrats as the favorite to win the next general election. The government shutdown and the debacle over funding for the border wall (which is being paid for by Mexico, right?!) has prompted Vegas to bet big on the Dems to take over the White House.

Is the smart money really honing in on the Democrats, or is this just another red herring?

2020 Presidential Election Odds

Who Will Be The Winning Party in 2020? Odds at Bovada
Democratic Party -130
Republican Party EVEN

According to most metrics, the US economy is doing pretty well. GDP growth is quite high; unemployment is quite low. Under normal times, with a normal president, these economic conditions would make for an easy re-election. But these aren’t normal times and Trump is anything but a normal president.

While he enjoys an unusually high approval rating from Republican voters, Donald Trump’s nationwide poll numbers have remained steadily in the high-30s to low-40s. There hasn’t been a single period in his presidency when he has consistently polled above 50%. It seems the vast majority of voters have already made up their minds about him, and very few are willing to reconsider their position.

There hasn’t been a single period in Trump’s presidency when he has consistently polled above 50%.

Trump has spent his entire presidency playing to his base. From separating migrant children from their parents to shutting down the government over funding for a border wall, Trump has continually doubled down on policies and positions that are deeply unpopular with the general population.

The 2018 Midterms were a referendum on Trump, and it proved to be a clear rejection of the President and his party. The Democrats picked up 40 seats in the House and won the nationwide popular vote by over seven percent. The Republicans did not unseat a single Democratic incumbent. The American voters sent a very clear message to Washington.

The Democrats have sensed that 2020 is ripe for picking, and so we should expect a crowded race in the primaries. Elizabeth Warren has already started campaigning, Joe Biden is on the cusp of announcing his bid, and many of the rising stars within the party — Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and even Beto O’Rourke — appear ready to run. On the Republican end, Jeff Flake and John Kasich have floated the idea of a primary run, but that seems unlikely.

Those who currently support Trump will likely continue to support him regardless of what happens.

Trump’s approval rating is what economists call “inelastic.” Those who currently support him will likely continue to support him regardless of what happens. And those who currently oppose him will just as likely continue to oppose him. That means his approval rating shouldn’t sink too far below the low-40s, but it shouldn’t rise much higher either. That’s very good news for the Democrats.

Pick: Democratic Party (-130)

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