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Sanders Closes Gap on Biden in Democratic Nominee Odds; Bloomberg Now Tied with Warren

Joe Biden speaking at an event.
Joe Biden continues to fade for the Democratic Party Nominee while Bernie Sanders continues to gain ground. Photo by Phil Roeder (Flickr).
  • Joe Biden was at 41.4% in national polls in May of 2019 but is now down to 27.2%, according to Real Clear Politics
  • Bernie Sanders’ odds to be the Democratic nominee have improved from +292 on average to +227 over the last 10 days
  • Elizabeth Warren has faded, dropping from 28.8% in October now down to 16.0%, nationally, as of mid-January

As we move closer to the Iowa Caucuses at the beginning of February, one thing has become clear: Bernie Sanders has closed a lot of ground on front runner Joe Biden in the race be the Democratic Party nominee. Surprisingly, Michael Bloomberg has been a big riser too. Can anyone really catch Biden and earn the party’s nomination, though, or is Biden still the best bet?

2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee Odds

Candidate Odds at BetOnline
Joe Biden +200
Bernie Sanders +230
Elizabeth Warren +700
Michael Bloomberg +700
Pete Buttigieg +1000
Andrew Yang +1200
Hillary Clinton +2000
Amy Klobuchar +3300
Michelle Obama +8000
Tulsi Gabbard +10000

Odds taken on Jan. 16, 2020. 

Bernie Up, Biden Down

Throughout the entirety of the race for the Democratic Party’s nomination, the goal for former Vice President Joe Biden has been just “don’t screw it up”. He’s held massive leads at times but as we’ve progressed through the process, it’s quite clear that voters have a tepid feeling about him – and that might be a compliment.

With Biden being so basic – essentially an extension of what was and offering little in terms of unique or fresh ideas – it’s Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that has been the biggest beneficiary of late. While Biden offers mostly the status quo, Sanders offers big, bold ideas that are at least somewhat exciting the party base.

At this point, it’s unclear whether it’s solely the highly-active progressive base that’s behind Sanders or whether he’s actually gaining moderates too. At any rate, his Democratic nominee odds have shortened from +292 on average over the last 10 days to +227. Biden has gone the other way, going from +183 to +207.

The other factor in play here is that Sanders has soaked up almost all of the voters who were backing other candidates who have dropped out. As people like Kamala Harris, Julian Castro and Cory Booker have suspended their campaigns, it’s been Sanders that’s gained the most. That’s why he’s flying up the board.

As for Biden, he’s barely staying afloat on a boat with holes in it. Many moderates are worried that – given his shaky debate performances – he’s going to get eaten alive by current President Donald Trump. On top of that, there are corruption concerns around his son, Hunter, and a litany of missteps on the campaign trail.

That combination is what’s helped Sanders close the gap.

Warren Fades, Bloomberg Rises

Elizabeth Warren’s wave has hit its crest and is now starting to retreat. That’s why we’ve seen her launch into bizarre territory of late, playing along with CNN to say that Sanders once said that a woman couldn’t be President. Given Sanders’ track record of fighting for human rights and equal rights, that was always hard to believe.

Warren probably thought that she could hurt Sanders with these types of character hits but it’s instead her who is going to suffer. She looked like she was on the rise at one point with a legitimate shot to win Iowa. She was in the lead in late October. Since then, her Iowa numbers have taken a dive and she’s now in fourth place.

Meanwhile, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been on the rise – even though he hasn’t even had a chance to join a debate as of yet. He’s still mostly off the map in terms of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina – the first four states – but overall, his odds to win it have shortened from +1033 on average to +667.

With Bloomberg, the argument is quite clear: he’s a moderate option instead of Biden or Pete Buttigieg. We know that Biden is flawed and Buttigieg appears to have plateaued, so Bloomberg steps in as an alternative for moderates who don’t want to see Trump in office again, but also don’t want someone like Biden in his stead.

At the same time, Bloomberg is so far off the map in the first four states that it’s hard to put any money on him. He’s definitely not out of it – it’s clear that the party is not uniting behind any one candidate – so there’s still an opening.

At the same time, if the first four states pass and he’s nowhere near a win, it’s hard to see him coming back.

Sanders Is The Best Bet

It just feels like Sanders will have the numbers this time around. Remember that in 2016, the Democratic Party and the mainstream media worked against Sanders. The same is happening again – especially following the outrage of CNN’s loaded questions for Sanders at this week’s debate – but it looks like Sanders might have the numbers this time around.

Keep in mind that Sanders has started to close the gap on Biden and there’s not a lot between them. However, if (and likely when) Warren bows out, her progressive supporters are going to all get behind Sanders. Nationally, Biden is at 27.2, Sanders is at 19.2 and Warren is at 16.0.

However, if Warren bounces and her following backs Sanders – a very logical assumption since they have similar platforms – then Sanders should rocket into the lead.

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