Election Odds 2024: Shouldn’t Biden Be Bigger Primary Favorite?

Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
2024 election odds

General election odds imply more of a battle than primary season, but the race for the Democratic nomination is on a low sizzle at this point. Joe Biden is cruising to his re-nomination as the sitting President, but for reasons beyond understanding, he’s only $0.67 (-203) in 2024 election odds at PredictIt and -280 in Ontario at DraftKings Sportsbook.

With Gavin Newsom the second favorite and RFK Jr. taking up a share of the odds board, is there value betting on President Biden just to win the Democratic primary?

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2024 Election Odds: Democratic Nomination

There are three main scenarios where Biden doesn’t become the nominee – death/resignation, health scare causing him to drop out while serving to January 2025, or a perilous drop in his poll numbers. That said, the chances of those happening are substantially less than the $0.33 implied by his PredictIt price.

Yes, Biden is obviously the oldest President, but the chances of the President of the United States dying is much less than the average man of his age. The health team around the President has the effect of inoculating a lot of the actuarial risks for Biden, meaning fading Biden due to risks of dying is nonsensical.

The second risk – of a health scare insufficient to end his term early but that scares him into being a one-term President – is even smaller. The scare would have to be well-timed enough that he can’t get healthy and run again, but not too close to the election where Biden would just resign. Either way, if he is incapacitated after the Primaries, the DNC would pick the nominee.

The third option is why RFK Jr. is at 10 cents – in theory, he could win the nomination outright. The problem is, the most recent poll of New Hampshire shows RFK Jr. with 9% favorables and 69% unfavorables amongst state primary voters. The more that voters hear from the anti-vax son of a former Attorney General, the less they like him.

If Not Joe Biden, Then Who?

If Biden isn’t the nominee, the next nominee will not be Gavin Newsom.

If Biden were suffer tragedy before the Primaries, Kamala Harris would be the President and she’d enter those Primaries with a huge advantage. It’s possible she might be weak enough to lose that edge, but in that case, the full list of possible 2028 contenders would reveal itself.

If a Biden incident took place after the primaries, then Harris would be President and head of the DNC. Therefore, she’d have control of the party apparatus that would select the next nominee. Spoiler: she would ensure she would be selected.

And if Biden’s numbers were to crash in such a way that RFK Jr.’s brand of crank views were to be threatening Biden, then the Democratic establishment would abandon Biden and force a full primary, where Newsom would be one name of a dozen contenders.

The hope for this Newsom possibility entirely comes from a misunderstanding of politics. Newsom, the Governor of California, really wants to be President, and does media accordingly. The problem, as we saw with the persistent rumours Andrew Cuomo would be “swapped in” for Biden in 2020, is that the only constituency for Newsom exists in the press.

If Biden were to decide – or have it decided for him – in October that he cannot run, then a primary would take place as normal. If he were to decide in June 2024, then yes, Biden would be the one with a mechanism to anoint a successor, and there’d be no legal obligation to make it Harris. But why, exactly, would Biden and the DNC make it Gavin?

Newsom’s electoral track record is mediocre at best, under-running Presidential partisanship all three times he’s been on the ballot for Governor. Had he managed to care enough to campaign in 2022, Democratic turnout with minority voters might not have sucked, and Democrats would have the House. If Democrats decided to go outside the Biden-Harris ticket in a crisis, they’d likely want a candidate who’s shown they can outrun before. Gretchen Whitmer, Raphael Warnock, Amy Klobuchar, and others all fit the bill. It wouldn’t be Newsom.

But again, this is all a giant hypothetical. In this reality, Newsom is already out campaigning for Biden. When asked if he had interest in challenging Biden in a primary, he said, “Not on God’s green earth.”

2024 Election Odds: Bet Joe Biden To Be Democratic Nominee … because Duh

Biden has managed to essentially clear the primary field – he’s running against a crank pseudo-science alt-health activist, and the other choice near the top of the odds board is not even running. He will not lose this primary on its own merits. The only way he doesn’t end up the nominee is health.

If you’re that concerned by the risks, Kamala Harris at $0.06 (+1567) cents is a fine hedge, but Joe Biden at $0.66 on PredictIt and -280 on DraftKings Sportsbook are ludicrous prices.

It suffers from a complete and utter misunderstanding of modern politics and what actual voters think. A lot of people poisoned by overly online discourse have talked themselves into Biden being vulnerable, just like they talked themselves into a red wave being imminent in the fall. They were wrong then, and wrong now.

Bet Biden accordingly. Sometimes there is still value in betting a favorite.