2024 Election Odds: Amidst Donald Trump Trial, Is America Ridin’ With Biden?

Written By Evan Scrimshaw | Last Updated
Election odds Biden Trump President Presidential spread

With Joe Biden’s post-State Of The Union polling momentum starting to get murkier, the race for the White House is as complex as ever. With state polls getting seemingly better for Biden and national polls going the other way, there’s some real uncertainty in the race. Movement in 2024 election odds have illustrated this uncertainty.

With the former President and current GOP nominee on trial, the state of 2024 odds to be the next President is fascinating. With so many contradicting facts, where’s the race heading?

2024 Election Odds

CandidatePresidential Election OddsImplied %
Joe Biden-10451%
Donald Trump+11746%
Robert Kennedy Jr.+19005%
Gavin Newsom+19005%
Kamala Harris+32333%
Nikki Haley+99001%
Pete Buttigieg +99001%
Ron DeSantis+99001%

Election Odds Infographic

ZOOM: MARKET:

NAME ODDS PROBABILITY
Donald Trump +100 50%
Joe Biden +113 47%
Gavin Newsom +1900 5%
Robert Kennedy Jr. +2400 4%
Kamala Harris +3233 3%
Nikki Haley +9900 1%
Pete Buttigieg +9900 1%
Ron DeSantis +9900 1%
Tim Scott +9900 1%
Vivek Ramaswamy +9900 1%

Implied probabilities are calculated using data offered by PredictIt.
Last Updated: 2024-05-18 03:00:02 PDT.

Trump climbed in the odds over the fall and winter as his lead in the GOP primary became insurmountable. At the same time as the peak of concerns about Biden’s age and media speculation about a replacement, the odds saw Trump take the lead for a while.

Now that Biden’s polls have recovered, the odds have reverted to an incredibly tight race where Biden is favored.

Polls

Sunday was another example of the absurd position the data is showing this election cycle.

CNN’s latest national poll showed Trump winning by six percent, a 10% swing since 2020. This would represent the biggest GOP win since 1988. CBS, however, dropped state polls of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin showing Biden within one or leading in all three states. It’s safe to say these data points can’t be true at the same time.

FOX’s most recent set of state polls shows similar results to the ones CBS put out Sunday, with Biden tied or within three in states that add up to 270 Electoral College votes.

There’s scant recent polling out of Arizona, but a state Supreme Court ruling imposing a total abortion ban first passed in 1864 has Republicans worried. And yet, there are plenty of concerning signs for Biden, too.

Quinnipiac, often Biden’s best national pollster, showed a tied race last week after Biden was up three previously in their polling. CNN’s Trump +6 is a real concern for those supporting Biden. And it does seem like Biden’s improvement in national polling has stalled in aggregate. But, of course, it’s only the end of April.

Trump’s Court Challenges

Trump’s court case in New York has led to a refocusing on Trump. The thing about an election where both candidates are significantly more disliked than they are liked is that seeing more of either candidate generally does more damage than good. Trump’s rise in the polls in the fall coincided with his least covered stretch since 2015.

Cable news shows stopped airing his speeches except on Primary nights. Trump doesn’t give interviews to any news outlet that isn’t sycophantically pro-Trump. And for months, he was a sideshow as Israel-Gaza and the Biden Admin’s response led the news day after day, week after week.

Suddenly, Trump’s back in the spotlight.

It’s also the case that Trump’s message has been entirely inwardly focused. Instead of talking about immigration or the border or any issue that helps the GOP, he’s only talking about his own self-created persecution myth.

Throw in the costs of his Supreme Court appeal on Presidential immunity and the Miami classified documents trials, Trump is spending millions of campaign dollars on legal fees every month. Biden, on the other hand? He gets to spend his (already more vast) resources on contacting voters and advertising.

Prospects

At the end of the day, there’s a reason to think the swing state polls are more meaningful in handicapping 2024 election odds. National polls, famously unreliable in 2016 and 2020, could be overcorrecting. Fox was remarkably good in 2022, suggesting they may have fixed their issues from 2020. And CBS uses YouGov, who I’d say are the best pollsters on the planet. Does this conclusion match my preference?

Yes. But it’s also logical.

Biden’s campaign has been blitzing the swing states with ads while Donald Trump’s been off the airwaves. It’s easier to accept a polling trend when there’s a reason for it. The one-sided spending onslaught is sound logic for why Biden’s swing state polling has improved.

At the end of the day, Donald Trump obviously can win. Those who have written his political obituary prematurely have almost always been wrong. I’ve been guilty of writing hope masquerading as analysis before. He can win. If the election were today, he probably would. But it’s not.

The Biden campaign has the airwaves to themselves; Trump’s stuck in New York on trial and unable to campaign, his various legal defenses are bleeding his funding dry, and the economy is a tailwind to Biden. 

If we didn’t have any polls to go on, we’d say Biden is going to cruise to re-election. It won’t be easy, but six months is an eternity in politics. Biden’s already getting close to what he needs to win. That’s no guarantee he’ll win, but it’s still Biden … right now.

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