The first 2020 Presidential Election debate takes place between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Ahead in the polls, Biden is also the favorite in 2020 Presidential Election odds markets. Biden is the odds-on favorite going into the debate, priced around -130 at most European books. Trump is typically even-money at +100.
Presidential Election odds
Post-debate presidential odds
Will the markets move if Biden or Trump give a particularly strong or wobbly debate performance?
The likely answer is that the debate won’t impact odds or election results.
Some odds sites are floating lines on a subjective “who will win the debate” market. Those see Biden as a heavy favorite at -275. Trump trails at +200.
However, the first debate set up is in Trump’s favor.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace will moderate. Along with two-minutes of introductory remarks, the debate is divided into six segments of approximately 15 minutes each.
Those segments will cover:
- Trump’s and Biden’s respective records
- The Supreme Court
- The Economy
- Race and violence across American cities
- Integrity issues surrounding the election
The format and topics play to Trump’s strengths. Similar to Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, Biden excels in town hall settings. He’s folksy, has actual empathy, and is conversational in tone.
However, a more formal debate setting where Trump can talk over his opponent and deliver insults will play very well to his base. Trump is very much set up for success on Tuesday.
Will any of it matter?
Trump will likely lose the popular vote again (likely by a greater margin than 2016) but he has a great shot at re-election due to the Electoral College. This is in part due to the Electoral College tilt in the Republicans’ favor.
Also, the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court could boost Trump. A strong, pro-life nominee will activate a base of voters that might’ve been wavering on Trump.
Expect control of the Supreme Court to be a major deciding factor for undecided voters this election.
Trump is trailing in polls and in odds markets just like 2016. And just like in 2016, it may not matter.