On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry on US President Donald Trump.
The impeachment inquiry is in response to a whistleblower complaint against Trump regarding a July 25 phone call he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelendsky. You can read more about that here.
Making matters worse for Trump, The Washington Post reported that his Chief of Staff was ordered to withhold military aid to Ukraine potentially as a “quid pro quo” for damaging information on Biden.
This article isn’t to analyze if Trump is guilty of any whistleblower allegations. Instead, this is to examine how these allegations and the impeachment inquiry is impacting 2020 Presidential election odds.
Has the impeachment inquiry impacted Trump’s re-election odds?
Amazingly, the impeachment inquiry has had a negligible short-term impact on Trump’s re-election odds. At worst he’s moved from even-money to +110/+120. He’s still the clear betting favorite.
Don’t expect that to change in the immediate future. Disregarding the early honeymoon period from his first months in office, Trump’s disapproval rating is approaching all-time lows. Consequently, his approval ratings are peaking at all-time highs right now.
This is due to a few factors:
- His base is rallying around him again as they believe he’s facing unfair “fake news” attacks.
- The economy is still humming more or less.
- Republicans general dislike of Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic establishment is working to rally support around the President.
Partisans gonna partisan.
Has the whiff of impropriety against Joe Biden hurt his odds?
Joe Biden’s betting odds have remained fairly consistent from the summer into the fall. He’s been around +500 to +600 for months.
What is hurting Biden more than anything is that Senator Elizabeth Warren has emerged as the polling and oddsmaker’s Democratic front-runner.
Elizabeth Warren now Democratic betting favorite
Warren has seen her odds go from +800 to as low as +275 in just three months. Why is that?
- While Biden still holds a 10-ish point lead in aggregated national polls, Warren has overtaken him in some. She has the momentum. She’s the only candidate not in single digits who is seeing a meaningful surge.
- Warren leads by double-digits in New Hampshire and by 2% in Iowa. If that were to hold and she wins primaries in those two states, she’ll almost assuredly start rolling towards the Democratic nomination.
- Warren’s message that the economic system is rigged against the working class is polling very well, particularly in the Midwest. You know, those Midwest states like Wisconsin and Michigan that swung the election to Trump in 2016.
The one factor most holding Warren back is she’s still trailing in the endorsement battle to Biden, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker.
Harris, in particular, has suffered from Warren’s surge. She’s free fallen from +450 in July to around +2500 now. Whether it’s because of some recent poor debate performances or just that Warren’s message is resonating, Harris’ dark-horse potential has come up limp barely after leaving the gate. Warren has benefited from it the most.
Mike Pence is emerging as a longshot option
As the whistleblower story starting getting legs, Mike Pence’s name began showing up in futures markets. Depending on the site, you can find him priced at +4000 to +6000.
There could be a lot of value in Pence at those odds.
If the impeachment inquiry leads to Trump’s removal from office — or forces his hand to leave — Pence is the most likely replacement on the Republican ticket.
He’s already the Veep. He has the second-most name recognition of any viable candidate (more on that in a minute). He’s from a Midwestern state and can help secure those critical votes. Also, he’ll have Republican establishment support.
This part is huge.
Despite gaffes and scandals that would’ve brought down literally every single President before him, the major reason for Trump’s continued party support is that the true ruling class, from the McConnell’s to the Koch’s, are pushing their agenda without any real obstacles or impediments from the Donald.
Pence is as milquetoast as they come. He’ll have the key power player’s support.
Look for Mitt Romney odds in the near future
That other viable Republican candidate with name recognition I just mentioned? That would be Mitt Romney.
Romney lost the 2012 Presidential election to Barack Obama in part because he didn’t carry three states that Trump did: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. So that’s a problem.
However, if Trump leaves office due to impeachment proceedings, Romney has some gravitas as an outspoken anti-Trumper from 2016. He could be viewed as less toxic to the party. Expect to see his name listed in betting markets if the whistleblower scandal continues the next few weeks and months.