Both parties weave the pandemic into narratives to increase their odds come November. However, let us reel back to pre-pandemic 2020, to what we here at Vegas Election Odds dub “the before times.”
The odds favored Trump by considerable margins in February. Which, in retrospect, was an excellent time to double down on Biden. But then again, no one could have predicted the coronavirus (other than the folks who chose to ignore it, of course). In March, the numbers showed that the odds swung dramatically by a difference of over 1000 to favor Biden.
Today, coronavirus dominates the American public’s hearts and minds, and now even our political pundits and institutions feel its presence. President Trump’s diagnosis as well as others’ diagnosis in his constituency shifted lines more toward Biden, and some books erased their props altogether.
Moreover, the structure of American politics changed. Take the drama surrounding the second presidential debate, for example. The Commission on Presidential debates’ decision to make the debates virtual pushes the message that the coronavirus, despite Donald Trump’s tweets, affects nearly every aspect of life.
Even in the vice-presidential debates, this notion was held. The plexiglass separating Senator Harris and Vice-President Pence stood as both a figurative and literal division between two attitudes toward the virus – Trumps and Bidens.
Currently, the Trump campaign and Biden campaign fight over dates and rights to reschedule the second presidential debate. This fight signifies more than whether a second debate occurs but decides which administration can control the coronavirus narrative. Whoever chooses the debate terms means more than who “wins” the debate at this point.
President Trump also flopped on the issue of economic relief, now pushing for a targeted pandemic stimulus package and contradicting earlier statements on halting congressional negotiations until after the election.
The House & Senate should IMMEDIATELY Approve 25 Billion Dollars for Airline Payroll Support, & 135 Billion Dollars for Paycheck Protection Program for Small Business. Both of these will be fully paid for with unused funds from the Cares Act. Have this money. I will sign now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
The President’s behaviors may signal a campaign that struggles to regain its pre-pandemic prominence, while the odds do favor Biden just 25 days before the election.
Where are the political prop bets on who sets the terms of the debates: in-person or virtual? Instead of lines on if the second and third debates happen or not, more fruitful odds lie in which administration backs out of the third debate.
The odds may shift in the President’s favor if he can control how, when, and where the next debates happen or not. Trump campaign’s attempts to push back the debates to just before election day hint at their strategy. Perhaps they hope another last-minute underdog win?
Furthermore, where have the lines gone on whether President Trump accepts the results of the election?
Here are the odds before and after the pandemic.
2020 Presidential Election Odds in February
2020 Presidential Election Odds Today
Joe Biden -190 (-175)
Donald Trump +145 (+160)
Joe Biden -200 (-190)
Donald Trump +170 (+160)
Joe Biden -170 (-)
Donald Trump +140 (+145)
It may seem like a good time to bet against President Trump as the days to the election wind down. In a future article, we will consider the odds in the most hotly contested swing states that pushed the electoral votes to a Trump victory in 2016.