As US election candidates continue on their campaign trail across the States, former Vice President Joe Biden has become one of the front-runners in the Democrats leadership race.
SBC spoke to Smarkets’ Head of Political Markets Sarbjit Bakhshi, who explained some of the reasons behind Biden’s popularity, and why it could be a very volatile election come November time.
SBC: Biden has surged in popularity to become the next Democrat candidate over recent weeks, what do you think has been the driving force behind this?
Sarbjit Bakhshi: Biden’s breakaway moment was on Super Tuesday. He gained a lot more delegates than was expected, partly because of the endorsement from other candidates who dropped out and also because he was seen as someone who could speak to the majority of voting Americans. Fundamentally, it appears he’s seen as the candidate that can take the presidency from Trump.
SBC: Are punters showing any backing for Trump to ‘make America great again’ with a second term? Or have other candidates such as Biden grasped punter’s attention?
Sarbjit Bakhshi: Biden now leads our market to take the Presidency from Trump at 46% to the President’s 45%, so trading activity on Smarkets clearly implies he has a strong chance. Trump had been the strong favourite on our market from the beginning, but his price has been in decline since Super Tuesday when it finally became clear who the Democrat’s nominee would be.
Biden’s meteoric rise since 3 March culminated in him stealing the top spot in this market for the very first time last Friday, but I do expect that we will see some fascinating volatility and a neck-and-neck race between these two as we approach November.
SBC: With COVID-19 resulting in a blanket cancellation/postponement of sporting events, has there been any uptake in trading on political events?
Sarbjit Bakhshi: We are seeing a really good uptake in trading on political events and have already traded more this year than in 2018 altogether. We are creating lots of new interesting markets at Smarkets, so we should have something for everyone regardless of the sports situation, and indeed we have a number of markets on when sporting competition is likely to resume and what will or will not be cancelled.
SBC: Have any other political markets seen an increase in trading?
Sarbjit Bakhshi: The Democratic VP market is very interesting with three women – Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Stacy Abrams – at the top. Harris leads at 28% to Klobuchar’s 24%, so this is a tight market and seeing a lot of interest from users.