Augur Weekly - Handicapping the DemNom Race After Super Tuesday

A Look at the Week in Political Betting, Augur News, and More

Election Betting Roundup


Wow, what a wild Super Tuesday. We’ve talked a lot here about big swings in the political betting markets and this week was no exception. After this week’s showing, the odds for the Democratic Nomination have flipped to firmly in Biden’s favor.

While Bernie seemed to have the momentum going into Tuesday’s contests, Biden, keyed by a pre-Tuesday victory in South Carolina, swept in and garnered 10 wins in 14 states:

As expected, Biden handily won the southern states, where Sanders’ democratic-socialist rhetoric is not as well-received. But the real surprise was Joe coming in to win key battleground contests in states like Texas, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. PredictIt traders had Bernie as a 1/3 favorite in Massachusetts going into Super Tuesday, while Biden shares would have earned holders 20/1, as late as March 2nd. In Minnesota, A Biden buy on March 1st would have netted 50/1.

Bernie Sanders' odds to win the Democratic Nomination have fallen from 57c/share, as recently as March 1st, to their current mark of 14c/share. Biden, meanwhile, has seen his March 1st odds of 31c/share climb to their current high of 84c/share.

Will this be the last major swing for the Democratic Nomination? It seems more likely, as the delegate math is much more clear and as Super Tuesday and the early primary season have served to narrow the unusually large field to just Biden and Bernie.

And Then There Were Two

Some of your favorite characters from this election cycle dropped like flies this week. Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Mike Bloomberg, and Elizabeth Warren all announced the suspension of their campaigns. All of these candidates, save Warren, immediately endorsed Joe Biden; who will presumably pick up their delegates at the convention.

It was a fun run with this crowded primary cast that produced some interesting debate moments, but we are down to the final matchup for the Democratic Nomination.

Upcoming Primaries

While Super Tuesday served to knock off a large initial chunk of delegate allocation, it is far from the end of the primary season. There are 3,979 pledged delegates in the Democratic contest, and 1,499 will have been allotted after Super Tuesday, with 2,480 remaining.

Biden’s ~80 delegate lead is not insurmountable, Sanders only needs to win a little over 51 percent of remaining pledged delegates to pass Biden. The problem is that the calendar suggests Sanders is in danger of falling hopelessly behind in the next few weeks.

This coming Tuesday marks another large delegate day, as 6 states hold their contests:

Currently, PredictIt has the following prices for these states:

Idaho: Bernie 55c | Biden 46c
Michigan: Bernie 16c | Biden 86c
Mississippi: Bernie 2c | Biden 99c
Missouri: Bernie 10c | Biden 91c
North Dakota: Bernie 36c | Biden 66c
Washington: Bernie 63c | Biden 38c

If these results held true, Biden would pick up another 4 states, furthering his delegate lead. On two more consecutive Tuesdays, March 17th and 24th, another five states will convene. After March 24th, only 36% of delegates will be left for grabs.

Frankly, Sanders needs some surprise victories in the next few weeks to keep himself within striking distance.

Despite the nominal lead, it will still take Biden quite the uphill battle to actually clinch the nomination (assuming Bernie sticks around). He’ll need to win delegates at a ~60% pace to clinch by May, and ~55% to clinch by June.

Contested Convention Watch

It was a fun narrative while it lasted, but alas, along with Bernie’s odds of winning the nomination, the odds of a contested convention have fallen precipitously (from 60c/share to 13c/share) after Super Tuesday’s results.

Had it seemed that Bernie would have a leading delegate share by convention time, I suspect you would have seen the odds for this market continue to trend higher

Alas, it seems the DNC has saved itself from the PR nightmare of hosting a live coup of Bernie Sanders.

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Further Reading, Listening, Watching, and Discussing:

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