Former Vice President Joe Biden is back in the lead for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination according to betting sites and Las Vegas oddsmakers tracking the Democratic primary.
Biden has been trailing Sanders since mid-January, according to RealClearPolitics, which tracks averages from six of the top betting sites on the web — Vbet, Bovada, Betfair, Unitbet, SMarkets, and BetVictor — but is now clearly in the lead across the board, besting Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) by an average of five points.
The former Veep has never had a significant lead among Vegas oddsmakers, who, initially, preferred Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for the nod, giving her a near-ten point edge over Biden starting last summer. Warren, though, fell off the radar sometime in November, after failing to give a comprehensive, reassuring answer on how she planned to pay for her new, expansive government welfare programs, including a “Medicare for All” universal health care system and an across-the-board student loan forgiveness program.
Sanders has been on slow rise since late October, and took over first place from the lagging Biden in mid-January, just before Sanders locked in a victory in the Iowa caucuses. By February 23rd, just one day after the Nevada caucuses, which Sanders won by a nearly two-to-one margin, the Vermont socialist had opened up a 30-point lead among oddsmakers calculating the outcome of the nomination contest.
That all changed this week, according to RCP. Biden’s odds jumped 40 points in just the last three days, from a 9% chance of winning the nod to a 49% chance.
Sanders is down but not out, according to progressives, who still believe the Vermont socialist, who leads the delegate count by 8, will expand that margin on Super Tuesday. The Washington Examiner reports that members of the House Progressive Caucus say Sanders plans to stay in the race until the end, and make a firm case for the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in July, even if he doesn’t win a majority of available delegates.
“I’m very confident that Bernie is in a good place. Ultimately, it’s the voters that matter, and our movement is growing. I think we’re gonna have an outstanding Super Tuesday,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) told the outlet. “We’re gonna be in the lead after Super Tuesday. So our focus is on building our coalition. We’re not focused on what other candidates do or don’t do.”
Biden likely gave progressives pause, though, on Monday, when he told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he plans to formally contest the nomination at the DNC “if Sanders leads in the delegate count but does not have at least 1,991 pledged delegates, a number that constitutes a majority,” according to Vox.
‘The rules have been set,” Biden told CNN. “You don’t change the rules in the middle of the game.”
That directly contradicted Sanders’ opinion of the situation, which he made clear in a debate last week: “If I or anybody else goes into the Democratic convention with a substantial plurality, I believe that individual, me or anyone else, should be the candidate of the Democratic Party.”