Wednesday night, the Democratic Party held yet another presidential debate that featured more blows and counterblows, some quite damaging, and a new face on the stage. So as the dust settles, who of the remaining scratching and clawing candidates has the best shot of securing the nomination?
Despite the chaos amid the still-crowded field, the betting world thinks the nomination picture is getting a whole lot more simple. The race, according to oddsmakers, is coming down to two candidates: one a socialist who’s so far left he refuses to put a “D” next to his name and the other a former Republican.
In late November, three Democratic presidential candidates were hovering in the mid- to low-20s in the betting odds: former Vice President Joe Biden (25.3% chance), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (25.3%), and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (21.4%). Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wasn’t too far behind, bettors giving him a 15.9% of taking the nomination. Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a late entry into the race, was way down at 5.3%.
After the Iowa and New Hampshire primary contests, the odds look a lot different now for all of the key players. Former frontrunners Biden and Warren have seen their chances plummet — Biden’s precipitous fall beginning in late January and Warren’s less steep but longer decline starting way back in October.
According to Real Clear Politics’ latest averages of the various betting sites, Biden has collapsed from a high of 37.9% on January 20 to a grim 9.8% as of February 19. Warren peaked on October 13 at a field-burying 53.9% chance of winning the nomination. As of February 19, she’s all the way down at a dismal 3.6% (which is beneath Hillary Clinton, who’s not even in the race but who oddsmakers are saying still has a 4.9% chance of winning).
Buttigieg reached a high of 22.5% on December 7 but has since dipped way down to 5.3%, surged back after Iowa to 16.4%, but has since declined again, currently sitting at 12.6%.
The fortunes of Sanders and Bloomberg have vastly improved in recent weeks. In almost an exact inverse of Biden’s plummet, Bloomberg’s chances have spiked starting in late January. On Feb. 13, oddsmakers gave him a 34.6% chance of winning but have cooled a little on him since. As of Feb. 19, Bloomberg is being given a 25.6% chance, making him the second-favorite by a sizable margin over the third-place Buttigieg.
Sanders, meanwhile, is now by far the leading candidate. Having gotten the second-most votes in Iowa, winning New Hampshire, and leading in key polls in Nevada, the democratic socialist now enjoys a dominating 50% chance of winning the nomination. Most promising for Sanders is that his rise has been a months-long steady improvement that demonstrates a more consistent trend than other candidates’ short-lived spikes.
As Bloomberg’s rise has inversely mirrored Biden’s decline, so has Sanders’ ascension occurred as fellow radical Warren has fallen off. Starting in mid-October, when Warren was at her height, Sanders has steadily climbed from a 6% chance of winning to his current high, while Warren fell from over 53% to under 4%.