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Betting Strategy

Election 2020: The final stretch

We're almost there... But as the year 2020 has proven, little in this world seems assured anymore these days. While November 3 usually sees an election called, a concession given, and an amicable departure from the bad blood of campaign politics, this year it may not mark the finish line. Still, you may want to get your bets in while you can.

For this election, Cloudbet is tracking price movements closely as part of its comprehensive politics offering that allows customers to bet on the election winner and state-by-state results by party. Anyone looking to bet with bitcoin on the US presidential election should check out our electoral college map, which gives users an instant representation of which party is likely to win, based on the real-time odds presented for each state.

Opening an account has never been easier - all you need is a credit or debit card - or Apple pay to get started. Make Cloudbet your one-stop-shop for coverage and bitcoin betting on the US presidential election.

Get your bets in before it's too late.

The final stretch

Election Day is right around the corner. Is the tension palpable? That probably depends on who you support, where you live - who you may have backed to win - and what information you’re digesting.

While little is certain, despite what the headline polls may suggest, the weird and wonderful permutations of the Electoral College system - which requires a 270 vote majority to secure election - means the result is unlikely to unfold in as straightforward a manner as topline national polls suggest.

FiveThirtyEight’s national poll puts Biden at 52.0% and Trump at 43.5% - an 8.5 point margin. RealClearPolitics gives the national polling view at 51.1% Biden; 43.9% Trump - a 7.2 point gap.

So Joe Biden’s lead looks comfortable. So did Hilary’s in 2016.

And we know the Electoral College vote can be won without the majority of the popular vote.

So far in the Cloudbet Blog’s coverage we have cited polling numbers, especially those state by state, from FiveThirtyEight in the belief that the methodology applied in its aggregation and weighting of national and local polls can provide as accurate a view as any polling option.

Using FiveThirtyEight numbers, Trump is polling within striking distance of Joe Biden in Florida (48.8% Biden; 46.6% Trump), North Carolina (48.7% / 46.8%) and Arizona (48.8% / 45.8%) - three of the Sunshine Belt states that Trump won in 2016 (the other two being Georgia and Texas).

Politico has mooted the notion that if Trump can carry the Sunshine Belt states again, and somehow take down Pennsylvania, he “could well hold the White House for four more years”.

Senior Trump campaign advisor Jason Miller told ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in no uncertain terms his thoughts on the Sunshine Belt states: “I said I believe that we’re going to win all of them.”

And according to the latest data from betting markets, he may well be right: although North Carolina and Arizona are poised on a knife’s edge, Florida has moved into the Red camp (albeit just), Georgia looks a little more comfortable, and Texas looks to be the most comfortable of the lot.

So what then of Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is now the “least Blue” of all the Blue states, according to Cloudbet data - moving away slightly from its Rust Belt neighbours, Michigan and Wisconsin in their support for the Biden camp.

It’s certainly an interesting shift to note… but is it enough to be a harbinger of things to come?

The polls still give Biden a fairly healthy 5.1 point lead (50.2% Biden / 45.1% Trump).

As Election Day draws near, as early voting numbers and voter turnout looks set to smash existing records, and as each candidate calls his supporters to arms, Pennsylvania will be the focus on Tuesday - the battleground on which this election may well be won or lost.

The outright winner market

At Cloudbet, our position on the election and its outcome is neutral and impartial.

At the time of writing, odds on Biden to win have narrowed back in a little to 1.49 from 1.57 when we last posted ahead of the final debate in Nashville - which puts his implied chance of victory at 67.1% (from 63.7%).

President Trump’s odds are currently 2.66 - having widened back out from 2.52 - putting his implied chance of victory at 37.6% (from 39.7%).

(Remember, these total more than 100% because the surplus reflects the bookmaker’s margin embedded in their odds.)

Of course, it’s important to recognise that the odds are fluid, so please ensure you check Cloudbet for the latest iteration.

As we’ve seen throughout the campaign, in many cases the polls suggest the race is much tighter than the numbers in our Electoral College map suggest. While polls capture a snapshot of opinion, there are numerous factors that go into how a bookmaker sets its odds on a political event such as this. They are numerous and many, and ultimately, it’s far from a precise science.

A headline-grabbing annualised 33% jump in GDP has given President Trump something to shout about (regardless of the underlying details; the economy is 3.5% below where it was at end-2019) - and this may be extremely fortuitous timing.

Timestamp

Biden

Trump

Pre-First debate (Sep 29)

1.74

2.14

Post-First debate (Oct 30)

1.64

2.32

Pre-VP debate (Oct 7)

1.52

2.61

Pre-Second debate (cancelled; Oct 12)

1.47

2.86

Pre-Third debate (Oct 19)

1.68

2.25

Pre-Third debate (Oct 20)

1.52

2.65

Pre-Third debate (Oct 21)

1.56

2.53

October 29

1.50

2.63

November 2

1.49

2.66

Turning to the states

Florida - the Reddest it’s been

The Sunshine State has since the beginning of our coverage kept us on our toes.

Florida is now the Reddest it’s ever been.

Starting off marginally Blue, that position then consolidated itself before a week later lurching Red (October 20), only to narrow back almost immediately towards undecided territory, then sitting on a knife’s edge (October 21). Since our last update the state has moved further into the Red - to a 54.8% probability on October 29 and to a 59.5% probability today that the President will take the 29 EC votes.

That has shifted our Electoral College seat prediction to 276-233 Biden-Trump. Remember that 270 is the all-important majority number needed.

Florida

Cloudbet implied probability of win

Democrats

Republican

October 7

51.6%

48.4%

Knife-edge - Blue

October 12

56.7%

43.3%

Consolidates Blue

October 19

44.0%

56.0%

Lurches Red

October 20

47.5%

52.5%

Narrows back

October 21

49.3%

50.7%

Knife-edge - Red

October 29

45.2%

54.8%

Moves Redder

November 2

40.6%

59.5%

Reddest yet

Comparing October 12 to November 2, that’s an over-16% shift in the betting market probability.

North Carolina - the closest it’s been

North Carolina’s 15 EC votes also remain up for grabs

Although according to Cloudbet markets the state has remained Blue-leaning throughout, the extent of that conviction has moved within a tight range.

On October 7, the state was most precariously balanced, at a 50.9% Biden / 49.1% Trump probability split. The widest the gap ever got was on October 21, at 53.9% Biden / 46.1% Trump.

The latest numbers show that Carolina is now the closest it’s ever been, at 50.2% Biden / 49.8% Trump.

The winning party market at the time of writing is 1.94 Democrat, 1.81 Republican - and it’s showing up in undecided grey on our Electoral College map.

North Carolina

Cloudbet implied probability of win

Democrats

Republican

October 7

50.9%

49.1%

October 12

53.1%

46.9%

October 19

53.2%

46.8%

October 20

51.3%

48.7%

October 21

53.9%

46.1%

October 29

52.8%

47.2%

November 2

50.2%

49.8%

Arizona wavering - Biden slides

In Arizona, identified earlier as a potential swing state, Biden’s probability of taking the state has been on the slide, slowly eroding over our coverage period.

Although Blue from the start (October 7) the trend is clear looking at the table below.

On October 20, Cloudbet markets slipped into undecided territory (of 5% either way) - albeit only briefly - but today, Arizona’s 11 votes look decidedly undecided.

Arizona

Cloudbet implied probability of win

Democrats

Republican

October 7

59.2%

40.8%

October 12

59.2%

40.8%

October 19

59.0%

41.0%

October 20

55.0%

45.0%

October 21

57.0%

43.0%

October 29

56.5%

43.5%

November 2

53.2%

46.8%

Pennsylvania decouples(ish) from Michigan and Wisconsin

The Rust Belt states are bracketed together for good reason - with a collective 46 EC seats, all are must-win states - a message driven home by Hilary Clinton’s failure to secure them in 2016.

Outside of Florida, Pennsylvania, with it’s 20 EC seats is the most important battleground. It is no surprise that the Trump machine has been in overdrive in Joe Biden’s home state, and on Saturday alone the president headlined four different rallies there

And according to Cloudbet’s markets this may well be paying dividends because a strange thing has happened…

It looks like Pennsylvania may have decoupled a little from Michigan and Wisconsin. Not so far as to say it’s turned Red, but levels of support for Biden have fallen substantially - off 10% from just a fortnight ago.

Biden told reporters last week that he hopes to carry the state “by the grace of God”.

Relying on acts of Providence may yet prove to be a risky strategy.

Pennsylvania

Michigan

Wisconsin

Probability of win

Dem

Rep

Dem

Rep

Dem

Rep

Oct 7

69%

31%

74%

26%

71%

29%

Oct 12

71%

29%

78%

22%

73%

27%

Oct 19

72%

28%

73%

27%

72%

28%

Oct 20

71%

29%

72%

28%

67%

33%

Oct 21

73%

27%

67%

23%

74%

26%

Oct 29

63%

37%

73%

27%

73%

27%

Nov 2

62%

38%

73%

27%

74%

26%

Pennsylvania (20 EC votes) has generally hovered near, or over, a 70% probability of going Blue - but from a print of 73% on October 21 this has fallen dramatically, now down 11% at 62%.

The FiveThirtyEight poll shows Biden with a relatively healthy 5.1 point lead (50.2% / 45.1%), but the Keystone State is undoubtedly where both campaigns are now focussed. 

At the top of this piece we asked if the tension was palpable. 

Uncertainty has a habit of tightening the chest. 

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