Voting finally starts today in the Democratic Primary for the next US Presidential Candidate. I have been tracking this for over a year and there have been many false dawns and a few shock dropouts. There have been some significant changes since my last update in December.
I have always included the top seven candidates but unless Amy Klobuchar pulls off a huge shock in Iowa tonight, I think we are down to five genuine contenders. It is important to note that you must hit 15% of vote to get ant delegates whatsoever, so there is a chance that a high-profile candidate may withdraw if they fail to do so tonight.
We will learn a lot tonight about the relative strength of four of these five, Michael Bloomberg is the exception as he has decided not to campaign in the first four states.
The markets now have Bernie Sanders as the favourite ae he has enjoyed an incredible start to 2020 in polling terms. However, it becomes much more difficult for him after the first three states and I still believe Joe Biden should be the frontrunner.
I just want to highlight that I have always ranked the candidates by their implied probability from their betting odds, but again I have excluded Hillary Clinton (who is currently wedged between Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang) as she is not currently running.
This may be the last time I write an update in this format but I will decide that during the week as I hope to have another write up before the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, February 11th. Polling from Realclear and probablity from Betfair Exchange.
Amy Klobuchar (Implied Probability: 1.3% / -1.5% (National Polling: 3% - 7%) (Iowa Polling: 6% - 11%)
Klobuchar probably needs to break 15% tonight to remain competitive and stay in the race. Unfortunately for her, it doesn’t look likely now, and I think she may withdraw after tonight or after New Hampshire next Tuesday. She has had some moments during the race but never lived up to the hype and I think she will now look to throw her wight in behind a different moderate candidate.
Andrew Yang (Implied Probability: 2.1% / -1.0% (National Polling: 3% - 8%) (Iowa Polling: 3% - 5%)
This is my exact same update from last time:
He has hardly moved in polling or probability, but he has stuck in there, outpolling supposedly more serious candidates like Cory Booker and Tulsi Gabbard. I really can’t see him winning at this stage, but I am very, very curious as to where his eventual endorsement will go.
Pete Buttigieg (Implied Probability: 2.5% / -8.1% (National Polling: 6% - 7%) (Iowa Polling: 15% - 18%)
Buttigieg has dropped in both Iowa and New Hampshire polling since the last update in December. In December, I wrote that he didn’t have the national numbers to be a top tier candidate and would need to win at least one of Iowa or New Hampshire to gather the momentum required to win. That look less likely now he could even withdraw after New Hampshire if he fails to hit 15% in either of the first two.
Elizabeth Warren (Implied Probability: 6.1% / -10.0% (National Polling: 13% - 20%) (Iowa Polling: 13% - 21%)
Warren has continued to decline over the last month which leaves her quite far from the dizzy heights of early October. Her national and Iowa ranges are very competitive, and she can still win but it is looking less likely as she is clearly second to Bernie Sanders among the progressive membership of the Party. I do expect her to stay deep into the race though and some are suggesting she could ultimately be the compromise candidate.
Michael Bloomberg (Implied Probability: 14.3% / +4.8% (National Polling: 4% - 12%) (Iowa Polling: 0% - 1%)
It is very difficult to assess Bloomberg’s chances as we will get very little indication of his electability over the next few weeks until Super Tuesday on March 3rd. Bloomberg has unlimited funds, is aggressive in criticising Trump and has a wow factor from being a “real” successful, billionaire entrepreneur. He is much sharper than Joe Biden and the DNC may unite behind him if Biden falters. They have already changed debate rules that benefit him moving forward, coincidentally after he gave them the maximum permissible donation…
Joe Biden (Implied Probability: 29.0% / -2.7% (National Polling: 26% - 30%) (Iowa Polling: 15% - 25%)
The biggest threat to Biden is that one candidate wins both Iowa and New Hampshire and then he goes into the Caucus (February 22nd) and the South Carolina Primary (February 29th) trailing. When I last wrote in December, this looked unlikely, but now that Bernie Sanders has pulled ahead in both states, he looks under more pressure. An Iowa win and I believe he is the overwhelming favourite. A failure to win in any the first three and much of his support and many of his allies may evaporate…
Bernie Sanders (Implied Probability: 37.6% / +21.5% (National Polling: 19% - 27%) (Iowa Polling: 19% - 28%)
Sanders is now the bookies’ favourite but I believe he is being overestimated *if* and *until* he wins Iowa, which is basically neck and neck as things stand between him and Biden, with Warren and Buttigieg not too far behind.
He has the momentum, the movement and the people on the ground to win the nomination but he needs to use all three of these vital ingredients to win States now. If he fails to do, his campaign could still fizzle out to Biden or Bloomberg in the centre or get overtaken by Warren on the Left…