Lots of uncertainty in PredictIt's odds for the 2020 Primaries

A few days ago I made a map of PredictIt.org odds for swing states in the general election, so I decided to do the same with the Democratic state primaries and caucuses. The political betting website PredictIt.org currently sees no clear favorite for the 2020 Democratic nomination. As of November 27, 2019, former Vice President Joe Biden has the highest odds, followed closely by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and then Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. However, there’s a bit of a divergence between the overall nomination odds and the state-by-state odds.

The main divergence is with Pete Buttigieg, who has the second highest odds to win the nomination overall, but is currently only favored in the first state to vote, Iowa. Instead, PredictIt views the state-by-state race as a battle between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Bernie has the highest odds to win the second state to vote, New Hampshire, while Biden is favored in the 3rd and 4th states, Nevada and South Carolina. Biden leads throughout the South and the Mid-Atlantic, while Bernie has strength in the North-East, Midwest, and Western states. Warren is only favored in 3 states in New England, including her home state of Massachusetts as well as Maine and Rhode Island.

Due to the huge number of candidates, the probability of any given candidate winning a state is usually below 50%, and often below 30%. The exceptions are candidates home states, such as Vermont for Sanders, Massachusetts for Warren, and Delaware for Biden. Biden is also favored with above a 50% chance in a few southern states where the Democratic electorate is >50% african-american, including South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Biden’s weakest states are in the West and North-East. He has less than a 10% chance to win Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Vermont. He’s also viewed as weak in larger more liberal states like California and New York. Along with the South, his strength lies in heavily latino states like Nevada and Arizona, as well as Rust Belt states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio.

As mentioned earlier, Buttigieg is only favored in one state, Iowa, despite having the second best overall nomination odds on PredictIt. Outside of Iowa his odds are pretty evenly sprad out, with many states where he has between 10 and 20% chance of winning. The only states where he has above a 20% chance of winning are Alaska, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. The only states where has has less than a 10% chance of winning are South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. These states, as mentioned earlier, have a large african-american population, a group who have been a weak point for Buttigieg. 

Senator Sanders has strength across the North-East, Midwest, and West, but is weak in the South. He has above a 30% chance of winning Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Michigan, and New Hampshire, which were all states he won in the 2016 primary, usually by very large margins. Similar to Buttigieg, his worst states are Biden’s strongest, the Deep South trio of South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. He has a bit higher odds in other southern states, such as Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana, and he has the highest odds of any candidate in Oklahoma, which he won in 2016.

Senator Warrens map is similar to Sanders, with strength in the North-East, Midwest, and West. Like Sanders and Buttigieg, she is weak in the South, although she has a bit more strength in Upper South states like Tennessee and Virginia. The large states of Illinois and New York are within reach for her, with above a 20% chance of winning each of them. 

While these state-by-state probabilities are interesting, it is important to remember that there is still a lot of uncertainty, with most of the odds below 50%. The race could and probably will be reshaped once the first results from Iowa and the other early states come in. I’ll update these maps monthly to see how the 2020 race is developing, next update should be around Christmas.

Author: Millenarian

I make maps and occasionally other stuff too. Email is RatFlatBlog@gmail.com

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