Swing-State Odds: Democrats See Bump in Arizona, Wisconsin
The 2020 Presidential Election is just six months away, and betting odds are starting to paint a picture of the critical swing states that will decide the winner of the electoral college.
President Donald Trump was able to flip four states in the 2016 election that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 – Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All but Florida are expected to flip back to blue in 2020, but the odds show they’re still way too close to call.
Of the 16 key swing states for 2020, Democrats and presumptive nominee Joe Biden are favored in 10 of them. Trump is holding strong in the remaining six, though he’ll need to flip at least one or two again in order to win a second term in office.
2020 Swing States Favoring Democrats
|Wisconsin*||Democrats (-167)||Republicans (+120)|
|Pennsylvania*||Democrats (-177)||Republicans (+125)|
|Arizona*||Democrats (-182)||Republicans (+130)|
|Michigan*||Democrats (-250)||Republicans (+175)|
|New Hampshire||Democrats (-230)||Republicans (+160)|
|Minnesota||Democrats (-335)||Republicans (+220)|
|Maine||Democrats (-455)||Republicans (+275)|
|Nevada||Democrats (-455)||Republicans (+275)|
|Virginia||Democrats (-670)||Republicans (+350)|
|Colorado||Democrats (-835)||Republicans (+450)|
2020 Swing States Favoring Republicans
|Florida||Republicans (-139)||Democrats (+100)|
|North Carolina||Republicans (-155)||Democrats (+110)|
|Ohio||Republicans (-230)||Democrats (+160)|
|Iowa||Republicans (-305)||Democrats (+200)|
|Georgia||Republicans (-305)||Democrats (+200)|
|Texas||Republicans (-400)||Democrats (+250)|
Odds updated May 28
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Latest Swing-State Developments
Arizona hasn’t voted Democrat in nearly 25 years, last going blue for Bill Clinton’s second term in 1996. But that was an anomaly as he was the first Democratic candidate to carry the state since Harry S. Truman in 1948.
That’s why it might be surprising to see Democrats with a sizable lead in terms of betting odds. The party opened as a -134 favorite and has only continued to improve, climbing up to -182. The Republican Party is a +130 underdog.
Recent polls show Biden leading by as many as nine points with six months to go. The Latino population has more than tripled in Arizona since 1990 and pundits have predicted changing political tides in the state for years.
Arizona also looks to have one of the most competitive 2020 U.S. Senate races anywhere, with Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly challenging Sen. Martha McSally for her seat. McSally lost a 2018 general election but was later appointed after John McCain’s death. Kelly raised $11 million in the first quarter of 2020, doubling McSally’s total, and holds a sizeable lead in current polls.
An upset win here would be huge for Biden, giving him some wiggle room in the aforementioned blue wall states. He could lose one of the three – Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin – and still have a clear path to victory with a win in Arizona.
Made in the Midwest
Democrats also see increasingly promising odds in two crucial Midwest states – Michigan and Wisconsin.
Democrats are now -250 to win Michigan after opening at -200. They’re also a -167 favorite in Wisconsin after opening at -125. Trump won both states by narrow margins in 2016, but the Republicans are +175 in Michigan and +120 in Wisconsin for 2020.
Wisconsin saw Democratic judicial candidate Jill Karofsky deliver a stunning upset over incumbent Republican Justice Daniel Kelly in the April primary. This after the Republican-controlled state supreme court ruled against an extension for mail-in ballots due to coronavirus concerns on the eve of the primary. The bold move backfired, and Karofsky’s victory suggests Biden has a chance to flip the Badger State back again in 2020.
Michigan has been engrossed in heavy debate over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus prevention mandates, which some saw as an overreach. She has also gone back-and-forth with Trump over Twitter, particularly regarding hospital equipment and the national stockpile. Heavily-armed protestors – many of whom show support for Trump with hats, signs or car decals – received a lot of attention in recent weeks.
Betting odds suggest this isn’t an accurate reflection of Michigan’s political leanings. Democrats are a heavy favorite and the latest poll shows Biden leading Trump by eight points, 50% to 42%.
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While Trump has entrenched himself in several key swing states, his odds haven’t improved in any of them over the past several weeks. Most have gone down with the nationwide coronavirus death toll surpassing 75,000 and unemployment rates continuing to reach levels not seen since the Great Depression.
Since swing state betting odds first came on the board, Trump dropped from -250 to -230 in Ohio, -335 to -305 in Georgia and -500 to -400 in Texas.
But the biggest overall drop came in Iowa. Trump opened as a -560 favorite and saw his odds nearly cut in half, down to a current line of -305.
Democrats were able to flip two Iowa house seats in 2018 after Trump carried the state in the 2016 election. And while polls showed Trump with a double-digit lead in Iowa in March, the most recent one shows him ahead of Biden by just two points. These are absolute must-haves for Trump, and he’s still an overwhelming favorite in most of the six. But recent declines reflect a troubling trend as the numbers favor Biden in several of the most important states.
Top image via USA Today