When you want to know who’s going to win the next presidential election, don’t read the mainstream newspapers or tune in to the cable networks. And forget the pollsters — they don’t know diddly. Just check in with the bookies.
“Donald Trump is still favored to win the 2020 Election with -120 average odds,” Sports Betting Dime wrote last week. That means you’d have to bet $120 just to win $100. Them’s some pretty good odds that Trump‘ll repeat.
TheLines.com, another betting site, pointed out what a huge turnaround that is from the 2016 election, when Trump’s odds at the start 500/1 — or +50,000 on betting sites.
“This means that the implied odds gave Trump a 0.2% chance of winning the presidency. So, if you saw Donald Trump listed as 500/1, a moneyline wager of $1 winning would return $500. If you see it priced at +50,000, then a $100 bet would return $50,000 profit,” the site said.
A $2,000 bet on Trump in the early days of the 2016 campaign would’ve made you a millionaire.
But you won’t get such good odds this time around.
“For the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump is the ‘odds-on’ favorite on some sports betting sites, where he’s priced at 1/1 or +100,” the site says.
It’s worth pointing out, too, that the odds aren’t leaning toward America voting to change presidents after one term. The last time that happened was more than 25 years ago when Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush. But even when George W. Bush was exceedingly unpopular in 2004 (at least according to the mainstream media), he was reelected. Of course, it didn’t help that the Democrats put up windsurfer John Kerry.
Other betting shops also say Trump is the odds-on favorite to win in 2020. “Love him or hate him, Donald Trump knows how to rally Republican voters and it has continued to work,” writes OddsShark.com, which puts Trump’s odds at “even” (bet $100, win $100).
“Day after day there is a firestorm of tweets from, and incredulous news reports about, the current president. However, nothing has been major enough to shift Trump from being the top Republican in the land,” the site says. That may be the understatement of the year.
OddsChecker.com also says Trump is still the favorite to win reelection, offering 11/10 odds on the incumbent to win a second term.
But to hear the MSM tell it, Trump’s in a fight for his political life. A bevy of Democratic wannabes — including socialist Sen. Bernard Sanders, former Veep Joseph R. Biden and Sen. Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren — are garnering massive coverage daily. So what do the pollsters say? Lots of the recent surveys claim it’s anybody’s race. And that’s not just the MSM: A Fox News poll released last month showed Trump trailing five Democratic contenders, including Biden by as many as 10 points and Sanders by 9.
But remember, pollsters got it completely wrong in 2016, when Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton was a 99% favorite to win the White House. And every four years, American voters are most concerned about one thing: the economy. When that’s going gangbusters, the incumbent usually gets reelected. At least right now, things couldn’t be much better for Trump.
That’s why you just need to do what Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did during their Watergate reporting: Follow the money, and forget the salacious headlines.
“Donald Trump’s first year and a half in office has been, by virtually any metric, a complete and utter disaster. The POTUS has attacked the intelligence community, undermined relationships with America’s longest-standing allies, endorsed alleged sex predators, and overseen the forcible separation of children from their families,” the Dime wrote.
But then they added this: “Despite his many scathing scandals and controversies, Trump somehow remains the overwhelming favorite to win the next U.S. Presidential election in 2020. The Donald’s current average odds of +110 are 990 points better than his next closest competitor. That isn’t just a gap — it’s yawning chasm — and it could get even wider unless something changes soon.”
At this point, several oddsmakers put Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California as Trump’s closest competitor at +500 — bet $100 for a chance to win $500. Biden comes in at +600, Warren +800 and Sanders at +1000. Not exactly great odds.
But then again, Bovada, another betting house, has a few candidates with some even more astronomical odds. Trump-hating soccer star Megan Rapinoe comes in at +30,000. And at +1,000,000, you’ve got New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, rapper Kanye West, and Ivanka Trump.
So forget the pollsters. Do what WoodStein did: Follow the money.
*Joseph Curl ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2014 and covered the White House for a dozen years. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @JosephCurl. A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.