The field for the Democratic nomination ahead of next year’s US Presidential Election has taken on Grand National proportions. There are currently 24 candidates in the race, and preparations for the first Democratic debate on June 26th have had to include a cut-off, with only 20 allowed to take part.
So far, the Democratic nomination narrative has been dominated by Joe Biden. The former Vice President, who opted not to run in 2016 following the death of his son, has impressive name recognition, considerable experience in Washington, and roots in a solidly blue-collar region of the north-east, which could help the Democrats to win back working-class Trump supporters.
But Biden, like Hillary Clinton, comes with a certain amount of baggage, and some of his previous positions, most notably on Iraq, abortion and climate change have not endeared him to many Democrats, particularly younger activists. His tendency to make gaffes and his over-friendly approach to women in public are also a concern for many in the Democratic party who fear that the 76-year old Biden might not offer enough of a contrast to the current President.
Those fears have combined with what has so far been a lacklustre campaign to cause a drop in his poll numbers and a consequent drift in his odds in the Democratic Nomination market. After announcing his candidacy, at the end of April, Biden’s rolling average poll numbers climbed from 29 to 41 percent by May 9, but have been falling ever since and by June 6, he was down on 33.5.
That trend has now also filtered through into his election odds. While he is still as short as 2/1 and 9/4 in places, one UK bookmaker has moved him out to 7/2 in the Democratic Nomination market and his price also appears to be drifting on the betting exchanges.
He still has a significant lead over Bernie Sanders (11/2), Kamala Harris (6/1), Pete Buttigieg (7/1) and Elizabeth Warren (14/1) but all four have been more successful at earning positive media coverage over the last few weeks, particularly Warren. In what looks like being the most competitive Democratic Primary in many decades, a Biden victory is no sure thing.