South Carolina Primary: Biden poised to unite the anti-Sanders vote

Former Vice President Joe Biden
Joe Biden has enjoyed a very good week

It's another big night in the US Election, with the South Carolina Primary. Paul Krishnamurty expects Joe Biden to win easily and set up a dual for the nomination...

"Every primary so far has involved tactical voting among moderates - for example Buttigieg was best-placed to thrive in IA and NH. Now, however, neither Mayor Pete or Klobuchar seem viable."

This year is the third time that Joe Biden has run for the presidency. If the signals on Betfair for tonight's South Carolina Primary are correct, he is about to finally win a race.

Biden expected to land big win in SC

The fourth primary towards the Democratic Nomination has been an extraordinary betting heat already. Biden was matched down to 2/131.15 early but ceded favouritism following heavy defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire. Yet after a transformative week, he's back down to 1/101.1 - equivalent to a 90% chance.

The polls certainly point that way. The RealClearPolitics average lead is 12.5%, with five of the last nine showing Biden 15% or more ahead. I reckon the bigger margins are right, factoring in the momentum of recent days. Fivethirtyeight give him a 95% chance of victory.

Evidently, the former VP was boosted by his midweek debate performance. As explained beforehand, I backed him at 15.5 for the nomination in expectation of this endorsement from James Clyburn.

What I didn't expect was for Biden to be transformed on that debate stage. Everybody thought he won. In previous debates, I doubt he's made the top-three. It was the first time I regarded him as outperforming 'moderate' rivals Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.

Tactical voting now liable to help Biden

Tuesday's debate seems to have had a profound effect on the race which, within a few days, may become a dual. Every primary so far has involved tactical voting among moderates - for example Buttigieg was best-placed to thrive in IA and NH.

Now, however, neither Mayor Pete or Klobuchar seem viable. They will both be thrashed on Super Tuesday by Sanders and, at least in the Southern states with large black electorates, by Biden too. They will soon run out of money soon and endorse Biden.

Critically, Michael Bloomberg may have peaked. His second debate was better than his first, but still pretty grim. He isn't a natural Democrat and it shows.

Reportedly, Bloomberg hasn't committed to a massive ad-spend after Super Tuesday. Again, expect him to back Biden.

Sanders looks very strong for Super Tuesday

Sanders, nevertheless, remains a firm favourite. Nomination polls have him 11% up on average and big wins in California and Texas are expected on Super Tuesday. He seems certain to build a large delegate lead that will take a great deal to overturn.

Plus as we may see tonight, Sanders has a helper - Donald Trump. The President and his social media machine have made no secret of their preference for Sanders and some supporters are registering as Democrats to vote for him tonight. Whilst surely a fringe phenomenon, this will happen in many states and could have a critical impact in close races.

So what is the next move? Bloomberg's presence (not to mention several no-hopers like Hillary Clinton) means the Democrat Nomination is definitely a backers market. Sanders is considerably overpriced at 21/202.04. Rather than cash in the earlier Biden bet for a profit, I've covered by backing the favourite.


Follow Paul on Twitter and check out his website, Political Gambler.


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