Biden debate performance shakes up Polymarket odds

If — and it’s a big if — Biden were to step aside, what would it do to the presidential election odds?


President Joe Biden | photosince/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


Here’s a fun thought experiment. After watching last night’s debate, how much more (or less) likely do you think it is that President Biden drops out of the race?

Turns out there’s a Polymarket for that.

Polymarket is a decentralized prediction market platform operating on the Polygon PoS blockchain, where users can bet on various events by buying and selling shares of different outcomes. The price of each share represents the probability of the event occurring, and users profit if they accurately predict the outcome. When the event concludes, the shares corresponding to the actual outcome are paid out at $1 each, while all other shares become worthless.

The market for “Biden drops out of presidential race?” currently has $7.4 million committed, with 33% favoring “Yes.” That’s up from 19% just a day ago, illustrating what speculators — putting up real money — currently think about the state of the race.

Read more: Polymarket gets backing from Vitalik Buterin, Founders Fund in $70M raise

The Yes camp was briefly as high as 47% earlier in the day. That spike has subsided, but not by much, even as Biden’s advisors were quoted saying he fully intends to stay in the race and debate Trump again in September. 

As of recent polling data, a hypothetical two-way race between Vice President Kamala Harris and Trump shows the former president with about a six point lead nationally.

Yet, Polymarket’s overall odds for Harris being elected now stands at just 4%.

There’s an apparent disconnect here.

Only once in American history has the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, following the primary contests, been replaced. That was in 1968, when Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated after winning the California primary.

Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, who had not actively competed in the primary elections, became the Democratic nominee.

With the 2024 primaries over, the process of selecting a new nominee in the run-up to the August Democratic National Convention would likely involve significant party negotiations and strategic considerations. But Vice President Harris would have to be considered a strong contender, should President Biden release his delegates.

Given the Polymarket odds and polling statistics, the probability of an eventual President Harris should logically be quite a bit higher.

Read more: If elections were settled with memecoins, Biden would win by a landslide

Polymarket odds tend to skew in favor of Trump (presumably due to his pro-crypto politics) compared to national polling, but his current 64% chance on the platform is an outlier.

Rasmussen Reports, which is known to have a historical tendency to skew slightly more Republican compared to other polling organizations, shows Trump leading Biden by nine percentage points, with 49% support for Trump and 40% for Biden.​

Although it’s likely many of these markets are inefficient, the main presidential election market has attracted $193 million in bets, which is certainly nothing to cough at.

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