Assessing the Odds of Various Democrats Beating Trump


What are the odds of Bloomberg, Biden, Sanders, or Warren becoming president?

I have friends telling me it is "impossible" for Michael Bloomberg to win the Democratic nomination.

That's ridiculous. Let's not confuse "impossible" with "unlikely" because it certainly is possible.

However, blacks strongly prefer Joe Biden, most likely due to Biden's association with Obama. That does not help Bloomberg.

Millennials like Bernie Sanders for reasons that are easily understandable.

And Elizabeth Warren is plunging in the polls for reasons I have discussed. She is a radical leftist Marxist. That helps Sanders more than Bloomberg or Biden.

Difficult to Gauge Support

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to assess precisely what's happening because the polls in the early primary states are hopelessly out of date.

Iowa Caucus Polls

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Iowa Questions

  1. Does Biden have 15% of the vote or 23%?
  2. Is Pete Buttigieg in the lead?

No one can possibly answer those questions. The most recent poll is three weeks old and the second most recent poll is nearly a month old.

Real Clear Politics averages in two more polls that are nearly two months old to conclude Mayor Pete has a two point lead.

It's absurd to portray it that way given how hopelessly out of date the polls are.

The Iowa Caucus is on February 3, less than a month away, but this is all we have to go on.

New Hampshire Primary

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On the strength of a poll on November 26, Bernie Sanders allegedly has a 1.3 percentage point lead in New Hampshire. The most recent poll, which is almost a month old, has Sanders with 15% of the vote, not 26%. That would put him 3 percentage points behind Mayor Pete.

Which is it?

Who the hell knows? No one is who. Yet, media widely reports Sanders has the lead in New Hampshire.

Given reports that money is pouring into Sanders' coffers faster than anyone else, perhaps he is leading. But he could also be in third place, easily.

National Polls

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In sharp contrast to the silliness of projecting leads based on polling data in Iowa and New Hampshire, there are four national polls that concluded no more than a week ago.

Support for Biden is amazingly consistent regardless of pollster. His 4-poll average is 29.75%

Support Ranges

  • Biden's range is 28-32 (4) 14%
  • Sanders' range is 16-21 (5) 31%
  • Bloomberg's range is 3-11 (8) 267%
  • Warren's range is 11-18 (7) 64%
  • Buttigieg's range is 6-8 (2) 33%

The percentage numbers represent the percent deviation between the bottom range number and the top.

Using Biden as an example, 32 is 14% greater than 28.

Since Biden leads in consistency, his numbers are the most likely to be on the mark.

Early Primary State Boost?

Will winning an early primary boost a candidate?

It's hard to assess how much winning helps other than some candidates need an early win to have a chance.

If Mayor Pete does poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, I fail to see how his campaign can realistically recover. Warren, however, might be able to raise enough money to hang on to the end regardless.

In contrast, losing Iowa and New Hampshire might not mean much at all to Biden's chances. After all, he is "expected" to lose on the basis of ridiculously out of date samples.

More importantly, Biden has a cushion of national support while support for Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete have been plunging.

Thus, winning an early primary may not boost Buttigieg, but losing both badly would likely do him in financially.

Bloomberg, worth $57 billion or so, can self-finance a presidential campaign for as long as he desires.

Given Biden's national lead, this is how I roughly see things at the moment.

Nomination Odds

  • Biden 60%
  • Sanders 18%
  • Warren 8%
  • Bloomberg 8%
  • Buttigieg 6%

Feel free to plug in your own numbers. I may be on the high side for Biden but those numbers should at least be in the ballpark.

Understanding Presidential Election Odds

Let's assume you believe Trump has a 50-50 chance of winning the election. Plug in whatever number you want, but I believe his odds are no better than that.

What is the chance of Biden becoming president? This takes two things: winning the nomination, then winning the election.

If we assume Biden has a 60% chance of winning the nomination and a 50% chance of beating Trump, then the odds of Biden becoming president are only 30%.

The odds of Warren, Sanders, Bloomberg or Buttigieg becoming president are tiny. Even combined, the collective total is something like 20% and that might be overstating things.

Presidential Odds

  • Trump 50%
  • Biden 30%
  • Sanders 9%
  • Warren 4%
  • Bloomberg 4%
  • Buttigieg 3%

That is roughly how I see things and perhaps I overstated Biden. It's possible that I understated Bloomberg because he can self-finance to the bitter end if he so desires. Buttigieg might run out of money, but Bloomberg won't.

Warren is more likely to pull votes from Sanders than Bloomberg is from Biden. This split voting impacts the process much like the Labour Liberal Democrat split aided Boris Johnson in the last UK election.

Assuming I am reasonably in the ballpark, note that Trump has a 20 percentage point lead over Biden and a whopping 41 percentage point lead over Sanders.

Yet, Trump's lead is a statistical mirage. It does not benefit Trump at all because Trump is no better than 50% except perhaps against Warren.

Elizabeth Warren Has a Bad Plan for Everything

On December 30, I wrote Elizabeth Warren Has a Bad Plan for Everything.

It's a bit early, but support for Warren is plunging like a rock. She is unlikely to be the Democratic nominee, but if she does win ...

How to Re-Elect Trump in One Easy Lesson

Please consider How to Re-Elect Trump in One Easy Lesson

"Radical progressives are up in arms. Ironically, if Trump wins again, they will be the reason."

Sanders a Long Shot

Bernie Sanders is a long shot, but his chances of beating Trump should he win the nomination just improved thanks to Trump's inane mideast warmongering policy.

Left Wing "Liberal Media" Cheers War and Assassinations

Although the Left Wing "Liberal Media" Cheers War and Assassinations the moderates, the Libertarians, and the independents sick of blowing trillions of dollars on stupid wars don't.

I assure you, it will be the moderates, the Libertarians, and the independents who will swing the election, not the radicals.

This is just like 2016, but I believe with a different outcome.

Warmongering "What If?"

But what if Trump is purposely escalating Mideast tensions now so he can purposely de-escalate tensions at a time to his liking near the election.

Will Trump finally decide to pull all the troops out of Afghanistan in September, declaring victory in the process?

Regardless, Trump has other huge issues, notably the economy and tariff policies that have totally blown up in Trump's face.

It's the Economy Stupid

That's not quite accurate, but the economy matters a great deal.

Please note that Nine States Projected to Contract in 2020: More on the Way.

If there is a severe enough slowdown, it is possible Trump could lose to any Democrat candidate, and unlike warmongering, the economy is not in Trump's hands.


Too Early to Call?

My readers tell me this is far too early to be making calls. Yes, it's early. But what good is analysis after everyone else agrees with it?

Finally, if you believe it is impossible or nearly impossible for Trump to lose, please look in the mirror to see someone with TDS.

Regardless, my main point is that although Trump's odds of winning are dramatically higher than any other candidate, it doesn't mean Trump is likely to win.

I reserve the right to change my mind when there is is more polling and economic data, but in the meantime, I am sticking with my call: Trump Will Easily Be Defeated in 2020, Perhaps a Landslide.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (18)
No. 1-12

Buttigieg is the preferred Deep State candidate.


"Regardless, my main point is that although Trump's odds of winning are dramatically higher than any other candidate, it doesn't mean Trump is likely to win."

I'm not sure this is NOT a contradiction in terms. What do you think Trump's odds of winning are? Which ACTUAL candidate? Not a "generic democrat".

Here's my prediction which will throw a wildcard joker - NONE of the candidates will have a majority on the first ballot and the Democratic Machine will nominate a well dressed, great hair and teeth, Romney, but maybe black and a woman and/or gay as the Nominee. Maybe Michelle Obama or Oprah. I wonder if Sotamayor would step down from the court? Some "gray" person of intersectional high victimhood score - we probably don't know who Ze is.


How anyone could accept at face value political polls after 2016 is beyond me. Particularly when Trump is in the mix because I believe "the shy Trump voter" is a thing. The polls don't know how to measure this voter. Since they don't, they should, if they were honest, state that their polling data has, say, a 5-7% margin of error rather than the 2-3% they normally claim.

Where I do agree with Mish is that if the economy is in shambles in November 2020, Trump is in big trouble--just like any incumbent would be. Complex systems like the economy are difficult to model and economists generally place too much confidence in their predictive abilities.

Have you ever noticed how often economic reports use the term "unexpectedly" when economic data comes in and makes economists look foolish for their inaccurate predictions? Economics is a social science with nice formulas and equations, but it ain't actual science. Not yet at least.



All depends whether one of the democrat candidates can tie up the nomination BEFORE the convention.

Super delegates are gone, so the delegate process is subject to primary delegates won vs Democrat-insider influence. If the Dems go to their convention with no clear candidate, it’s Trump’s election to lose.

But, the Republican’s day in the barrel will come very soon - after Trump is gone. In fact, it wouldn’tbe wrong to argue that it’s started already since the Republicans have been shooting each other since Trump won in 2016. The Republican’s coming problems will make the Dems look like a together, organized and cohesive club...


I'm going off topic just to note what is going on in Spain now.

Today the left "republican government" won a vote by 166 to 165 for its investiture, but not an absolute majority due to abstention. On tuesday it goes to second round simple majority vote, and with a repeat of today's vote they will be sworn in.

The government formed would be very weak, relying always on abstention by seperatist groups, and at the same time support of small minority groups, to achieve majority. The right have called the formation treasonous for accords made with seperatists for their abstention, some senior figures have called for Spaniards to take to the streets in Spain in protest.

Very awkward and fraught setup is coming to be for Spain.


I wonder whether Biden's percentage is equal to the sum of two groups:

  1. "Biden? Yeah, I've heard his name."

  2. "The new-to-me candidates? Meh. Wake me when it's over."

If I were a political type I would not be worried about picking my current candidate, I'd be worried that my party's system of choosing and presenting the candidate is fatally flawed.


Democrat Primary Demographics


If there is another attack on a US facility or people Trump will win in a landslide. I will take the opposite view because war wins elections.


Trump will be put in a straight jacket and carried off to the funny farm, Pence will be the nominee with Cruz as his side kick; Hillary will win at a brokered convention with Sanders given the 2nd spot. During the last televised debate, Pence will perform an exorcism, the Democrats will renounce Clinton and insist that the exercised demon is their real nominee and the Supreme court will agree. Clinton will blame Putin and the deplorables. Bernie’s supporters will riot when Trump breaks free from the insane asylum, slay the demon, and returned to power by hordes of stinky Walmarshians because, as it turned out, there really was a deep state plot and everyone from Obama to Page is locked up, including Clinton. The stock market will triple, gold will tank, and the Fed will cover the country with three feet of notes that promise absolutely nothing. And, finally, there will peace in our land once again. ... nothing to worry about though.


... sorry, I’m too lazy to make up charts to support my predictions.


Hillary Clinton is going to run again. The golden moo-moo will swoop in at the last moment when all the other candidates become non viable


"I have friends telling me it is "impossible" for Michael Bloomberg to win the Democratic nomination."

It's certainly possible for Bloomberg if he publicly converts to some form of Christianity, preferably Protestant.

Sanders has the same option available to him.

'Til then, the switch is in the off position.

Global Economics