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US elections: Biden gains ground in betting markets over Trump after first debate

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has gained ground in betting markets over President Donald Trump following their first debate of the 2020 US election campaign, two betting market aggregators said.

Bettors on British exchange Smarkets give Biden a 63 percent chance of winning the Nov. 3 election, up from 55 percent before the acrimonious debate. The Republican Trump’s chances remain unchanged at 43 percent.

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“It was clearly about personalities rather than content,” Sarbjit Bakhshi, head of political markets at Smarkets, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Thursday. People betting on how various states might vote learned nothing new, he said.

On UK-based Betfair Exchange, Biden’s odds improved to 60 percent after the debate, up from 56 percent, while Trump’s chances worsened to 40 percent from 43 percent pre-debate.

“Biden is pitching himself in a very different way to Hillary Clinton, he’s emphasizing his working-class, blue-collar credentials and emphasizing the class aspect that it’s Scranton versus Park Avenue,” Betfair spokesperson Darren Hughes said on Wednesday in reference to Trump’s 2016 rival.

Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden and the moderator in their Tuesday night encounter, with Trump questioning Biden’s intelligence and Biden calling Trump a racist, a liar and the worst president ever.

Smarkets odds give Democrats a 60 percent likelihood of winning both the popular and Electoral College votes.

On London-based Ladbrokes Coral Group, bettors gave a 30 percent chance of a repeat of 2016 when Trump lost the popular vote but won the state-by-state Electoral College vote that decides the winner.

“There are a lot of gamblers placing very unrealistic expectations on Trump,” Matthew Shaddick, head of politics betting at Ladbrokes Coral said on GMF on Tuesday.

“I think ‘shy Trumpers’ is one of the major reasons people are prepared to back Trump at very low odds. But I am very skeptical.”

Reuters/Ipsos polling before the debate showed 51 percent of likely voters backing Biden while 42 percent said they would vote for Trump, with the remainder undecided.

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