2024 Democratic Party Presidential Nominee Odds: Biden His Time

Joe Biden is poised to run again for the highest office in the land in his 80s. Is there anyone who can realistically challenge his quest to secure the Democratic Party nomination?

Last Updated: Dec 1, 2023 6:13 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
U.S. President Joe Biden.
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The 2024 Democratic Party presidential nominee odds start and end with incumbent President Joe Biden, who is also a strong second in U.S. Election betting odds. Despite persistent concerns regarding Biden’s advanced age of 80, there is zero indication that the Democratic Party organization or its affiliated network of activists, donors, and interest groups wish to cast aside their greatest asset in their campaign to maintain control of the White House: incumbency.

Nevertheless, relatively unknown (at least nationally) Congressman Dean Phillips of Minnesota has announced a longshot bid for the Democratic Party nomination, and speculation remains strong that California Governor Gavin Newsome may throw his hat into the ring. Let's look at the latest Democratic party nominee odds and see which candidates are worth a wager.

Democratic presidential nominee odds  

Nomination Winner bet365 Implied probability
Joe Biden -275 73.3%
Gavin Newsom +350 22.2%
Michelle Obama +1,000 9.1%
Kamala Harris   +1,400 6.7%
Elizabeth Warren    +4,000 2.4%
Hillary Clinton    +4,000 2.4%
Gretchen Whitmer     +8,000 1.23%
Pete Buttigieg +10,000 0.99%
Susan Rice +10,000 0.99%

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of November 27, 2023.

Favorites to be the Democratic nominee in 2024

Joe Biden

Betting markets overwhelmingly favor President Biden to be re-nominated as the Democratic Party standard bearer in Chicago in August, although I would argue the odds of this outcome remain short given the paucity of legitimate in-party contenders to the throne. Moreover, the party apparatus is justifiably loath to surrender the incumbency advantage ahead of an expectedly competitive general election rematch with Republican nominee odds favorite Donald Trump.

No sitting president has declined to run for re-election since Democrat Lyndon Johnson in 1968, which occurred in the highly irregular context of social and political foment amid the height of the Vietnam War. No incumbent president has even faced a serious primary challenger since Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1980, when Senator Ted Kennedy competed all the way to the convention, culminating in his famous concession speech at Madison Square Garden (Pat Buchanan mounted an ill-fated challenge to Republican President George H.W. Bush in 1992, but Buchanan never won a single primary).

Quite simply, the Democrats would unnecessarily be creating an open seat and eschewing Biden’s accomplishments in office if he were to be removed from the top of the ticket, an unlikely move despite his legitimate electoral vulnerabilities. 

Dean Phillips

Phillips, a three-term congressman from the western suburbs of Minneapolis, is currently the sole elected official to challenge President Biden officially for the Democratic Party nomination (self-help author Marianne Williamson and talk show host Cenk Uygur do not merit ink in this space). Phillips, one of the wealthiest members of Congress thanks to his ownership of multiple businesses and role as CEO of his family’s liquor business, stepped down from Democratic House leadership amid plans to contest the Party’s presidential nomination. He so irked Democrats upon officially declaring his presidential campaign that he has guaranteed himself a progressive primary challenger if he ultimately decides to run for re-election to his House seat in 2024.

Phillips is an ideological moderate who announced his insurgent candidacy by promising to tell Democrats “hard truths,” arguing that the party spends excessively and must do more to improve border security. However, his more prominent disagreements with leadership have not been ideological. He criticized former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for her age (as well as close ties to corporate political action committees), and he has repeatedly questioned Biden’s continued fitness for public office as an octogenarian. Again, these critiques have predictably not been well received by Democratic leaders. Respected House assistant Democratic leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina called Phillips’ maneuvering “very, very disrespectful,” for example. I would not expect the outside push to pay any immediate electoral dividends for Dean.

Gavin Newsome

Another name that continues to draw attention from pundits and progressives alike as an alternative to Biden is the current California governor, although Newsome himself has denied speculation that he will run for president and stated earlier this fall that he is “looking forward” to Biden’s re-election campaign.

An ambitious politico who has been on the national radar for years since becoming a notable liberal as San Francisco mayor from 2004-11, most political forecasters expect Newsome will one day run for president. However, he does not appear prepared to take the plunge in 2024.

Democratic party dynamics

Although mainstream media repeatedly resort to the refrain “Democrats in disarray” and its variants due to the caucus’ diversity and intra-party squabbling over policy priorities, the Democrats nevertheless remain largely ideologically unified and disciplined. Support among rank-and-file members for Democratic Party leadership and their attendant legislative agenda is consistently strong. Indeed, scholarly analyses of congressional roll-call votes, activist attitudes, and public opinion all show that ideological disagreement among Democrats pales in comparison to that of their fractious Republican counterparts in contemporary American politics.

Democratic institutional and organizational support for President Biden remains strong despite his stubbornly high public disapproval numbers, and there appears to be no concerted effort to remove him from the top of the ticket despite continuing qualms concerning his age and earlier questions regarding his intention to run for re-election. Now that “Uncle Joe” has proved his spryness throughout domestic policy disputes and grueling foreign travel, the Democratic Party appears to have accepted that he is their presumptive 2024 nominee. 

Key issues and campaign strategies

President Biden’s campaign strategy will likely rest on the country’s continued job and economic growth despite substantial headwinds. J.P. Morgan noted this month that the economy grew by “an impressive 4.9% annualized rate” in the 3Q, and with labor market pressures easing, inflation is on its way back down toward the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. Biden can tout not only the post-pandemic economic recovery, but also his legislative accomplishments. These domestic successes are headlined by the 2022 “Inflation Reduction Act”—the first major piece of legislation ever passed in Congress focused largely on combating climate change—and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Nonetheless, significant economic pessimism remains due to low consumer confidence owing to concerns about higher future prices. Biden also will lean on his decades of foreign policy experience as the nation and world navigate conflicts in Ukraine, Israel and elsewhere. 

However, these issues all seem to be more relevant to the general election, where they will be litigated among other policies at debates and on the campaign trail between Biden and, most likely, Trump. Joe Biden was the oldest person ever to assume the presidency, at age 78 in January 2021 (the next oldest was Trump, who took office in 2017 at age 70).

I am neither a gerontologist nor an actuary, but absent an unlikely and unfortunate health event between now and the Democratic National Convention in August 2024, Joe Biden is quite likely to be the Democratic presidential nominee.  I still see value in his market, as many onlookers seemingly cannot believe their lying eyes that Biden is poised to run again for the highest office in the land in his 80s.

Democratic vice presidential odds

Current Vice President Kamala Harris has become a good friend of Joe Biden. The dissatisfaction expressed in some quarters regarding her early job performance amid staff turmoil and an unclear sense of her duties as second in command seem to have dissipated. In any event, most of these issues can be attributed to standard vice presidential frustrations. I do not envision Biden selecting anyone different to serve as his 2024 running mate given Harris’ legislative and executive branch experience, as well as her descriptive representation of several key Democratic Party constituent groups.

One person who also matches the latter criteria is fast rising House member from Massachusetts Ayana Pressley, who has received some buzz as a potential Harris replacement on the Democratic ticket. Nonetheless, I would be surprised if the Democrats upset their leadership apple cart one year before a closely contested presidential election.

Key Dates for Democratic nominees

Date Event
January 23, 2024 New Hampshire primary
February 3, 2024 South Carolina primary
February 6, 2024 Nevada primary
February 27, 2024 Michigan primary
March 5, 2024 Super Tuesday
August 19-22, 2024 Democratic National Convention

Past Democratic presidential nominees

Year Nominee State
2020 Joseph R. Biden Delaware
2016 Hillary Clinton New York
2012 Barack Obama Illinois
2008 Barack Obama Illinois
2004 John Kerry Massachusetts
2000 Al Gore Tennessee
1996 Bill Clinton Arkansas
1992 Bill Clinton Arkansas

Past Democratic nominee trends

1. Democrats generally prefer political careerists and established Democratic Party loyalists

Joe Biden was among the longest serving Democratic U.S. senators ever (1973-2009) before being elected as vice president on Barack Obama’s winning ticket in 2008. Biden had also run for president unsuccessfully twice, in 1988 and 2008, before the third time was the charm in 2020. The 2016 Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, was among the most accomplished presidential candidates in history, having served as first lady, U.S. senator from New York and U.S. secretary of state before becoming the first woman major party nominee. In 2004, John Kerry had served honorably in the Vietnam War and then as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts for nearly 20 years prior to becoming the nominee. Before him, Al Gore was nominated as the Democratic standard-bearer in 2000 after having served two terms as Bill Clinton’s vice president following service as both a U.S. congressman and U.S. senator from Tennessee. Bill Clinton served a total of more than a decade as Arkansas governor before winning the Democratic nomination in 1992 as the “Comeback Kid,” ultimately becoming the third youngest person inaugurated as U.S. president on January 20, 1993.

The exception to this trend, of course, is Barack Obama, who enjoyed a landslide 2008 presidential election victory despite having served just three years as a U.S. senator from Illinois. Obama burst onto the political scene and into public consciousness as keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, and then he defeated presumptive frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the contested 2008 Democratic primary. Obama’s unique combination of political acumen, policy expertise, and charisma have predictably not been replicated by an “outsider” candidate since in the Democratic Party.

2. Democrats favor lawyers over businesspeople

Although a great number of elected officials in both parties have law degrees, the Democrats are notable in that Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Obama, Kerry, and Gore were all lawyers before serving in public office. By contrast, Republicans Trump, Romney, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush were all prominent businessmen before launching their political careers.

Can you bet on the election in the United States?

No. Legal betting sites in the United States do not presently offer odds on the Republican nomination or the 2024 U.S. Election. However, bettors in other countries can bet on the U.S. election. Canadians, in particular, have plenty of options when it comes to placing wagers on the U.S. election. Legal betting sites in Ontario are permitted to offer election odds, while bettors in other provinces can also place bets via Canadian betting sites.

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