As Florida Early Voting Begins, Joe Biden the Narrow Favorite to Win Crucial Battleground State

As early voting begins in Florida today, Joe Biden looks to be the narrow favorite ahead of Donald Trump to win the battleground state.

Oddschecker, which aggregates betting data from dozens of bookmakers, gave Democrats odds of -111 and Republicans odds of +120 to secure the Sunshine State, a spokesman told Newsweek.

Put simply, this means Biden has an implied probability of 52.63 percent compared with Trump's 45.45 percent.

Real Clear Politics' tracker similarly put Biden up by 1.4 points, with an average of 48.2 percent of the vote compared to 46.8 for Trump.

Recent polling in the state puts the pair almost neck-and-neck and may prove crucial in deciding the Electoral College outcome.

Oddschecker has charted the tight race between Trump and Biden, with the latter taking a slight advantage over the past month.

At the beginning of March, Trump was pegged to win the state with a 69.2 percent chance, ahead of Biden's predicted 38.1 percent.

However, as the coronavirus pandemic hit, the presidential rivals sat at almost exactly the same odds for the months of March through June, according to Oddschecker.

As faith in Trump's handling of the coronavirus fell, support for Biden seemingly surged through the months of July and August.

This time last month, Biden's chance of a Florida win sat at 50 percent.

Last week, bookmakers said Trump "missed a big opportunity" to narrow the polling gap with Biden as betting odds showed no movement despite the president's fiery televised town hall.

Betting websites reported exactly the same odds the morning after both men took part in separate TV grillings—with pundits suggesting it was the president, trailing in national polls, who stood most to gain from the event.

"With more low key town hall events replacing the second debate, the president— a 2/1 outsider for November's election—missed a big opportunity to have all eyes on him and steal the attention away from odds-on favorite Joe Biden," said Betfair spokesperson Sam Rosbottom.

Florida has 29 Electoral College votes, making it a major coup in the race to 270. Early voting runs from October 19 to November 1.

Trump won the state in 2016, defeating then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by around 1.2 percent with some 112,000 more votes.

However, the state has regularly switched in recent presidential elections, with Barack Obama winning there in 2008 and 2012 and George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Since 1964 the state has voted for the winner in each presidential election except for 1992.

Large numbers in Florida have already returned mail-in ballots, with more than 2 million having been sent according to the state's Division of Elections website.

The Biden campaign has previously expressed its focus on the state, telling those involved in the Democrat's bid to "campaign like we're trailing," according to a New York Times report.

Trump versus Biden
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump speak during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. JIM WATSON/Getty
Florida voting
A woman walks past a voting center at Miami Beach City Hall in Miami Beach as Florida early voting begins. Eva Marie UZCATEGU/Getty