Less than a week from Election Day, political handicappers are running out of time to put some action on Trump vs. Biden.

If you trust the pollsters and election experts, it appears than Joe Biden is poised for a landslide victory. On the other hand, it’s hard not to remember them all saying the same thing about Hillary Clinton this time four years ago.

2020 Presidential Election Winner Betting Odds
Joe Biden -175
Donald Trump +135
Kamala Harris +20000
Mike Pence +27500
Any Other Candidate +50000

As part of our 2020 presidential election coverage, we’re analyzing the race by region and sharing the betting odds for each individual state.

On this page, we’re taking a closer look at the Midwestern United States, a section of the country destined to play a vital role in determining the next President.

The Midwest consists of 12 states:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota

  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

Of these twelve, five are considered crucial battlegrounds:

Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The rest of the races are essentially pre-determined under the current electoral college system.

Still, those five swing states are enough to arguably make the Midwest the most critical region in the country, electorally speaking.

(You’ll notice that some states below don’t have Real Clear Politics (RCP) polling averages. RCP only tracks national averages, top battleground averages, and individual state polls. States that lean heavily in favor of one of the two parties don’t receive significant attention from pollsters, which results in less useful data being available.)

The Top Political Betting Sites:


FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: <1%

Biden Wins: >99%

Electoral College Votes: 20

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate +900
  • Democratic Candidate -3000

Illinois’s 20 electoral college votes are all but guaranteed to go towards Joe Biden’s hunt for 270 – the number of electoral college votes required to secure the nomination. Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers were nowhere near as strong as the Biden campaign’s, and she carried 55.8% of the state – a full 17 point margin over the Republican ticket.

Illinois was a red state for twenty years, starting in 1968, but went blue for Bill Clinton in 1992 and has stayed with the Democrats ever since. There’s nothing to suggest Donald Trump will have the backing to flip it in 2020.

Unfortunately, that means the Democrats are –3000 favorites, which is a tough line to bet regardless of confidence levels.


FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 94%

Biden Wins: 6%

Electoral College Votes: 11

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -2000
  • Democratic Candidate +800

Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana is as firmly red as Illinois is blue. Besides electing Barack Obama in 2008, the state has only elected two Democrats since 1940. Before Obama, the only other time was Lyndon Johnson in 1964, when LBJ gave Barry Goldwater the electoral beating of a lifetime, carrying a ridiculous 486 electoral votes across 44 states and DC.

Trump won in 2016 by securing 56.9% of the electorate to Clinton’s 37.8%. Gary Johnson pulled in 4.9% as a third-party candidate.

Johnson’s strong showing is consistent with Indiana’s 2016 Democratic primary results, which had Bernie Sanders defeat Hillary by five points. Indiana may lean conservative, but there’s a strain of economic populism amongst its voters as well.

President Trump taking Indiana is as close to a “lock” you can get.


RealClearPolitics (RCP) Poll Average:

Joe Biden: 47.7

Donald Trump: 46.3

Spread: Biden +1.4

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 50%

Biden Wins: 50%

Electoral College Votes: 6

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -190
  • Democratic Candidate +145

Iowa is an interesting state because it wasn’t supposed to be competitive. The Cook Report has Iowa in the “Toss Up” column, while FiveThirtyEight is giving either candidate a similar coin-toss-chance of winning.

One sign of the Republican Party’s eroding support in the state is first-term GOP senator Joni Ernst’s formidable challenge from Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield. Ernst is a Trump-style Republican and enthusiastic supporter of the President.

For example, her campaign once ran an ad featuring the senator firing a handgun as the narrator said, “and when she sets her sights on Obamacare, Joni’s going to unload.”

Today, however, Ernst’s favorability sat at only 44% as recently as September, according to a Des Moines Register poll. The data also showed a majority of the state disapproving of Trump’s handling of the pandemic. Time and time again, voters have told surveyors that the administration’s response to covid-19 is a top priority informing their choice for President.

In that case, there’s a solid chance that Joe Biden wins Iowa next week. At the current betting odds, the value is in taking the Democratic challenger at +145. If both candidates have a 50/50 shot at carrying the state, it’s smarter to take the better payout.


FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 96%

Biden Wins: 4%

Electoral College Votes: 6

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -1500
  • Democratic Candidate +650

Kansas should be a blowout for President Trump. He earned 56.7% of the vote in 2016, smashing Clinton by 20 points. Except for Lyndon B. Johnson’s landslide victory in 1964, Kansas hasn’t elected a Democrat since 1936.

Any historically red-leaning state that Obama couldn’t flip in 2008 probably isn’t going to make an exception for Joe Biden in 2020.

If you’re considering taking a +650 flier on a Democratic upset, however, there is something potentially noteworthy in the state’s recent voting trends. Kansas is one of the contests Donald Trump lost in the 2016 Republican primaries.

Ted Cruz walloped him by 25 points!

On the other side of the aisle, Bernie Sanders annihilated Hillary Clinton by almost 35 points! Then Trump went on to beat Hillary by the 20% margin mentioned above. Kansas really hated Hillary Clinton and were comfortable with a more traditional Republican candidate. Despite supporting Sanders, they weren’t looking for any old outsider candidate.

Joe Biden is as conservative as Democrats get. Considering the departure of moderate GOP voters and officials who have deserted the Republican Party for Biden’s centrist coalition, is it possible the Dems could steal Kansas in a shocking upset? At +650, it’s worth a look!


RealClearPolitics (RCP) Poll Average:

Joe Biden: 50.5

Donald Trump: 41.9

Spread: Biden +8.6

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 6%

Biden Wins: 94%

Electoral College Votes: 16

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate +175
  • Democratic Candidate -250

Michigan’s recent polling data spells a “nightmare scenario” for Donald Trump next Tuesday. The RCP average has Biden an incredible 8.6 points ahead of the incumbent in one of the states that’s the most responsible for Trump’s surprise electoral college victory in 2016.

Before the previous election, Michigan was part of the Democratic Party’s blue wall through the Rust Belt, supporting the Democrat in six consecutive elections, starting with Bill Clinton in 1992.

Trump overachieved in the industrial Midwest primarily due to manufacturing workers who believed his populist, anti-establishment message after witnessing their region be decimated by neoliberal trade deals that saw companies move overseas. Many became the fabled Obama-to-Trump and Bernie-to-Trump voters that ultimately sunk Clinton’s campaign.

The pandemic has been disastrous for Trump in Michigan.

As recently as May, the President was within five points of Biden. Covid has cost the incumbent dearly in the suburbs. Suburban women, in particular, have abandoned Trump’s cause in droves.

The other issue is Trump’s lack of follow-through on his populist promises. He mostly governed like a typical Mitch McConnell Republican.

Michigan’s working-class voters that took a chance on the “outsider” businessman in 2016 due to Democrats failing organized labor for decades are precisely who needed another stimulus check, which the White House and GOP senators refused to push for until – in Trump’s case, anyway – way too late.

Unless the polling data is so far off, it’ll bring into question the value of the entire industry from now on; Joe Biden should receive Michigan’s 16 electoral college votes.

Remember, the polls only had Clinton ahead by 1.6 points five days before Election Day 2016. And Trump only won Michigan by 10,704 votes, the narrowest margin of any state.

That’s a considerably different scenario than Biden losing an 8.6-point lead.


RealClearPolitics (RCP) Poll Average:

Joe Biden: 48.0

Donald Trump: 43.3

Spread: Biden +4.7

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 7%

Biden Wins: 93%

Electoral College Votes: 10

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate +225
  • Democratic Candidate -350

If Donald Trump manages to outperform his paltry poll numbers and actually flips a Democrat state from 2016, Minnesota is the most likely candidate. The President may not have garnered more support than Hillary last election, but the Land of 1000 Lakes has been trending redder every year for decades now.

As I wrote in a blog titled, Could Minnesota Turn Red for Trump this Election? back in September: “The 2016 election was the first time since 1976 that Minnesota leaned Republican, relative to the rest of the country.”

Excerpt from “Could Minnesota Turn Red for Trump this Election?”

  • The Trump campaign completely neglected Minnesota in 2016, mistakenly assuming it was a lost cause.
  • They spent only $30,000 and had almost no ground game in place!
  • Nevertheless, the eventual President carried 78 of the state’s 87 counties, losing by fewer than 45,000 votes overall.

“One more speech, I would have won,” Trump told a crowd at a recent campaign stop in the state. “It was so close.”

Minnesota is undergoing a dramatic political realignment, with the rural areas becoming increasingly conservative and the densely populated Twin Cities metropolitan area remaining liberal.

Democrats in the state are worried because they’re losing the Iron Range, a stretch of rural northern Minnesota where socially conservative, pro-labor blue-collar workers have traditionally voted blue.

Besides disagreeing with the DNC’s stances towards gun control and environmental policy, the Iron Range was directly, positively impacted by the President’s trade tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum. Between the tariffs and rolled-back environmental regulations, many miners in the area were put back to work.

If Trump and the Republicans are going to score an upset on Election Day, it will probably come from Minnesota. At +225, it’s a decent wager.


FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 92%

Biden Wins: 8%

Electoral College Votes: 10

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -3000
  • Democratic Candidate +900

Missouri is a pretty safe bet for the Republicans. Four years ago, Donald Trump carried Missouri with 56.8% of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s 38.1%. The GOP candidate has won the state in every election since 2000.

That said, this summer, numbers coming out the state raised some eyebrows. Newsweek reported on former Missouri senator Claire McCaskill’s shock over Biden keeping the heavily conservative state competitive:

But according to a poll conducted online between June 16 and 22 by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, voter support may be shifting away from the President, whom McCaskill has frequently criticized. While Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 18.5 points in Missouri in 2016, according to The New York Times, pollsters found Biden was leading Trump by 2 points among the 800 likely voters surveyed. Even with the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error, Trump was lacking the significant lead he enjoyed in the general election four years ago.

Biden earned 94 percent of likely voter support among Democrats, while Trump garnered 87 percent of support among Republicans, the poll found. Independents swayed toward the Democratic Party, with 45 percent telling pollsters they would support Biden and 40 percent saying they intended to back Trump.

However, Trump was leading by 6 and 9 points, respectively, in Missouri Scout and St. Louis University/YouGov polls taken in mid-October.

Still, when you’re hunting for +900 lottery bets, even a brief aberration in the polling data can be encouraging. If next week’s contest is the Biden landslide that some are predicting, calling an upset in a state like Missouri is where handicappers will earn their money.


FiveThirtyEight Model Projection (Statewide):

Trump Wins: >99%

Biden Wins: <1%

Nebraska 1st District:

Donald Trump: 96%; Joe Biden: 4%

Nebraska 2nd District:

Donald Trump: 22%; Joe Biden: 78%

Nebraska 3rd District:

Donald Trump: >99%; Joe Biden: <1%

Electoral College Votes: 5

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -6000
  • Democratic Candidate +1200

Nebraska is not in play for Joe Biden. The last Democrat to carry the state was Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964; before that, you’d have to go back to FDR’s back-to-back wins in the 1930s.

In 2016, Donald Trump won Nebraska with 58.7% of the vote – a full 25 points higher than Hillary Clinton’s 33.7%. If the Democrats somehow flipped Nebraska, it would mean Biden was coasting to an electoral college vote total of over 400 points.

North Dakota

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 98%

Biden Wins: 2%

Electoral College Votes: 3

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -10000
  • Democratic Candidate +1400

North Dakota’s voting trends are almost identical to Nebraska’s. The state has been solidly red throughout history besides the brief Democratic tenures of LBJ and FDR. Only Trump demolished Clinton by an even larger margin, carrying 63% of the state, to Hillary Clinton’s 27.2%.

You’d be better off finding an insane political prop about Nancy Pelosi becoming President on January 21, 2021 – (which could happen, if the winner still hasn’t been declared by then and Pelosi is still Speaker of the House) – than hoping for the Democrats at +1400.


RealClearPolitics (RCP) Poll Average:

Joe Biden: 46.2

Donald Trump: 46.8

Spread: Trump +0.6

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 59%

Biden Wins: 41%

Electoral College Votes: 18

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -250
  • Democratic Candidate +170

If you’re looking for value – which you always should be – fading the Republicans in Ohio is an attractive option. According to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, “Ohio insiders believe that the state is closer than last time, and that Donald Trump is struggling mightily in suburban areas.”

Trump won Ohio by roughly eight points in the last election.

Trump dominated in Ohio [in 2016] for three key reasons:

  1. Ohio’s electorate was 57% non-college white — a dozen points larger than the nation as a whole — and that group shifted strongly toward Trump in Ohio in 2016.
  2. Just about 16% of Ohio’s voters are nonwhite, a significantly smaller share than the nation.
  3. White voters with a four-year degree make up a very similar proportion of Ohio’s electorate — 28% instead of 29% nationally — but the group did not become more Democratic from 2012 to 2016 (the group basically split down the middle in both elections).

Political operatives in the state expect President Trump to lose ample ground in the suburbs but to maintain his overall lead.

However, if you’re looking for a decent upset, Biden at +170 isn’t terrible.

There’s a possibility that the Republican maxed out his support in rural areas and small towns, but the Democrats have plenty to grow onto Hillary Clinton’s 2016 performance in the suburbs.

If the pandemic and lack of stimulus agreement damage Trump’s support among working-class whites beyond what’s expected, it’s not implausible for Joe Biden to carry Ohio.

South Dakota

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 94%

Biden Wins: 6%

Electoral College Votes: 3

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate -4000
  • Democratic Candidate +1000

Just look at the betting odds. South Dakota has followed the same many-decades-long pattern of GOP dominance as North Dakota and Nebraska. It’s an extremely red state that Donald Trump carried with 61.5% of the vote total in 2016.

If Joe Biden somehow stole South Dakota – forget about the 2020 election, the Republican Party would need a complete and thorough overhaul. It’s not gonna happen.


RealClearPolitics (RCP) Poll Average:

Joe Biden: 50.3

Donald Trump: 43.9

Spread: Biden +6.4

FiveThirtyEight Model Projection:

Trump Wins: 7%

Biden Wins: 93%

Electoral College Votes: 10

Which Party’s Candidate Wins the State?

  • WinnerOdds
  • Republican Candidate +170
  • Democratic Candidate -250

Wisconsin was another Midwestern state in which Trump just barely edged out Clinton four years ago. On Election Day 2016, Real Clear Politics polling averages put Hillary 6.5 points ahead. The President ended up winning by a narrow margin of +0.7.

Still, it’s worth noting that five days out from the election, Donald Trump again trails by an almost identical number. If the polls are equally wrong on Tuesday as they were in 2016, the incumbent will once again walk away with Wisconsin.

However, the President has several crucial factors working against him this time. Since being elected, the highly touted Foxconn deal to bring thousands of manufacturing jobs to the state has been exposed as a total fraud – just a campaign headline with zero substance or benefit to the workers of Wisconsin.

The state is also experiencing a significant spike in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

From the Cook Political Report:

Charles Franklin, the Marquette University Law School poll director, told the AP recently that “approval of his handling of COVID is the next-strongest predictor of vote choice, behind voters’ party affiliation and their overall approval of Trump’s performance as president.” In the most recent Marquette poll in early October Trump had an anemic 41 percent approval rating on his handling of the virus.

Wisconsin is another “blue wall” state that took a chance on Trump’s populist promises from 2016. Voters here, more than almost anywhere, have witnessed the incumbent govern more like a traditional Republican than the change in direction the GOP candidate once symbolized.

The pandemic and lack of stimulus deal will hurt Donald Trump, particularly badly in Wisconsin next week. If you anticipate a repeat of his 2016 performance, you may like a Republican upset at +170, but there are better underdog options on the table.