Joe Biden currently favorite in wide-open Democratic race: FiveThirtyEight forecast

Biden has a 2 in 5 chance to win majority of delegates right now.

January 09, 2020, 11:12 AM

Who will win the Democratic presidential nomination?

FiveThirtyEight’s newly launched 2020 primary forecast gives Joe Biden the best odds right now, with a 2 in 5 chance (42%) of winning a majority of pledged delegates. But the race is wide open: it’s about equally likely that Biden wins as not. Bernie Sanders has a 1 in 5 chance (22%), followed by Elizabeth Warren at 1 in 8 (12%) and Pete Buttigieg at 1 in 10 (9%). The rest of the field, combined, has only a 1 in 50 chance of pulling off what would be a stunning upset.

PHOTO: 538 Democratic Primary Forecast
538 Democratic Primary Forecast
ABC News

All those odds are according to a statistical model that looks at a number of indicators that have proven prescient historically; most importantly: polling, the endorsements each candidate has won and the money each candidate has raised.

You can check out what the forecast shows in more detail here -- including forecasts for the Iowa caucuses and primaries in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina -- and read more about how it works here.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidates, from left, Mayor Pete Buttigieg,  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Bernie Sanders participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate, Nov. 20, 2019 in Atlanta.
Democratic presidential candidates, from left, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Bernie Sanders participate in the Democratic Presidential Debate, Nov. 20, 2019 in Atlanta.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The FiveThirtyEight model produces probabilistic forecasts, as opposed to hard-and-fast predictions about who will win or lose. Those probabilities are meant to capture the real-world uncertainty inherent in a primary race, which are far less predictable than general election campaigns. In the same sense a weather forecaster might tell you there’s a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow, the FiveThirtyEight model estimates the chances of each candidate winning.

FiveThirtyEight, a data-driven news site founded by Nate Silver in 2008, joined ABC News in 2018.

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