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Kamala Harris in the lead for Biden's VP pick: Betting Giant

Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets Head of Political Markets, joins Yahoo Finance's Zack Guzman to talk odds on Biden's VP pick, Democrats taking the House and Senate, and the general election.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: The focus on Washington, DC right now. We're watching the betting market play out here. And bettors taking their picks for who the Democratic nominee for vice president might actually be. Which way is Joe Biden going to go? For more on how the betting market is weighing all of his options, we're bringing on our next guest here. Sarbjit Bakhshi is Smarkets head of political markets. And he joins us once again.

And Sarbjit, I mean, when we think about this, it's something that we've seen kind of change around here. But when we think about who he might choose, we have seen those numbers stay pretty close. So what are you seeing right now when you look at bettors on your site?

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: Well, in the 48 hours since Kamala Harris' name appeared on Joe Biden's notes, we saw her price shoot up in our market, going from 33% to 53% in 48 hours, which is a phenomenal increase. But as other reasons have come about as to why her name might be on that list, we've seen her price drop slightly down to 49%. She's still leading that market, as she always has, still dominating it. But you know, at 49%, just slightly less likely than not to become that democratic VP.

We've also seen, in the same period, Susan Rice's price drop down when those notes were published, dropping down from 32% to 19% down to 15% today. Now, Susan Rice is obviously that simpatico person who Joe Biden would like to have as his VP. I mean, that's probably her strongest suit. She has lots of experience. And I can't really blame Joe Biden for wanting to maybe recreate some of that special relationship he had with President Obama with his own VP pick.

But in third place, we have a really interesting contest playing out between Karen Bass at 12% and Tammy Duckworth at 7%. Now, they keep swapping positions to be third place in our market. It changes all the time. But those two are really pushing against each other.

Karen Bass, of course, has been vetted by the Democratic campaign to be the VP. She's head of the Congressional Black Caucus. And we saw her price drop slightly after a video emerged of her praising the Church of Scientology.

Tammy Duckworth is on our market. And she's always been talked about. And she's starting to break through into that third position. The Illinois senator is a personal first, I think, maybe the least qualified in many aspects. But she is the first senator to have a baby in office, the first to cast a vote while holding the baby, the first to be born in Thailand and elected to Congress, and the first woman with a disability elected to Congress, and the first double amputee in the Senate.

Now, maybe Joe Biden wants someone who's done a lot of firsts to be in his VP position. Who knows? But she's definitely on our market. And our traders are definitely favoring her.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah and favoring her respectively, but still a long shot compared to some of those odds, including Kamala Harris there. But when we think about all those odds and all the decision making that they're behind who Joe Biden might actually choose as his veep, might not matter as much if you look at the gap right now in terms of presidential odds there for President Trump winning re-election on your market, pretty low when we think about how soon it was that we saw a 50/50 split between him and Joe Biden. Now a stark difference there with Biden sitting above 60%.

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: It's true. Joe Biden at 61% is looking like he'll even increase that in the forthcoming weeks. 61%, remember, is the maximum amount that Trump's had in our market to win the election. So Trump now being at 35% is terrible news. With about 90 days to go, Trump should be trying to claw back some of that lead that Joe Biden has and get closer to a 50-50 position, if not better. And he's not doing it.

His price is dropping and dropping on our markets as traders believe the polls that are coming out about Joe Biden, where he is winning every state by a large margin. He's flipping states according to the polling and looks set that he will become the next president of the United States.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, and lastly, before I let you go, just one more piece of info here when we think about how the other elections might go here. Obviously, a lot of people focusing in on whether or not Democrats can flip the Senate. Seems like bettors on your side are also following the polling that we've seen come out, as more and more people think that could be a likelihood. What are you seeing in terms of bets being made on that blue wave?

SARBJIT BAKHSHI: So we have a House and Senate control market. And it's currently looking like a clean sweep for the Democrats as the most likely outcome at 52%. We had that market for a long time a Democratic House and a Republican Senate, basically reflecting the status quo. But when you put it all together, it looks like it's going to be a clean sweep for the Democrats with House, Senate, and president all being democratic, which would be an amazing outcome for Joe Biden if it was to come true and allow him to really put forward a progressive agenda without real opposition.