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The frontrunner’s curse: Why Joe Biden won’t win the Democratic nomination

03. February 2020, 16:06 Uhr

It has become such a regular feature of the US election cycle that it shouldn’t come as too big a surprise: Long leading the field of contenders for the Democratic nomination in this year’s US presidential elections, Joe Biden stands to be burned before Super Tuesday.

Our probability analysis shows why: Even if – and that’s quite an if by now – Biden manages to scrape by in Iowa’s caucuses, in New Hampshire he’s already second to Bernie Sanders, while the virtually unheard-of Tom Steyer is bombarding South Carolina with TV ads. Thus, if Biden loses in the Granite State to be followed by a victory in the Palmetto state, he stands no more than a decent chance to win the majority of delegates in play on Super Tuesday come March. By our calculation, his chances to do so are no higher than some 57% IF he wins in Iowa. If, however, he loses to either Sanders or Buttigieg in the Hawkeye State, we anticipate him to be toast even before Super Tuesday, with his chances of clinging the nomination dropping to a mere 37%. All told, even ahead of Iowa’s caucuses tonight Joe Biden isn’t the surefire bet all too many observers and commentators have been thinking he is. What follows his probable demise, however, is another kettle of fish we will be boiling down later.