Biden campaigns in battleground Arizona as Trump rejects virtual debate

The White House is seen in the background in a photo this week.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

With 26 days to go till the election, Joe Biden is campaigning in the battleground state of Arizona as President Donald Trump says he won’t participate in the pair’s next scheduled debate.

A day after the lone vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, betting markets tracked by RealClearPolitics were giving Biden an all-time high chance of winning the White House in November. The former VP’s latest odds are at 64.3%, up slightly from his previous high. Trump’s chances are at 35.1%.

Data point

Polling avg. in top swing states

Biden +4.6 as of Thursday vs. Biden +3.7 a week ago

National polling avg.

Biden +9.7 as of Thursday vs. Biden +7.2 a week ago

Betting markets

Biden 64.3%, Trump 35.1% as of Thursday vs. Biden 61.3%, Trump 39.3% a week ago

S&P 500
+0.4% Thursday, +2.8% in 1 month

CBOE Volatility Index
-2.3% Thursday, -7.7% in 1 month

Trump announced that he wouldn’t take part in the next debate shortly after the Commission on Presidential Debates said the event would be virtual “in order to protect the health and safety of all involved.”

“I’m not going to waste my time,” the president said in an interview on Fox Business.

Polling average for top swing states

Source: RealClearPolitics

The debate commission didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about possible alternatives to the event, scheduled for Oct. 15.

Biden and Harris are scheduled to meet with business owners and voters in Phoenix and Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday. Biden’s campaign said in a statement that he “will find an appropriate place to take questions from voters directly on Oct. 15.”

U.S. stocks
rose Thursday, building on the previous session’s gains, which were attributed in part to renewed optimism over prospects for another round of fiscal stimulus from Congress.

Analysts say fears of a contested election outcome are fading, contributing to the positive tone in stocks.

Futures on the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX
show jitters haven’t fully faded. The November contract, which expires Nov. 18, trades about 13% above the spot, which is noteworthy compared to past elections and indicates traders see around a 50% chance of a contested outcome based on the index’s action around the 2000 Bush-Gore debacle, when it rose 26% between Oct. 6 and Nov. 13, wrote Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, in a note.

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