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US Presidential Election 2024: Electoral College, odds, dates, candidates, primaries and caucuses

Campaigns are underway ahead of the 2024 US presidential election, with both parties about to begin selecting their candidates for president and vice president. 

Donald Trump is running away with the polling to be the Republican candidate, with incumbent president Joe Biden expected to be the Democratic candidate.

Read below for all you need to know about how the US presidential election works, from primaries and caucuses, to the Electoral College and inauguration.

US election odds

The Republican Party are narrow favourites at 5/6 ahead of the 21/20 Democrats. Donald Trump is the 10/11 favourite ahead of 12/5 Joe Biden.

What is the Electoral College?

The Electoral College is a group of electors who vote for the president and vice president.

While voters vote for who they want to be the next president and vice president, they’re actually voting for an elector who has pledged to vote for a certain president and vice president.

The 538 Electoral College votes are split between the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia with bigger states like California (55 votes) and Texas (38 votes) receiving a higher number of votes than smaller states such as Vermont and Detroit (three votes each). Those votes are then tallied, with the candidate receiving the most Electoral College votes winning the presidency.

Critics of the Electoral College system say that it is unfairly weighted – states with the smallest populations are guaranteed three electoral votes – and that swing states are overly targeted. Nine states (Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) have voted Republican in 14 consecutive elections, while Hawaii and New York have voted Democrat in nine consecutive elections. 

Swing states tend to be disproportionately targeted for campaigning, with Ohio voting for the winning candidate in 14 straight elections from 1964 to 2020 holding the longest bellwether streaks until the 2020 election. Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania now hold the longest bellwether streaks with four each.

When is the 2024 US election?

The 2024 presidential election will be held on 5th November 2024. 

When is the new president sworn in?

The new president will be sworn in on Inauguration Day on 20th January 2025.

When is the Republican National Convention?

The 2024 Republican National Convention, which will see the Republican Party select its nominees for president and vice president, will be held between 15th and 18th July 2024 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

When is the Democratic National Convention?

The 2024 Democratic National Convention, which will see the Democratic Party select its nominees for president and vice president, will be held between 19th and 22nd August 2024 in Chicago, Illinois.

Who are the Republican candidates?

Former president Donald Trump continues to hold a strong lead in opinion polls despite facing numerous lawsuits and criminal charges; he is the strong favourite at 1/50 to be the Republican presidential candidate.

Nikki Haley is second favourite at 14/1, though she recently came under scrutiny for failing to identify slavery as a cause of the American Civil War, later backtracking on her remarks. 

Ron DeSantis was Trump’s closest challenger in the polls but the gap between the Governor of Florida and the former president had widened from around 10% to around 50% in the last 12 months, with DeSantis withdrawing from the race.

Ryan Binkley remains in the betting at 300/1, though the Republican primaries are largely being seen as a race for second.

Can Trump run for president?

As things stand, Donald Trump can still run for president. Trump was disqualified from running as a presidential candidate in Maine and Colorado, though the US Supreme Court will have the final say with an appeal being launched. 

Who are the Democratic candidates?

Incumbent president Joe Biden is the clear favourite to be the Democratic candidate once again in 2024, but has drifted from 1/4 to 2/5 while former First Lady Michelle Obama, who previously ruled herself out of running, is the new second favourite at 4/1 with rumours circulating that she may put her name into the hat. Governor of California Gavin Newsom is third favourite, in from 12/1 to 5/1.

When are Republican and Democratic primaries and caucuses?

The first votes to decide presidential candidates took place on 15th January with the Iowa Republican caucuses, which Trump won in a landslide. The Democratic results will be announced in March, with primaries and caucuses taking place throughout the country in the coming weeks and months.

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