Does Michelle Obama have a bona fide shot at the Oval Office? Rumors are swirling that the Former First Lady is considering a presidential run in 2024.

Feb 23, 2024 • 06:24 ET

• 4 min read

The 2024 US Presidential election is just nine months away, and while the odds have narrowed down on the two front-runners, a surprising dark horse has emerged with the third-shortest odds of winning the election: former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Although the wife of former president Barack Obama is ostensibly not in the running, she has leapfrogged everybody not named Joe Biden and Donald Trump and her betting odds have moved from +6,600 to +550. Is there anything tangible to this line movement or is it a mix of conspiracy theory and wish fulfillment?

Let’s take a closer look at Michelle Obama’s presidential election odds and examine the key obstacles that may stand in his path.

Michelle Obama fast facts

Date of birth January 17, 1964
Place of birth Chicago, IL
Residence Washington, DC
Political affiliation Democratic Party
Net worth $70 million USD
Education Princeton University and Harvard University

Michelle Obama is more than just the wife of Barack Obama. A graduate from Princeton and Harvard, she began her career as a lawyer but transitioned to the public sector soon after. While supporting her husband in his political career she was under plenty of scrutiny from the media but saw her popularity rise during her time in the White House.

While Michelle has avoided direct involvement in politics, she often advocated for her husband’s policies and helped promote his bills. She has also been active in philanthropy, receiving national attention for her advocacy on education and her public health campaign “Let’s Move!” which encourages a healthy lifestyle for children.

Odds to win the 2024 US presidential election

Candidate Odds to win 2024 US election at bet365 Implied probability
Republican Logo Donald Trump +110 47.6%
Democratic Logo Joe Biden +225 30.8%
Democratic Logo Michelle Obama +600 14.3%
Democratic Logo Gavin Newsom +1,100 8.3%
Democratic Logo Kamala Harris +1,600 5.9%
Republican Logo Nikki Haley +1,800 5.3%
Democratic Logo Robert Kennedy Jr. +2,200 4.3%
Democratic Logo Gretchen Whitmer +6,600 1.49%
Democratic Logo Dean Phillips +8,000 1.2%
Democratic Logo Elizabeth Warren +10,000 1%
Democratic Logo Hillary Clinton +15,000 0.66%
Democratic Logo Jay Robert Pritzker +20,000 0.5%
Democratic Logo Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez +20,000 0.5%
Democratic Logo Pete Buttigieg +30,000 0.33%
Democratic Logo Susan Rice +30,000 0.33%
Cornel West +50,000 0.2%
Democratic Logo Jill Stein +50,000 0.2%
Democratic Logo Marianne Williamson +50,000 0.2%
Republican Logo Ryan Binkley +50,000 0.2%

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of February 23, 2024.

Obama’s rise has been fueled by rumors 

There has been plenty of movement on the 2024 presidential election odds board over the last few years but perhaps the biggest move has been Michelle Obama surging from +6,600 to as high as +550 over the last few months.

The most shocking thing about that line movement is that the former First Lady isn’t even a candidate, and has always claimed that a career in politics didn’t appeal to her. Seeing Obama listed higher than Nikki Haley, who is still actively campaigning to win the Republican nomination, is both a testament to Trump’s hold over the GOP as well as a knock on Biden’s slumping approval ratings.

The rise of Michelle Obama hasn’t been completely out of leftfield since there have been reports (rumors might be the better word) that a shocking announcement might be in the works and that Michelle Obama could eventually end up as the Democrat candidate for 2024.

Those rumors have been fueled by an opinion piece in the New York Post, which claims that the plan is for Biden to step aside citing health concerns and hand over reigns to Obama at the Democrat convention in August. It’s worth mentioning that the writer of that article, Cindy Adams, is a 93-year-old gossip columnist and this might be nothing more than click bait.

Everybody loves a conspiracy theory and the idea that the Democrat party is planning to shock the world by announcing Obama’s candidacy seems straight out of a Netflix political thriller. It’s also a notion that could appeal to both sides of the political divide: right-wingers who fear that the widely-popular Barack Obama will attempt a takeover through his wife and left-wingers who would prefer a younger and more progressive candidate over the stale choice of Biden. Heck, even those on the fence of the political divide (or on the outside looking in from other countries) would likely prefer an alternative to another election face-off between Trump and Biden.

Obama may will willing to do whatever it takes to keep Trump out of the White House

For her part, Obama has always been protective of her private life and has previously rejected the idea of running for president. However, there are reasons to think she might consider changing her mind. While she has said in the past that her focus was on being a mother, her youngest child, Sasha, is now 22 years old. In addition, she has stressed the importance of Democrats winning the upcoming election and it’s becoming clear that she would be the Democrats best chance of defeating Trump.

Momentum on the Trump train is gaining with the MAGA icon now the odds-on favorite to win the election and the Republicans listed as -120 chalk to win back the White House. Meanwhile, incumbent president Joe Biden currently has an approval rating of just 38.4%, which is almost as low as the 37.9% he bottomed out at in July of 2022.

The majority of voters don’t want the 80-year-old Biden to run again, including 57% of Democratic voters and there are growing concerns about his age and his ability to energize the Liberal base. In addition, his statements about defund-the-police initiatives and the ongoing crisis in Gaza have lost him the support of the more progressive wing of the Democrat Party.

Michelle would be the ideal candidate for Liberal voters to rally behind. She’s an African-American female candidate that’s more than 20 years younger than Biden, and she has the political firepower of her husband behind her. Reportedly, Barack has already been testing the waters for a possible run for Michelle by polling Democrat donors. If there’s widespread support for Michelle within the Democrat party, there’s certainly a chance that Biden (who has often demonstrated a party-first mentality) would step aside.

Michelle Obama US presidential odds over time

Covers US presidential election betting tools

Democratic presidential nominee odds  

Nomination Winner bet365 Implied probability
Joe Biden -250 71.4%
Michelle Obama +400 20%
Gavin Newsom +700 12.5%
Kamala Harris +1,000 9.1%
Dean Phillips +4,000 2.4%
Elizabeth Warren  +5,000 2%
Gretchen Whitmer +5,000 2%
Hillary Clinton +8,000 1.2%
Robert Kennedy Jr. +12,500 0.8%
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez +15,000 0.7%
Susan Rice  +20,000 0.5%
Pete Buttigieg +30,000 0.3%
Marianne Williamson +40,000 0.2%

Odds courtesy of bet365 as of February 23, 2024.

Obama is still a massive long shot

Although Michelle Obama is a natural choice to lead the Democratic party, the probability of her winning the presidency is a long shot of epic proportions at this point in the election cycle, and the current odds of +550 don’t accurately  reflect that.

Smarkets gives Obama a 6.9% chance of winning the upcoming election which looks too high, and even that figure is much lower than her current implied probability of 15.4%. In fact, political analyst and former chief strategist for Barack Obama, David Axelrod has said that a Michelle Obama candidacy is just as likely as him dancing in the Bolshoi Ballet.

Even if there’s little truth to this speculation, bettors around the world have been eager to wager on Michelle Obama which has created liability for books who have shifted the odds in response.

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