Does Trump Have a 5% Chance of Winning California?

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Prediction markets are generally an effective tool for aggregating opinions about the probability of various events, and I have argued that the legal system should rely on prediction markets for making probabilistic estimates. Usually, I am inclined to give more weight to prediction market estimates than to my own idiosyncratic views. I have no special information on the Presidential election, and so I assume that the prediction market estimate that Trump has a 40% chance of winning the Presidency and a 27% chance on winning the popular vote are about right. After all, if I believed that these predictions were worse the ones I could make independently, I would have much less reason to believe that prediction market forecasts are better than those that government officials can make independently. And these numbers are not all that far off from the best independent forecasts.

And yet, there are times when I must confess to puzzlement in prediction market forecasts, especially near the ends of the probability spectrum. Case in point: PredictIt currently gives the Republican Party greater than a 5% chance of winning California in the 2020 Presidential election. Roughly twice as many voters in California say that they will vote for Biden than for Trump. My own independent estimate of Trump's chances in California: 0%. The best story that I can make for the Republicans winning the state involves Trump dropping out, Biden turning out to have Alzheimer's disease (but refusing to quit), and hugely disproportionate turnout as a result of the coronavirus. Each of these strikes me as unlikely, and the joint probability that these would also occur and be enough for the Republicans to win California strikes me as no greater than 1%. I suppose one could imagine that North Korea or Russia might threaten to drop a nuclear bomb on California if Biden wins, but the probability of that seems extremely small.

Maybe bettors really do think that Trump will be able to cheat. But it seems absurd to me to assign more than a trivial probability to the prospect that he could cheat and get away with it in a state dominated by Democratic officeholders. Sure, maybe Postal Service shenanigans might affect some voters, but it's hard to see it affecting one party much more than the other or being anywhere near the size needed to change the result in California.

Part of the answer, I think, is that PredictIt charges fees, including a 5% fee to process withdrawals. So, if you don't have money invested in PredictIt, you can't make money by investing with PredictIt and betting on the Democrats to win California. My suspicion is that if PredictIt did not have fees (or even better, used a subsidized market maker), the Democrats' odds in California would be higher. Still, that may not be a complete explanation. There are people who have money invested in PredictIt who are willing to pay around 5 cents of their captive cash for a share that will be worth $1 only if the Republicans win California. Meanwhile, it is not infrequent for a low-probability event to be priced on PredictIt as 1%.  Moreover, Predictit thinks that the Democrats have around a 98% chance of winning DC, and so market participants seem to believe that the increased support for Trump and Republicans in California relative to DC makes a substantial difference in the likelihood of victory. (This suggests, incidentally, that relatively little of the California prediction can be accounted for by the probability of cheating.)

My best theory is that there may be some manipulation in the market—that is trading at least partly for the purpose of generating excitement in the prospect that the Republicans might win California. If there were no fees on PredictIt, then such manipulation would create profit opportunities for third parties, who would take as many bets at these odds as they could, until the manipulator ran out of funds. But with fees, arbitrage may not be profitable, and so a little bit of manipulation can go a long way on a relatively thinly traded market, or at least can buy a couple of percentage points cheaply. It especially may not be all that profitable for market participants to spend a lot of time thinking about whether the price level reflects fundamentals. Even in a market without fees, manipulation can be at least somewhat successful if others assign some positive probability estimate to the possibility that the manipulators are actually trading based on fundamentals. Of course, if there is manipulation on the California market, there may well be some manipulation in the same direction on the main market, so maybe one should mentally shave one or two points off the estimate of the GOP chances of holding the Presidency.

Whether California has a 0%, 1%, or 5% chance of supporting the Republicans may well matter to whether and how some people vote. If there is a non-negligible chance that California will vote Republican, maybe there is also a non-negligible chance that California will be the tipping point state. There may be a stronger argument for voting third party in a state where the outcome is certain, and maybe there also is a stronger argument for not voting at all. At least some of the incentive to vote may come from the very small probability that one might be the tipping point voter in the entire election, and so it may matter to a voter whether this probability is strictly zero or 1 in a billion.

Still, absent dramatic developments between now and Election Day, I would estimate the probability of Trump winning California at strictly zero. But if the prediction market stays a few percentage points away from that, I must be wrong either about the California voters or in my general view that prediction markets will be relatively accurate even with fees.

NEXT: All the President's Papers

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  1. What is the ize of the average transaction on Predictit?

    If small transactions can affect prices there may be enough people willing to make a small bet with a possible big payoff even with bad odds.

    Casinos and lotteries make money, after all.

  2. How about regret insurance? I regularly gamble on things that I hope won’t happen, so that if they do I’ll at least have some money. If this is a common strategy, it could lead to certain possibilities being overpriced.

    1. In this case though, people taking out regret insurance against Trump winning California are doing the equivalent of taking out insurance against a giant meteorite impacting the Earth. The circumstances in which their bet would be a winner, are such that, in those circumstances, they could never collect their winnings.

      1. Insurance is sold on how they effect you in the present, not the future. You know NOW that your loved ones will be able to keep their standard of living because of the life insurance you’re buying today.
        Life insurance has no future value to the insured, who only collects if dead.

  3. There is a non-zero chance that Trump will win California.

    California being the tipping point state, well that approaches zero.

    1. Your take on the return to rotating blackouts?

      I’d be p*ssed, particularly if it was caused by a renewable mandate.

      And what would the “big one” do? Even if they were competent, your state/county/local authorities would be overwhelmed. Even in 1906 they were — it took the US Army to bail out San Francisco, and that was before there even was a FEMA.

      1. Re: Rotating blackouts.

        It’s unfortunate, but a recurring issue with liberal, one-party governments. Like in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and more.

        Electricity and other core utilities are “boring” work, but vitally important and require a keen intellect and understanding of the various parameters that go into keeping the system going, with proper maintenance, proper leeway for needing excess capacity, and proper billing. In many ways, it requires a “conservative” mindset. It requires keeping a reserve.

        But in California and other liberal one party areas, it’s not emphasized. “Green” energy or “Cheap” energy or other political mandates are more important. And it pushes on the local system. Maintenance is cut, so that cheaper energy can be available in the short term. Surge capacity is eliminated for “green power” mandates. Concerns over the need for proper billing are suppressed. Because the party in power knows that they can always just cut power to the consumers…what’s the consumer going to do? Hold them accountable? Besides, the party elite have generators and such.

        Maybe the blackouts will encourage Californians to vote for responsible government. Or perhaps we’ll just see more ballot harvesting instead.

        1. “It’s unfortunate, but a recurring issue with liberal, one-party governments. Like in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and more.”

          Unless the liberal, one-party government has no interest in the long-term survival of anadromous fish, as in the case of Oregon, which benefits from cheap electrical power being plentiful in the Columbia River basin. Until the snow stops falling in Canada, anyways, or stops melting.

          1. Oregon’s an interesting case example here.

            The cheap electrical power you refer to are the hydroelectric dams on the Columbia river basin. Notably The John Day Dam, Dales Dam, and Bonneville Dam. All of which went up before 1975, and before Oregon was a “1-party state”. (Lots of GOP governors back then). Whether those dams would go up in today’s environment…well, that’s a different question

            What’s more interesting is, this cheap hydroelectic power only accounts for about 40-50% of the energy Oregon needs, with a lot of power being imported from Coal plants in Wyoming. With new mandates for “renewable power” coming online which exceed the ability of Hydroelectic power to meet that mandate, it may be that in the next 30 years, Oregon will be in the same shoes California is in currently.

            1. ” All of which went up before 1975, and before Oregon was a “1-party state”. (Lots of GOP governors back then). Whether those dams would go up in today’s environment…well, that’s a different question”

              The GOP governors of pre-1975 would be unacceptable to the Oregon GOP of present day.

              “cheap hydroelectic power only accounts for about 40-50% of the energy Oregon needs, with a lot of power being imported from Coal plants in Wyoming.”

              Oregon has its own coal plant. They also have substantial wind farms in the Columbia River gorge, plus the WPPSS nuclear plant at Hanford. The power plants that are being built now are natural-gas plants. They retired the only nuclear plant in Oregon, the Trojan plant in Ranier, because it was unreliable and spent a lot of time offline for repairs. And BPA exports electricity to the California markets.

        2. Puerto Rico’s dominant political party, the New Progressive Party, is the more conservative of its two main political parties, and its members largely affiliate with Republicans.

          1. Enron owned my local electric utility back when Enron was still a thing They didn’t mess with the local power supply because they were afraid of being brushed aside in favor of a public utility. They spent big to overcome a ballot measure that would have done it.
            I also remember Enron Broadband, their abortive attempt to enter the ISP market.

      2. “Your take on the return to rotating blackouts? I’d be p*ssed, particularly if it was caused by a renewable mandate.”

        The previous experiences came from market manipulation by greedy assholes. The assumption, until proven otherwise, is that so is the next outage.

        1. PG&E, the major Californian electric utility, is under the thumb of the Public Utilities Commission, well-known as the place where termed-out political losers are sent out of pity by their former colleagues.

          The story I hear is that so many people were collecting reverse electrical charges for their solar roof panels that PG&E went to the PUC, cap in hand, asking please mister could they raise their rates to cover the shortfall, and were told no, cut costs elsewhere, and thus the tired old equipment and lack of new power plants.

          It sounds plausible to me, even likely, but of course I have no proof.

          1. “of course I have no proof.”

            Of course.

            1. Gosh that’s intelligent.

              Everything I said IS true, except knowing the exact relationship between known higher energy buyback and the known PUC apparatchiks telling PG&E “tough luck”. But they have many times turned down PG&E rate hikes simply because they can, and it’s just about impossible for anyone — PUC, PG&E, customers — to tell what the “correct” rates are, absent anything even remotely close to a free market.

              1. It doesn’t take rocket science to see that poles need to be replaced, and aren’t cheap. https://garrett-engineers.com/cases-of-the-month/the-cost-of-a-power-pole/

                Well if the rooftop solar people aren’t paying for the poles, who is?

                1. “Well if the rooftop solar people aren’t paying for the poles, who is?”

                  In a traditional business, shareholders are expected to pay capital costs of operating a business. You know, in return for being allowed to reap the profits.

              2. “Gosh that’s intelligent.”

                Of course. I mean, gosh.

    2. There is a non-zero chance that Trump will win California.

      I guess negative numbers are indeed non-zero.

      (I mean, he could win if he used the method employed by one of his fellow Putin puppets — Alexander Lukashenko — but I don’t think the prediction markets would actually pay up if that’s how he won, so that really can’t explain it.)

  4. How market not be perfect?

    1. When there’s an outside force interfering with the market and putting arbitrary rules and fees on it.

      For example : “PredictIt charges a 5 percent fee to process withdrawals”

      1. Which would effect decision-making, how?

        Behavioral economics has been a thing since the 1960s. It’s rather proves that real markets will not be perfect because humans are not rational actors.

        1. Nobody doubts that real markets will not be perfect for all sorts of reasons, including the fact that humans are not rational actors.

          “Perfect” markets are a model, not an assertion that reality conforms to the model’s assumptions.

          1. Sounds like you and AL need to have a conversation.

            1. We’re discussing different things.

          2. “‘Perfect’ markets are a model, not an assertion that reality conforms to the model’s assumptions.”

            Someone should tell the “free markets fix everything” Republicans.

        2. Sigh…. In this series, I need to explain basic economics to Sarcastro.

          Listen up little pupil.

          A 5% process withdrawal fee acts as a 5% revenue tax or 5% Tobin tax, depending on how you characterize it. Note, not a tax on income or profit but revenue. And it has an extremely distorting effect on markets.

          To give you an example, say you buy product A wholesale at $1.00 in Chicago, and sell it for $1.05 in Detroit (wholesale). Before costs, you would make 0.05 dollars on the transaction. However, if you throw in a 5% revenue tax, you owe 5% of the $1.05, and have lost money. You will no longer pursue this transaction. The market has been distorted.

          In terms of stock sales, or currency sales, 5% is major. Any time you went to sell a stock or currency, you’d lose 5% of the value in tax. The stock market would grind to a fraction of its current volume.

          In terms of a betting market, any bet with odds of 1:19 or less would automatically not be worth it. The most you would get would be a 5% increase on your bet, which would immediately be lost in taxes.

          Comprehend?

          1. A 5% withdrawal fee may produce different results than would obtain absent the withdrawal fee, but it’s not equivalent to a tax.
            Taxes are imposed by an outside force, a 5% withdrawal fee is part of the contractual offer that the bookie makes to its betting customers. The latter is not an interference with the market, it’s the market at work.

            If you’re looking for external interference with the betting market, that would be all the regulatory and licensing requirements imposed by various government actors, which produce barriers to entry.

            1. This depends on what you’re considering “the market”

              If you’re considering the entire betting ecosystem as a market, where there are multiple bookies charging multiple different withdrawal fees, and customers have a choice as to which bookie to use, then you’re correct.

              However, if you’re considering this particular betting system as the entire “market” and there’s no choice otherwise, then the withdrawal fee acts as an external interference, akin to taxes.

              1. There is no such thing as a functioning market that runs cost-free. Any market will have to cover those costs from participants with some sort of fees.

                These are not “external interference,” they are part of economic reality – transaction cost.

                1. “There is no such thing as a functioning market that runs cost-free. Any market will have to cover those costs from participants with some sort of fees.”

                  Why?

                  Let’s take a very simplified market. A child’s lemonade stand, consisting of the stand, and its customers. The Child charges $1 a cup, the customer pays it.

                  Let’s expand this model to an informal fish market, where various fishermen gather on a dock to sell their produce. No “oversight” or “dock manager”, just 20 or so fishermen selling product, and customers coming to buy it.

                  Does there need to be an external “fee” to protect this market?

                  1. (Moving this comment)

                    Um, why do they get to use the dock? No rent? Is it just sitting there without an owner? Who maintains it, assigns spaces to the fishermen, etc? Who provides scales to weigh the fish, and who certifies them?

                    On whose property do the customers park?

                    1. The dock is community run and maintained by the community of fishermen and local community, as well as the local parking lot. People and fishermen donate their time and materials to maintaining the dock. Fishermen own their own scales which they use to weigh fish for the customers, and people trust the scales are correct. Fishermen come to a consensus together on who docks where, when.

                      No rent, just sitting there, maintained by the fishermen and the community for their use on a volunteer basis. The fishermen have a vested interest in keeping it well maintained.

                    2. The dock is community run and maintained by the community of fishermen and local community, as well as the local parking lot. People and fishermen donate their time and materials to maintaining the dock.

                      And you claim none of that costs anybody anything? The materials are free, the dock and property couldn’t be used for anything else?
                      The time involved couldn’t be used otherwise – more fishing, boat and equipment maintenance – whatever?

                      That’s moronic.

                      Sorry, “little pupil,” but if that’s what you think you have zero business lecturing anyone about economics.

                    3. It’s kind of funny the AL is able to identify a very simple market that, nonetheless, has significant, obvious transaction costs, but doesn’t recognize that there are transaction costs….all in arguing that are markets that are cost-free while purporting to teach someone else about economics.

                    4. This was perhaps funniest of all:

                      Fishermen own their own scales which they use to weigh fish for the customers, and people trust the scales are correct.

                      Have you converted to a Marxist who believes that everyone will ignore their own profit motive, will donate to this “free” market just so it operates effectively (free riders aren’t a problem in this world you’ve created?) and, better yet, businessmen are totally fair. Next, you’ll tell us that in this market there is no bargaining or other market-type price setting, but the fisherman just decide what a fair price for fish is and, each customer pays according to his ability and gets a discount according to their need. A beautiful free market (by which you mean, a utopian Marxist wet dream).

                    5. Armchair, you clearly have never built or maintained a wharf (i.e. dock) Wood rots, storms damage, debris accumulates.

                      If it’s a *safe* dock, you have to keep replacing decking and the rest. Labor and materials. And then there are property taxes and pier space that can’t be used for storage of gear.

                      These are real costs that someone is paying — even if the fisherman, he IS paying them.

                    6. It’s a little odd that having a community-run dock, where people donate time and resources to maintaining it was so strongly opposed. It speaks to a liberal mindset, where anything that isn’t authoritarian and controlled from above is impossible.

                      Does dock maintainance require time and resources and materials? Sure. Just like the fishing boats do. And the fishermen have a vested interest in the upkeep. An unsafe dock will drive away the customers.

                      Could a fishermen have crooked scales? Perhaps. But then they wouldn’t be trusted anymore, and no one would buy from them.

                      A community of true trust escapes the liberal mindset. And that’s a tragedy

                    7. The dock is community run and maintained by the community of fishermen and local community, as well as the local parking lot. People and fishermen donate their time and materials to maintaining the dock. Fishermen own their own scales which they use to weigh fish for the customers, and people trust the scales are correct. Fishermen come to a consensus together on who docks where, when.

                      No rent, just sitting there, maintained by the fishermen and the community for their use on a volunteer basis. The fishermen have a vested interest in keeping it well maintained.

                      Mr. Marx had fantasies like this, too. Experiences in the real world,however, have generally not worked as well.

                  2. Every hour that a fisherman is maintaining the pier, or sitting there waiting to sell fish to a customer, is an hour that he isn’t out fishing.

                    It’s called “opportunity cost” and why most fishermen sell wholesale and don’t screw around with retail.

                  3. “Let’s expand this model to an informal fish market, where various fishermen gather on a dock to sell their produce. No “oversight” or “dock manager”, just 20 or so fishermen selling product, and customers coming to buy it.”

                    Where did the dock come from? Who’s fixing it after the storms damage it?

                    “Does there need to be an external ‘fee’ to protect this market?”

                    As a long-term question, the answer is “yes”, to compensate whoever’s dock this was when the market arose and to maintain it so there is a dock there tomorrow, rather than a hazard to marine navigation.
                    Have you ever lived in a coastal town? I have, and the one I lived in had another issue, the harbor needed dredging so that the ships could get into it.

                2. Yes, you are right Bernard11 = There is no such thing as a functioning market that runs cost-free.

                  If I am following correctly, there is less friction when private interests run a functioning market. This is where I interpret AL is ultimately going.

                  And to answer the original question: POTUS Trump does not have a 5% chance of winning CA. It is not zero, but it is way less than 5%.

            2. ” it’s not equivalent to a tax.
              Taxes are imposed by an outside force”

              Why would this difference that you contend is crucial make any difference?

          2. For someone being so smug, it would probably be best to actually understand the fee in question. Predicit charges a 5% withdrawl fee, not a 5% transaction fee. So you can profit from all sorts of 1% and 2% and 3% profitable transactions just so long as your overall return on your investment across a series of transactions beats 5%.

            1. Predicit charges a 5% withdrawl fee, not a 5% transaction fee.

              Maybe that’s why AL repeatedly referred to it using words like “5% process withdrawal fee” and didn’t once say “transaction fee.” Not that the distinction means what you apparently think it does.

              So you can profit from all sorts of 1% and 2% and 3% profitable transactions just so long as your overall return on your investment across a series of transactions beats 5%.

              This is nonsensical. You’re still paying 5% on the dollars emerging from that 1% transaction, resulting in a net loss of 4%. A second more profitable transaction doesn’t alter the net loss from the first transaction.

              More technically, due to this really cool phenomenon known as the distributive property of multiplication, you get exactly the same outcome by taking 5% at the time of each transaction or by taking 5% from the sum of all the transactions at the time of withdrawal, e.g.: 0.05a + 0.05b + 0.05c = 0.05(a + b + c).

              So other than the challenges with reading comprehension and basic algebra, spot-on post.

              1. You’re still paying 5% on the dollars emerging from that 1% transaction, resulting in a net loss of 4%.

                I don’t think you understand it either.

                There are two fees.

                Whenever you sell a share for more than you paid, or redeem it for $1 when the market closes, we charge a 10 percent fee on your profit. When you sell some, but not all, of your shares in a contract, we will calculate your profit or loss by assuming you are selling your shares in the order in which you bought them.

                We do not charge a fee on trades where you break even or sell shares at a loss.

                You cannot withdraw funds until 30 days after your initial deposit. We charge a 5 percent fee on all withdrawals.

                When you make a profit on a transaction PredictIt charges you 10% of your profit. So a 1% profit means you net .9%.

                The 5% fee Blackman refers to applies only when you withdraw funds from the system. Say you put in $100 and build it up to $120. Now you want to cash out. It will cost you $6, no matter how many transactions you made. In effect, when you cash out you pay a fee of 5% of (initial investment + net trading profits).

                But you don’t have to cash out after each trade, so the example you give, where a 1% profit produces a 4% net loss, is wrong.

                1. I don’t think you understand it either.

                  There’s nothing to understand — I was just doing the actual math on the facts jb laid out. And it doesn’t look like you’re saying the 5% withdrawal fee doesn’t exist, but just that there’s an additional fee. So that just makes the dynamics worse.

                  But you don’t have to cash out after each trade, so the example you give, where a 1% profit produces a 4% net loss, is wrong.

                  The dollars attached to that transaction do indeed experience a 4% loss at the time you cash them out. And how often you cash out is a red herring for the reasons I stated. Sure, hold off. Eventually you’ll either lose it all, or eventually you’ll cash out because you want the money. And when you do, you’ll pay 5% for each and every dollar that remains.

                  1. You said:

                    This is nonsensical. You’re still paying 5% on the dollars emerging from that 1% transaction, resulting in a net loss of 4%. A second more profitable transaction doesn’t alter the net loss from the first transaction.

                    This is plainly wrong. You seem to be both illiterate and innumerate.

                    You put in $100. You make a trade that gains you $1. Now you make a trade that gains you $2. Then a third one nets you $3. (I’m using dollar amounts rather than percentages, and ignoring the fee on profits, for simplicity.) Now you want to withdraw your money, $106 in all. You pay a 5% fee – $5.30.

                    You don’t pay 5% on each transaction. You don’t pay $5.05 and then $5.10 and then $5.15.

                    Contrary to your claim, you do make a profit overall on a series of small transactions so long as the sum of your profits on them is greater than $5.2632.

                    And, by the way, there is no reason to charge the amount of the fee charged on the initial investment to the first transaction.

                    1. Um, yeah. I think it’s now clear why you’re sitting in Joe Biden’s basement (I assume it’s not your mother’s at your age) lobbing out bitter posts rather than retiring on a private island after having cleaned out Vegas.

                      If you keep on throwing the same money back on the table, you regress it to the house edge very quickly. And to guarantee you don’t crater along the way, you have to have a lot more money you’re willing to put at risk than you place on any individual bet. Your series-of-small-margin-sure-thing theory has bankrupted tons far smarter people.

                      Hope that helps. And maybe consider going out and getting some fresh air from time to time. It might (and I emphasize might) make you a bit less of a prick.

                    2. You’re a fucking moron.

                      I’m not making any claim about “sure-thing” bets, just pointing out that, contrary to your idiotic statements, a series of trades that each net a small profit can indeed produce a net profit overall despite the 5% withdrawal fee.

                      You and A.L. need to stop envisioning yourself as economic geniuses and recognize that you are both innumerate idiots.

                      Asshole.

                    3. Life of Brian,

                      I second this sentiment:

                      You’re a fucking moron.

                      Unless you were…..actually, even if you were feebly trying to pretend you said something other than what you said to avoid admitting you were wrong.

                      First rule: Don’t be condescending if you aren’t absolutely sure you are right. (You entered the conversation with condescension.)

                      Second rule: If you are in a hole due to not understanding something you thought you did, stop digging. Just admit you were wrong and avoid everyone thinking that, not only are you hopelessly confused on the subject, you haven’t either the sense to even recognize you are confused or (assuming you do know you messed up) the integrity to admit your error.

                      But you came back and doubled down on further failed logic while hurling more insults at the guy who clearly does understand the math and the concepts behind the math.

                      You are a fucking moron.

                    4. I will not join the chorus calling Life of Brian a moron.

                      I will provide the harmony — Life of Brian is an obsolete bigot.

                    5. Just as an observation, I thought Life of Brian was an amusing movie.

                    6. “Um, yeah. I think it’s now clear why you’re sitting in Joe Biden’s basement (I assume it’s not your mother’s at your age) lobbing out bitter posts rather than retiring on a private island after having cleaned out Vegas.”

                      Vegas has surveillance to detect people who are defeating the house edge by using superior numerical evaluation. It’s hard to do because the house edge is substantial, but it can be done and has been done.
                      Among the other things that work for the house, most of their customers are bad at math to begin with.

          3. It’s not a revenue tax. You don’t pay it on the proceeds of every trade.

            From the site:

            Whenever you sell a share for more than you paid, or redeem it for $1 when the market closes, we charge a 10 percent fee on your profit. When you sell some, but not all, of your shares in a contract, we will calculate your profit or loss by assuming you are selling your shares in the order in which you bought them.

            We do not charge a fee on trades where you break even or sell shares at a loss.

            You cannot withdraw funds until 30 days after your initial deposit. We charge a 5 percent fee on all withdrawals.

            From you:

            A 5% process withdrawal fee acts as a 5% revenue tax or 5% Tobin tax, depending on how you characterize it. Note, not a tax on income or profit but revenue. And it has an extremely distorting effect on markets…

            In terms of stock sales, or currency sales, 5% is major. Any time you went to sell a stock or currency, you’d lose 5% of the value in tax.

            This is not what happens. If you make a profit on the trade you pay 10% of the profit, not the proceeds. Otherwise you pay zip.

            It’s only when you withdraw cash that you pay 5%, one time.

            You may want to apologize to Sarcastro.

            1. Note, I didn’t say it WAS a revenue tax, but that it ACTED as a revenue tax in this particular situation. Which is a person having money enter the market, making the bet, then leaving the market on the successful bet to return to the person. And 5% in such a situation is very large, especially for people to make a 1:19 bet, which would be essentially worthless.

              You’ll note that this is equivalent to the other examples I demonstrated. When you sell a stock, you obtain the cash value for the stock. It doesn’t “remain in the system.” You can do whatever you want with that money.

              I didn’t account for the host of other items, including the profit tax or the time/cost of money, or the time/cost of money in this particular market, or the limitations on being able to pull out money and more. Which all also affect the market.

              You’re correct that if you already have a lot of money in the Predict-it system, then costs aren’t as high. You’ll be hit with the 5% withdrawal fee regardless of when you try to pull out money, so it may make sense to try to “make a little more”. But even then, a large bet like this is a poor choice for many people. It’s got a fairly long time frame (3 months) and low payout. And if people are gambling with money already in the system, they tend to prefer higher payouts and/or more immediate time frames. (It’s partially a game for them). If they took external money to put into the Predict-it system to take advantage of the good odds, the process withdrawal fee would hit them again, and we’re back where we started.

              1. Um, why do they get to use the dock? Is it just sitting there without an owner? Who maintains it, assigns space?

                1. Prevents the fishermen from shooting each other.

                  Don’t laugh.

              2. What you said was:

                A 5% process withdrawal fee acts as a 5% revenue tax or 5% Tobin tax

                So now claiming you didn’t say it was a revenue tax is a BS distinction without a difference. You clearly implied that the 5% was taken from every transaction.

                When you sell a stock, you obtain the cash value for the stock. It doesn’t “remain in the system.” You can do whatever you want with that money.

                Generally, when you sell a stock the money goes into your brokerage account, and it’s true you can take it out without a fee. Why that’s relevant here is not clear.

                You don’t pay a withdrawal fee until you actually withdraw. You can leave the money in your account and trade as often as you like, only paying that fee when you cash out.

                Oh, and maybe drop the “little pupil” crap. It’s totally fucking obnoxious.

                1. “Generally, when you sell a stock the money goes into your brokerage account, and it’s true you can take it out without a fee. Why that’s relevant here is not clear.”

                  Because we’re looking at a betting odds here for a “sure thing” bet. But if we’re only looking at that bet, you need to factor in the withdrawal fee into the odds, and how it acts.

                  Let’s try this with a different example for you. I’m going to open Armchair Financial Services (AFS). I GUARANTEE you, that if you invest with AFS, you will instantaneously gain 4% of your initial investment as profit. It is a win/win. You will instantly have $104.00 (in your AFS account).

                  However, AFS also has a 5% withdrawal fee. And a quite limited selection of other financial services at…dubious odds.

                  Do you invest $10,000 with AFS? Why or why not?

                  1. I wouldn’t invest with AFS under any circumstances, fee or not.

                    1. Why not?

                      BTW, I never called you “little pupil”. You appear not to have returned the favor.

              3. “When you sell a stock, you obtain the cash value for the stock.”

                Less your brokerage fee.

      2. Just, the House Vig.

      3. Why is that arbitrary? Presumably there are expenses associated with running the system. These have to be paid, and that will impose some sort of cost on participants.

      4. So go make your ow gambling platform that doesn’t do that.

  5. Even if it turns out that Biden has Alzheimer’s disease the most of democrats and never Trumpers will vote for Biden. Some will vote for Biden because they hope that he will haves Aszheimer’s disease and be replaced by VP Harris who will then be the first woman and first black woman president. For many many the democrat voters the fact they are electing the first woman and first black woman as president is enough for them to vote for Biden/Harris. I personally think that if elected Biden will be in office for a little over two years. Then will resign of own accord or be removed form office because of Alzheimer’s disease. This would give Harris a maximum of 10 years to serve as president if she could win the election on her own.

    1. Harris has high negatives on both the left and right.

      I can’t see BLM happy with her trying to execute an innocent Black man…

      https://www.breitbart.com/2020-election/2019/08/01/fact-check-yes-kamala-harris-opposed-dna-evidence-proving-death-row-inmate-innocent/

      1. If you’re suggesting that Kevin Cooper is innocent, I think it’s pretty clear you’ve let blind partisanship- distort your thinking.

        1. If you’re suggesting that Kevin Cooper is innocent, I think it’s pretty clear you’ve let blind partisanship- distort your thinking.

          That’s an interesting take. Would you say the same of the Innocence Project and all the high-profile defense attorneys, law professors, etc., who have advocated on Cooper’s behalf for some number of years? I suspect the vast majority of them will be punching the blue ticket this fall.

          1. No, they’ve likely deluded themselves for different reasons.

          2. ” I suspect the vast majority of them will be punching the blue ticket this fall.”

            Along with the majority of everybody else.

        2. I can’t see the harm in letting a DNA test prove his guilt, then…

      2. “I can’t see BLM happy with her trying to execute an innocent Black man”

        Why would ANYONE be happy with an attempt to execute an innocent?

        1. Well, he didn’t say an innocent. He said an innocent Black man. Have you met Trumpkins?

          1. The majority of BLM, I suspect, are not “Trumpkins”.

        2. The lack of success?

          You do know that even in relatively “blood thirsty” states, the executions are always disproportionately from a handful of prosecutors who are way more likely to ask for it then their peers, right?

          And it’s not like we don’t have countless examples of folks (from all stations and lots of life) that are happy to help set-up an innocent to take the fall.

          Or to kill a person just ’cause they can.

      3. “Harris has high negatives on both the left and right.”

        And yet she is strongly favored to win in the reality-based world, if only because the opposing ticket is topped by an incompetent, vulgar, vainglorious, corrupt, reckless bigot.

        1. “the opposing ticket is topped by an incompetent, vulgar, vainglorious, corrupt, reckless bigot.”

          Reality doesn’t matter to partisans.

    2. Curly4 : Even if it turns out that Biden has Alzheimer’s disease the most of democrats,,,(etc)

      True enough, but the same is true of Trump’s supporters. They’ve seen their guy is a pathological liar, hopelessly incompetent & corrupt ( the former thankfully ameliorating the latter ), a truly loathsome human being, and as dumb as a box of rocks. Still they support him – in fact, many worship him as a cult idol.

      And the nullity known as Pence can’t count as an excuse either. Personally, I think it’s merely the entertainment factor. Why bother watching pro-wrestling when your president supplies the same yuks…….

      1. What the Trump fans love is the way their guy drives the libs nuts by destroying important things, because the libs care if the government works and the Trump fans already believe it doesn’t.

      2. Well, you have an angry man who, if you ignore his rhetoric and the screaming of people, is fairly close to George Bush in his policies, but without starting any wars (and actively working to end the ones we are entangled in). I don’t like the man, but his results aren’t that bad.

        On the other side, we have people who seem actively deranged. It’s been found that the FBI falsified evidence for warrants against Trump. The COVID response was hopelessly politicized. I am of the suspicion that if Trump said the sky was blue, the media would wail that it was purple. Then, we have the sexual misconduct and proven corruption of Biden (there is no explanation of the Hunter Biden situation that isn’t textbook “swamp”).

        The discrepancy between the Reade allegations and the Ford allegations isn’t absurd. It’s INSANE. Democrats insisted that Ford was to be believed despite having half an accusation (missing the “where” and “when”, making defense impossible) and contradictory evidence (people she claimed would corroborate failed to do so). On the other hand, Reade has a full accusation and contemporaneous evidence, and the response was silence.

        When you have someone you don’t care for on one side and arguably evil insanity on the other, the choice isn’t hard.

        1. On the other side, we have people who seem actively deranged. It’s been found that the FBI falsified evidence for warrants against Trump.

          There were no “warrants against Trump.” It was found that one low-level FBI attorney — not “the FBI” — altered one email that affected one of the FISA warrants against Carter Page.

          On the other hand, Reade has a full accusation and contemporaneous evidence, and the response was silence.

          Reade has a vague claim that is utterly implausible, uncorroborated, with of course no evidence, contemporaneous or otherwise, and contradicted by numerous other statements she and her friends made.

        2. “When you have someone you don’t care for on one side and arguably evil insanity on the other, the choice isn’t hard.”

          If you think the folks who despise Trump are evil and insane, you are going to hate the next half-century of American progress. Your side isn’t just going to lose the culture war . . . it’s going to get stomped into irrelevance.

        3. “without starting any wars ”

          We have ALWAYS been in a trade war with Eastasia.

          ” I don’t like the man, but his results aren’t that bad.”

          Unless you find economic collapse to be a bad result. Unless a loss of prestige is a bad result. Unless hundreds of thousands of dead Americans is a bad result.

          The guy started out with an America that was pretty great, and set out to make it Great Again. To achieve that goal, he first has to make it Not Great. That effort is right on track.

        4. “When you have someone you don’t care for on one side and arguably evil insanity on the other, the choice isn’t hard.”

          And yet you choose the evil insanity. Why is that?

      3. Pence is the type of quiet man who is very easy to underestimate.

        He’s neither stupid nor incompetent.

        1. Pence is the type of quiet man who is very easy to underestimate.
          He’s neither stupid nor incompetent.”

          Nor does he have any actual power. The guy who DOES have power is both stupid AND incompetent. Except in his own imagination, where people tell him “sir, I think you are the absolute bestest President ever.”
          You ever notice that whenever the President invents someone telling him something, that he wishes people would tell him in real life, he always says they call him “sir”?

    3. “Even if it turns out that Biden has Alzheimer’s disease the most of democrats and never Trumpers will vote for Biden. ”

      Partisans will support their party. In other news, water is wet.

    4. Dems would and a few of them have voted for Biden after he sexually molested their daughter on camera in front of the whole country.

      1. Trump fans would have voted for him even if he was caught on tape bragging about assaulting women.

        1. ‘Grab them by the pussy’ of an adult woman is hardly an admission of rape unless you use the new expanded feminist version where everything a man does is automatically rape.

          Regardless I think most people would vote for that over a kiddy diddler.

          1. “‘Grab them by the pussy’ of an adult woman is hardly an admission of rape unless you use the new expanded feminist version where everything a man does is automatically rape. ”

            Point to where my previous comment used the word “rape”.

          2. So let’s get this straight. Touching someone’s shoulders is molesting and diddling…but admitting to grabbing genitals is okay because it’s not rape, it’s just part of the expanded feminist definition thereof?

            Are you trying to be the worst person you can potentially be?

          3. Also: I guarantee you that if you grabbed someone by the genitals when they didn’t actually consent because you assumed they would let you due to your fame, you committed a felony sex crime.

          4. Also also, Trump creepily sexualized his own daughter, used his ownership of a teen beauty pageant to peep on undressed underage girls, and has been credibly accused by several women (including an ex-wife — later sort of retracted), of felony sexual assault.

            Here’s the thing. When people who legitimately condemned Bill Clinton’s morality pivot to defending Trump, you’ve sold your soul as shameless hypocrites. When you further assert that Trump is less culpable than Biden, you make a laughingstock of yourself to everyone but your fellow Trump cultists.

          5. AND you are missing the “let you grab them by the pussy” — “let you” means consensual at which point this becomes a consensual sexual act between adults.

            What he was saying was that they prostitute themselves to anyone with money and power. That’s something that people might be upset about him saying, agreed, but THAT is what he said.

            1. Right, by “let you” he meant “they give you permission,” not “they let you get away with it.” Because who can imagine Donald Trump grabbing a woman’s pussy without first politely asking permission? Are you serious?

              1. A partisan bubble has a powerful refraction effect on the light entering it.
                So yeah, he is serious… yet at the same time, not to be taken seriously.

  6. Even on an absolute dead-certain sure-thing bet, for the prediction market’s given odds to rise any higher it would need to be the case that there’s nothing else better one could want to do with 95 cents, rather than invest it into winning a dollar in several months time when the results become known.

    At that price it’s not a lot of payoff and it means tying your money up in that PredictIt bet for quite a while.

    1. Actually, you couldn’t really win a dollar.

      There’s a 5% withdrawal fee. So, if you invested 95 cents, and won a dollar, the 5% withdrawal fee would…put you back to 95 cents.

      1. Well, no.

        First, you don’t have to withdraw the money immediately. You can leave it in and continue to trade.

        And actually, you really would win money, $4.275 to be precise. Your gain is $5.00, and PredictIt takes 10% of that, $.50, leaving you $99.50. Later they will take 5% of your $4.50, or $.225.

        Even if you immediately withdrew your money it would not be accurate to say you hadn’t actually won on the trade.

        When you bought in for $95 you immediately incurred the $4.75 withdrawal liability. The fact that you made a winning trade only increased that liability to $4.975, or 5% of your winnings.

        1. The difference between us, is that I’m including the $4.75 withdrawal liability as part of the “cost” for the the trade and deducting it from any potential winnings.

        2. “And actually, you really would win money, $4.275 to be precise. Your gain is $5.00, and PredictIt takes 10% of that, $.50, leaving you $99.50. Later they will take 5% of your $4.50, or $.225.”

          Your math is godawful. You must have hated having to do story problems back in school.

          Your started with $100, and gained $5 more. Then they apply the fees, so your $105 in the system turns into $104.50 because thay apply a 10% fee on your “winnings” (10% of 5 is .5 and 5-.5=4.5, plus your original $100. When you go to withdraw your $104.50, they levy a 5% fee on that. This means that you can actually withdraw 95% of your balance in cash Giving you $99.27 or $99.28, depending on which way they round off. That’s a loss of 72 or 73 cents, not a gain of $4.275 as you calculated. Gambling losses are only tax deductible to the extent that they offset winnings, so there isn’t even a tax benefit.

  7. It’s a market and you can buy and sell at anytime; you don’t have to stick to your bet until the end. So, if I thought that Trump’s chances (as measured by the prediction market) were going to improve to, say, 10% between now and November I’d take the 5 now and cash out at 10 before the election.

    Is this so hard to understand? The market is not based on what participants actually think, but on what participants think other participants think.

    1. I mean, what you’re saying isn’t exactly wrong, but I don’t see how it responds to the post. It’s crazy enough to think Trump has a 5% chance of winning California. To think he would ever have a 10% chance of it?

      1. I might go for 10% of a 5% chance of winning California.

  8. In statistics it’s called “variance” and without going too deeply into the weeds, I will give a classic example of it.

    In the 1932 election, President Herbert Hoover was running against Franklin Roosevelt — and as we all know, FDR won in a landslide — it would be 60 years before the Republicans retook the House.

    But a telephone poll before the election showed the converse — that it would be Hoover and the Republicans winning in a landslide. And the problem is that not everyone had a telephone in 1932, only the very wealthy did, and they probably did vote for Hoover.

    One of the problems with our cancel culture is that people do not feel safe telling the truth. A lot of people who actually voted for Trump in 2016 lied to pollsters — that’s how he won when the polls said that Hillary would.

    And it’s even worse now — you can expect to be violently assaulted for wearing a MAGA hat — or even something that looks like a MAGA hat — and people don’t want to be violently assaulted. They don’t really know who is calling them, they’d no more admit to supporting Trump than they’d admit to belonging to the CP in the 1950’s, and for the very same reasons.

    Throw in yesterday’s blackout (and future ones), the squalid conditions of the cities and your fascist Governor and I could see a lot of people quietly voting Republican in protest of it all.

    Now combine upwards of 108% of eligible voters actually voting in some California counties (happened in past elections) and the massive fraud of dead people (and pets) receiving & returning mail-in ballots, and it likely won’t happen, but I could see a majority of living voters actually voting for Trump.

    1. 40 years. 1955-1995 democrats held the House.

    2. That ‘telephone poll’ thing was 1936 FDR’s r4e-election against Alf Landon. Of course the backstory was that poll was done by Literary Digest (published by Funk and Wagnalls). They had done polls, with accurate predictions, for the presidential elections 1916 thru 1932. The 1936 poll was not actually done by telephone — they mailed 10 million surveys to a population largely drawn from telephone books and automobile registration files. As it happened, that population was just a little unbalanced in representing the socioeconomic spectrum of voters.

      1. Once again, Dr Ed gets his facts wrong.

    3. “One of the problems with our cancel culture is that people do not feel safe telling the truth. A lot of people who actually voted for Trump in 2016 lied to pollsters — that’s how he won when the polls said that Hillary would.”

      Your understanding of current culture is unsound. The problem in 2016 was that there was a poor correlation between people who said they planned to vote for Hillary and people who actually showed up to vote. My guess is that a lot of people thought Hillary would still win even if they personally didn’t bother to cast a ballot. It’s unclear (at best) if the spectre of a Trump presidency might have changed their election-day plans, but 2018 kind of shows that non-partisan voters have an opinion and D-leaning occasional-voters can be motivated to show up, and are not impressed with Trump’s “leadership”.

      The truth is, although the partisans care deeply about which party controls the government, a good portion of the population simply does not. D’s and R’s both tend towards similar approaches to actually running the government. Clinton (the one who won) actually campaigned on a promise to put 100,000 more cops on the street.

      1. I have to disagree, my friend. My personal experience is that outside of conservative havens (the oil field, churches, etc), my friends whom I know to be Trump voters, myself included, are far more reserved. They will either waffle or refuse to talk out of fear of sparking trouble.

        And I live in Houston. The entire state is a comparative conservative haven. To compare, the West Coast has cities where there are active riots and police can do nothing as the DA has declared that no one will be prosecuted for rioting. When you have no public defense to rely on, why on EARTH would you risk making yourself a pariah or a target?

        1. “When you have no public defense to rely on, why on EARTH would you risk making yourself a pariah or a target?”

          I guess you either believe what your guy is selling or you don’t.

          You seem to have worked it out, though, since you’ve outed yourself here.

    4. “but I could see a majority of living voters actually voting for Trump”

      Of course, you also believe fairy tales are true; the birthers’ cause was righteous; and this Pizzagate/QAnon thing merits more consideration.

    5. One of the problems with our cancel culture is that people do not feel safe telling the truth. A lot of people who actually voted for Trump in 2016 lied to pollsters — that’s how he won when the polls said that Hillary would.

      Completely false. Nobody lied to pollsters. The polls correctly predicted Hillary would win the popular vote.

  9. That’s not an example of variance. It’s an example of what happens when you have a biased sample, very biased in that case.

    The poll was taken in 1936, not 1932, when Landon, not Hoover, was the Republican nominee. It was indeed a telephone poll. You did get that right. You’re about one for 1000 now.

    A lot of people who actually voted for Trump in 2016 lied to pollsters — that’s how he won when the polls said that Hillary would.

    No they didn’t. The polls were not that far off as to the actual popular vote, and some of the error was due to Comey’s late intervention.

    And it’s even worse now — you can expect to be violently assaulted for wearing a MAGA hat — or even something that looks like a MAGA hat — and people don’t want to be violently assaulted.

    This is ridiculous. What percentage of MAGA hat wearers have been violently assaulted? And how are you going to be assaulted for your answer to a telephone poll? And here you were, giving a statistics lecture.

    massive fraud

    Nope. No massive fraud.

    1. “massive fraud”
      Bernard, did you know that 14,000 mil-in ballots were invalidated by CA officials in the last primary election because they claimed that they could not match signatures.
      Any guess how that might play in various states in November/

      1. Do you think that means voter fraud?

      2. So why does that imply fraud?

        Are you claiming that 14,000 people tried to vote fraudulently? Bear in mind also that that represents .2% of mail-in ballots.

        1. Bear in mind also, that these ballots weren’t cast, weren’t counted.

          So it’s no different than an ineligible voter showing up in person and being stopped from voting.

          1. No. It’s no different than someone who legally votes who was determined to be sufficiently suspicious that their vote was discarded.

            Compared to signature comparisons, requiring photo ID seems ironclad. A signature naturally changes over time and can be affected by anything between fashion styles, artistic intent, and pen quality. The level of evidence necessary to invalidate an entire vote is barely a half-step over “none whatsoever”.

            So it’s substantially worse than something that the Democrats have fought tooth and nail against for over a decade as horrifically racist and unreliable.

            And yet it’s fine?

            1. “Compared to signature comparisons, requiring photo ID seems ironclad.”

              the problem is that photo ID isn’t provided for free to all eligible voters. Charging people a fee so they can cast a ballot is a poll tax. Does the Consitution allow charging a poll tax? Issue a free photo ID to all voters and my objection to the practice disappears, of course,so do the voter suppression benefits that Republicans expect from instituting voter ID requirements.

      3. Let me make a point, Don.

        I have a good friend who has Parkinson’s. I doubt he can sign his name easily or at all, and if he can it won’t look like his signature from even from a couple of years ago.

        So, I don’t know, maybe he fills out his ballot, or has his wife fill it out, and then his wife signs his name and mails it. Illegal? Yes. Fraud? Doubtful in any common-sense definition. Part of a concerted effort to gain votes through ballot fraud? Clearly not.

        So how many such cases might there be? Well, maybe one million Americans, about .4% of the age 18+ population have Parkinson’s. CA has about 19 million registered voters, so around 76,000 registered voters have Parkinsons. That’s a rough estimate, of course, and it doesn’t include voters with other health problems that might prevent a signature match, or make it likely that a ballot will incorrectly be called a mismatch.

        How many of the 14,000 mismatches do you think were caused by something like that?

    2. The polls were not that far off as to the actual popular vote, and some of the error was due to Comey’s late intervention.

      This is a popular meme but it has been debunked by Nate Silver et al. The source of the meme is that Clinton’s lead in the published polls dipped after Comey’s late intervention, leading folk to assume that Comey had caused that dip. But in fact the polls that were published post Comey, showing that dip had been done before Comey’s intervention. The meme is an artefact of the gap between taking and publishing polls. In fact polls taken post Comey showed a small bounce back for Hillary from the previous dip.

      There is of course a related meme that Comey’s late intervention was an anti-Hillary move. This is backwards. Comey was faced with the threat of the NY FBI working on the Weiner case leaking the fact that the FBI head office had done nothing for a month with the Weiner laptop evidence. Such a leak would have been far more damaging to Hillary (and the FBI) than what Comey actually did – announce the find and then announce it was nada.

      1. Nonsense:

        1. Comey acted to cover the institutional backside of the FBI against criticism by Republicans. I’m all for fantasy (particular re naked women) but claiming he acted to protect Ms Clinton is carrying fantasy to pathetic & ludicrous lows.

        2. There was a core of Trump supporters in the New York office already leaking – Giuliani was bragging about it on national TV. Comey was unable or unwilling to control them, so decided to cut his losses.

        3. You want low percentages? There was a next-to-zero chance Clinton would face criminal charges over her email because no one not-named-Clinton ever did before. Private email wasn’t the issue, since it wasn’t even illegal – witness Powell’s AOL account and the private accounts of Rice aides who handled all her email traffic. Sending classified messages by unsecured means wasn’t the issue, since every message sent was thought unclassified by the sender. Instead it was retroactively reviewed messages that had their classification status upgraded that was the sole question. And no one faces criminal charges for that mistake. If they did, we’d need to build a bunch more new prisons to hold them all. Also : Powell and Rice would have been equally vulnerable to charges. The exact same thing happened to them.

        4. And that’s just the beginning. Clinton was the recipient of all but one handful of the messages in question, which means the senders and every other recipient would have also faced those same hypothetical criminal charges. Remember, concerning classified messages there’s no security or legal distinction between normal State Dept email, Powell’s AOL account, or Clinton’s server. (Practically, the first two have been hacked but there’s no evidence HRC’s was)

        5. So scores – maybe hundreds – more people would have faced these mythic charges. Funny how that never came up. Go figure.

        6. So take that microscopic chance of criminal charges and add this : When Comey reopened the “investigation” he’d already reviewed scores of thousands of emails. What was the chance a few thousand more would alter things? We go from next to zero to zero itself.

        7. It was all politics. Agents in the FBI office wanted to help Trump; Comey decided his best play was to appease them. And that’s how he ignored Justice Department policy and swung an election.

        8. Most hilariously, Lee Moore claims Nate Silver supports his view. In fact, Silver said the exact opposite. Below is a link to his article “The Comey Letter Probably Cost Clinton The Election”

        https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-comey-letter-probably-cost-clinton-the-election/

        1. Got my Nates mixed. It was Mr Cohn.

          As for the rest, you’re overexcited.

          1. But factual. I can live with that mix.

            PS : Read Mr. Silver’s article. It makes your argument look pretty dumb

            1. I read it at the time. It looked mildly persuasive, though there was a lot of armwaving – it just had to have an effect, had to. The issue of the timing of doing the poll and publishing it never occured to me. Nor to your Nate apparently as he doesn’t mention it. And it is clear that your Nate is talking about published polls, as he refers to the scores in the 538 poll average, which is – obviously – based on published polls.

              But then a few days later, a different Nate came along with a different story :

              https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/upshot/a-2016-review-theres-reason-to-be-skeptical-of-a-comey-effect.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fupshot&action=click&contentCollection=upshot&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

              His yellow graph is most interesting.

              1. 1. Your Source – Nate Cohn – says this : “It’s hard to rule out the possibility that Mr. Comey was decisive in such a close election. Mr. Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by less than a percentage point.” Almost impossibly hard, in fact, but he does try his damnedest.

                2. Your source bases his entire argument on one Florida poll. He says the race was tightening, but so does Nate Silver. He says Clinton’s support was weaker than polling suggested, and Silver agreed. In fact, the only difference between the two is Silver tries to quantify the effect of the Comey Letter from larger to smaller models, while Cohn’s only interest is suggesting a theoretical possibility that the letter had no effect at all. That’s his thesis. You tell me how likely it is.

                3. Your Nate also seems to be directly responding to my Nate. Perhaps you noted Cohn’s article came just days after Silver’s? Of course Silver’s account said this : “Few news organizations gave the story more velocity than The New York Times.” It said the NYT gave Comey’s letter “blockbuster coverage”. It shows a screenshot of the papers entire front page filled with email stories.

                Then five days later the NYT publishes a Cohn story saying the letter may have had no effect at all. Now, that’s what I call a coincidence…..

                4. Silver : “But it’s not credible to claim that the Comey letter had no effect at all. It was the dominant story of the last 10 days of the campaign. According to the news aggregation site Memeorandum, which algorithmically tracks which stories are gaining the most traction in the mainstream media, the Comey letter was the lead story on six out of seven mornings from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4”

                5. Silver : “Within a day of the Comey letter, Google searches for “Clinton FBI” had increased 50-fold and searches for “Clinton email” almost tenfold”

                6. Let’s assume the letter did have an effect, Nate Cohn’s highly unlikely ( theoretical ) suggestion otherwise. Silver suggests an analogy from July, when Comey harshly criticized Clinton while declining to press charges. She lost 2 percentage points in the polls then, an effect that can’t be explained away by smoke and mirrors on “timing” (using one Florida poll). It’s difficult to see how the effect could be less in the hysteria of late-October. Theoretically possible I guess, but difficult.

                7. Those two percentage points alone would have made Trump president. It’s just simple math. You can see that, right?

                1. 2. Your source bases his entire argument on one Florida poll.

                  No he doesn’t.

                  Several other polls were conducted over the same period that showed Mr. Trump gaining quickly on Mrs. Clinton in the days ahead of the Comey letter. And the timing of these polls — particularly the gap between when they were taken and when they were released — has probably helped to exaggerate the effect of Mr. Comey’s letter on the presidential race.

                  But the Upshot/Siena poll of Florida is one of several surveys that challenge this interpretation.

                  3. Your Nate also seems to be directly responding to my Nate. Perhaps you noted Cohn’s article came just days after Silver’s? Of course Silver’s account said this : “Few news organizations gave the story more velocity than The New York Times.”

                  My Nate is the NYT’s polling boffin. He has nothing to do with the NYT’s news or opinion output. He’s also just as lefty as your Nate (obviously.) Your suggestion is that he made up his analysis to retrospectively defend his paper’s output in the week before the election ? So not only should we distrust everything Cohn says as presumptively hackish, but also it’s shameful that the NYT should have treated this big story as a big story ? Really ?

                  The rest of your stuff is simply repeating your Nate’s handwaving – it just musta hadda gotta have had an effect.

                  But the only actual evidence that we have is that it didn’t. Cohn, in his graph, shows the actual evidence of actual polls, which show no effect. Silver’s analysis insofar as it appeals to numbers, rather than handwaving, is clearly flawed since his numbers include polls taken before Comey’s late intervention as if they reflected public opinion after his late intervention.

                  Silver and Cohn obviously know each other well and it is inconceivable that Silver did not read Cohn’s analysis. Since as you say, Cohn’s piece was probably a response to Silver’s, if Silver had any counter-numbers to Cohn’s it’s likely that he would have responded. But so far as I know he didn’t.

                  I’m not saying, and nor is Cohn, that Comey’s intervention had no effect. I’m saying that there is no evidence for it having had an effect – rather that such evidence as exists, suggests no effect. But we are all entitled to handwave instead of looking at the numbers, so feel free.

                  So I’m also entitled to my own handwaving. And that is that virtually everybody who was going to be influenced by Hillary and her emails, had already been as influenced as far as they were going to get, by the July stuff.

                  1. 1. Yeah, I noticed Cohn mentioned other polls. I also noticed Florida was the only one named.

                    2. You’re still trying to obscure the obvious. Both Silver and Cohn agree the race was tighter than polling suggested and growing tighter still. That’s all Cohn’s data proves and no one disagrees. His only addition to conventional wisdom is suggesting the possibility no percent of the final tightening on Election Day was caused by Comey’s intervention in the election.

                    3. Which you make an hilarious attempt to defend: “virtually everybody who was going to be influenced by Hillary and her emails, had already been as influenced” Really?!? So let’s say a second Access Hollywood story broke in place of Comey’s mischief. Let’s say that was the lead story six out of seven days from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. Can you honestly believe that wouldn’t influence votes because everyone already knew what a loathsome shit Trump is? Do you claim something that dumb?

                    4. And of course any Comey effect at all gave Trump the election. Clinton lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania by just 79,316 votes. That’s what we’re debating here, right? That’s what you’re attempting to deny?

                    4. Silver’s take on the New York Times was scathing. He points out they didn’t even mention Comey’s intervention in their post-election analysis – this despite the paper pushing the story more relentlessly than almost any other news outlet, right up to the eve of the election. At the same time they repeatedly filled the front page with multiple email stories & shrieking headlines, they also insisted Comey’s intervention was too late to have any effect on Clinton’s lead. Instead the NYT said “the specter of an F.B.I. inquiry could cast a cloud over a victorious Mrs. Clinton’s administration-in-waiting.” They thought they getting a head start on covering President Clinton. And the Times had always had an ugly relationship with Hillary.

                    This that the NYT’s position – 191 days before Cohn’s attempt to retroactively defend his paper’s judgement.

                    5. This debate is very entertaining – particularly since there’s almost zero chance your position is true – but what’s really fun is your theory Comey’s intervention was pro-Clinton. Now that’s an argument that’s really black-is-white brain-dead stupid….

                    1. Put those hands down, you will tire them out.

                      As to 3. you are overlooking the fact that Comey made twointerventions at the last minute.

                      A1. “There’s stuff on the Weiner laptop”
                      A2. “Oh no there isn’t !”

                      Net effect on the floating voter – there’s nothing to see here.

                      Compare a late breaking Trump story :

                      B1. “Trump groped me !”
                      B2. “Only kidding ! My publicist told me to say that.”

                      Net effect on the floating voter – there’s nothing to see here.

                      You are comparing A1 plus A2 with B1, which is an apples and Saturn V rocket comparison.

                      As to 5.

                      Compare A1 + A2 with C, where

                      C = wall to wall coverage of the news that the FBI head office was concealing the existence of and refusing to look at evidence discovered in the Weiner investigation that there were thousands of Hillary emails on the Weiner laptop

                      If you believe C is better for Hils than A1 + A2, do not apply for a job in political consulting.

      2. “. But in fact the polls that were published post Comey, showing that dip had been done before Comey’s intervention.”

        this logic is crap.

    3. 1: We can argue if sampling error constitutes variance — qualitative researchers such as myself consider the two to be in a similar category.

      2: Are you sure you are not confused with the 1936 Literary Digest poll? That used telephone directory listings — along with other databases such as club membership listings, magazine subscriptions and the like. Yes, it predicted a Landon victory, but they’d accurately called the 1932 and earlier elections — and there was also a self-selection error and a few other things.

      I don’t have my quantitative methods textbook handy so I can’t check — but in any case, 1932 or 1936 would be a distinction without a difference for this matter.

      3: There’s even a name for what I am talking about — The Bradley Effect. That involved people telling pollsters that they were going to vote for the Black candidate when they didn’t. Here in an Orangeman-Bad hysteria, it’s the same thing.

      4: As to massive fraud: http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/NVRA-letter-CA-August-2017-1.pdf

      1. We can argue if sampling error constitutes variance — qualitative researchers such as myself consider the two to be in a similar category.

        Variance has a precise mathematical definition. It’s not clear to me how your argument would run. Sampling error may, probably will, affect the sample variance, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

      2. 3. First, that’s not the Bradley Effect, but the opposite of the Bradley Effect. This is normally known as the Shy Tory theory. Second, there’s no evidence that the Bradley Effect exists.

        4. Doesn’t say one word about fraud.

    4. “No massive fraud.”

      You misunderstand. When the President says that the 2020 election will be the one with the most voter fraud in history, he is not making a prediction. He is making a promise.

  10. I see Abramowicz rules out all chances that the 5% is somehow a centrist estimate.

    There is a realistic chance for Trump to win 49 states, and it doesn’t have anything to do with pro-Trump cheating.

    Consider that in Atlanta a far-left prosecutor just lost 70-30. Only radical leftists want what the Democrats have to offer, more destruction and granting of authority to barbarians.

    1. He could win Maskachusetts

      1. No.

        1. Reagan won it *twice* and Joe Sixpack is pissed.
          As are the Yuppie mothers whose children won’t be in school next month.

          We shall see.

          1. Something happening over 30 years ago with completely different issues and people involved doesn’t tell us anything.

            Joe Sixpack is just a code word for working class white men. The polls already show they break for Trump. But they’re not the only ones who vote. And we saw that in 2018! Why would you think that suddenly “Joe six pack” is going to overwhelming turn every other group to Trump when things have indisputably gotten worse under his leadership in the last two years?

            With this type of thinking I imagine you also think your refrigerator will magically refill itself. It’s completely delusional.

            1. Women are pissed that the schools are closed.
              Trump wants them open.

              1. “Women are pissed that the schools are closed.
                Trump wants them open.”

                Trump wants the schools open because having them closed is a continuing reminder that he didn’t think coronavirus disease was a problem that concerned him. After all, it’s going to go away by itself when the weather gets warmer. He’s already tried blaming the failure on other people, and couldn’t get the stink of his incompetence to stick to anyone else, no matter how many times he called it the China virus. The schools being closed doesn’t work in Trump’s favor.

          2. “Reagan won it *twice* and Joe Sixpack is pissed.”

            Reagan sold weapons to terrorists. He might not be even be electable as a Republican today.

            1. He might not be even be electable as a Republican today.

              What with being dead and all.

              1. “What with being dead and all.”

                You think that’s a significant limitation on his electability as a Republican?

                Jesus isn’t electable as a Republican, either.

          3. And they are going to blame that on Biden, rather than Trump, or Baker?

      2. PredictIt has Biden at 96 cents. I’d estimate that as approximately 4 cents too low.

    2. Well that’s delusional.

    3. “There is a realistic chance for Trump to win 49 states, and it doesn’t have anything to do with pro-Trump cheating.”

      This is true, if you take the simple step of relabeling “pro-Trump” as “anti-Biden”.
      Trump is jealous of the type of authoritarian dictators who can get away with jailing their opponents without fair trials, blatantly stuff the ballot boxes, and shoot journalists who won’t toe the “our great and noble leader” line. If he thought he could get away with that sort of thing, it’d already be underway. There’d be secret federal police driving around in unmarked cars, disappearing critics right off the streets, and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies.

      1. Some people LIKE troublemakers being arrested….

        1. He can’t be arrested until AFTER he leaves office.

    4. Consider that in Atlanta a far-left prosecutor just lost 70-30. Only radical leftists want what the Democrats have to offer, more destruction and granting of authority to barbarians.

      WTF are you talking about? A “far left” prosecutor did not lose; a far(ther) left prosecutor won. And of course both were Democrats; indeed, there’s not even a Republican on the general election ballot for that race.

      So your “evidence” that Trump could win California is that a very liberal prosecutor won a primary election in Georgia.

  11. I think you may be understating the probability of Biden turning out to have dementia.

    Moreover, “Still, absent dramatic developments between now and Election Day, I would estimate the probability of Trump winning California at strictly zero. ”

    Basically nothing that doesn’t flatly violate physical law has a probability of strictly zero. That’s well worth remembering. While it doesn’t seem likely that Biden will announce that he supports Antifa in overthrowing the government, on live TV, and then attack the moderator, it’s not impossible.

    1. I think the OP also makes the mistake of assuming that the betting markets are strictly financial.

      Lots of people bother to go to the polls to vote for candidates who have a chance of winning lower than Trump’s in California to “signal” their support. Betting on a hopeless candidate is another way of signalling.

      All sorts of psychological needs may be served by entering into transactions which appear to have a low pay off in dollars and cents.
      There’s more to life than money.

      1. “I think the OP also makes the mistake of assuming that the betting markets are strictly financial.”

        Did you miss the discussion in the middle about market manipulation?

    2. Between Biden’s rape allegation — which will have more traction on the left. and Harris trying to execute a Black man whom many believe innocent — the DNA test issue — I can see the Dems doing a Romney (i.e. not voting). And riots historically increase GOP votes.

      1. “Between Biden’s rape allegation — which will have more traction on the left.”

        If they stop laughing at the desperation of it, you mean?

    3. ” While it doesn’t seem likely that Biden will announce that he supports Antifa in overthrowing the government, on live TV, and then attack the moderator, it’s not impossible.”

      This doesn’t matter, if the people who create attack ads can sell that narrative. Given that they’re currently running ads attacking that huge tax increase that Biden created as soon as he was elected, and the fact that they’re currently running ads complaining that Biden is “too weak” (while the other guy needs two hands to operate a glass of water, and was shown having trouble negotiating an inclined ramp), they may try to run an attack campaign based solely on imaginary acts. They have to start by selling people who’ve been alive for the last four years that Mr. Trump is competent at the job and should retain it, so reliance on imaginary facts doesn’t seem unlikely at all.

    4. “I think you may be understating the probability of Biden turning out to have dementia.”

      I think you may be misunderstanding the relevance of Biden possibly turning out to have dementia. Which is nil, since it would only be relevant if he had a possibility of dementia that was higher than Trump’s possibility. A possibility that is so high, he’s already being tested for it.

    5. While it doesn’t seem likely that Biden will announce that he supports Antifa in overthrowing the government, on live TV, and then attack the moderator, it’s not impossible.

      If he did that he’d still win California.

      1. “If he did that he’d still win California.”

        Meh. Turnout would be so low, that predictions would all be wildly inaccurate.

  12. I really hope this Biden dementia thing comforts you as you confidently vote for a guy who bragged about passing the “difficult” cognitive assessment they give to stroke patients. Truly.

    1. Right.

      He claimed that the people who administered the test were amazed at how well he did.

      How anybody can think this guy should be President is beyond me.

      1. “He claimed that the people who administered the test were amazed at how well he did. ”

        It is amazing, given his difficulties in performing ordinary tasks such as reading off a teleprompter.

  13. I think the chance of Trump winning is probably around 30% as of TODAY. I emphasis today because 2.5 months is a long time in the election cycle and a lot can happen. With everything going on I don’t think it would take much to put a Trump re-election out of reach or to swing it the other way. And those are things that neither candidate can control. Trump is definitely down but not out. I would say this is Biden’s election to lose but he can still mess it up. Plenty of time for many things to change.

    1. ” With everything going on I don’t think it would take much to put a Trump re-election out of reach or to swing it the other way.”

      You mean something like 150,000 dead Americans won’t settle the election? Carter lost because of 60-something Americans, and none of them was dead, they all came home after the election.

      1. I’ve read this comments three times now and just don’t understand. Are you saying that all the dead Covid victims not being able to vote are going to tank Trump?

        1. In some circles, being President means the buck stops at your desk. There’s a story about a President believing so, anyway. When that many Americans get dead on your watch, they might consider your job performance unsatisfactory.

          1. Americans die every day. Compared to other historical events that resulted in deaths so far Covid has been pretty tame.

            1. How does it compare to the Vietnam War, JTD, to take one “event?”

            2. “Compared to other historical events that resulted in deaths so far Covid has been pretty tame.”

              I’m sure that’s a comfort to the dead people. And to the people who survived but now have damage to their hearts from contracting the coronavirus disease.

              1. It is hard to make an objective statement when someone is looking to make it an emotional political issue.

                Yes you are right. I am a heartless person who wants to see people die. What we should have done was just locked everyone is their houses for months on end because it might have saved all those lives. If that is your linear thinking there will be no convincing you otherwise. Damn the economy. Damn those people who lost their jobs. Damn those people who are now suffering from alcohol addiction or depression related to the lockdown. We might have been able to save all those lives if we just tried harder. Is that what you are attempting to get at?

                1. Your concern for these groups would be more convincing if you hadn’t just brushed aside all the deaths as “people die everyday.”

                  One of the reasons it’s difficult to take conservative attempts at empathy and morals seriously is that it often only comes in defense to well earned charges of callousness.

                  1. In the middle of a pandemic yes people die every day. There isn’t much one can do about that. But we can at least try not to make it worse by acting stupid.

                    1. There it is again. “People die, who cares.”

                    2. No “people die, stop making it a political issue.”

                    3. Politics is the means our society uses for solving society wide issues. People dying is very much a political issue. At least it should be in a moral society. But, of course, you don’t want it live in one of those.

                    4. What most of the people on that side of the debate actually believe is that if anyone is going to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, it should be the person who is pregnant.

                  2. Yeah tell me about the “morality” of life when the left thinks you have a right to murder an unborn child.

                2. “Yes you are right. I am a heartless person who wants to see people die.”

                  I guess it’s a mixed blessing that this disease is more likely to kill people who think (and vote) like you.

                3. “It is hard to make an objective statement when someone is looking to make it an emotional political issue.”

                  Yeah. Stop doing that.

                4. ” Damn the economy. ”

                  Odd, you taking this side of the debate. Had we taken a better approach to dealing with the coronavirus, the pandemic would be over and the economy would be fine.
                  Instead, we half-assed it and tried to wish it away, and now have a broken economy AND people who insist they have a God-given right to endanger other people by refusing to take steps to limit contagion.

            3. ” Compared to other historical events that resulted in deaths so far Covid has been pretty tame.”

              I compared it to the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which produced zero dead Americans, but still heavily influenced an election. Whereas when the Marines were attacked in Beirut, with several of them killed, the fact that Reagan responded by metaphorically fleeing the battlefield and pulling the rest of them out of Lebanon, that didn’t affect the subsequent election in any measurable way.

        2. “Are you saying that all the dead Covid victims not being able to vote are going to tank Trump?”

          No, he’s saying that idiots are going to blame Trump for Democratic governors ordering nursing homes to take Covid 19 carriers. And he’s probably right about that, the idiots are perfectly capable of blaming Trump for being a dictator at the same time as blaming him for not ordering Democrats not to do stupid stuff.

          1. Actually they’re going to blame him for his lack of effective leadership, his downplaying the seriousness of it, his promotion of miracle cures, his downplaying of masks, his downplaying of the severity of the deaths, his complete lack of concern for the deaths except how they reflect upon him, his inability to comprehend the fact that young people get and spread the disease, and the evidence that his response was driven by electoral political concerns first and foremost.

            He’s a stupid and immoral person and that was most evident in his pandemic response. Plus you’re only talking about one Democratic Governor. I expect your complete and total silence to the failings of Republican governors in other states. And at least that governor showed empathy and appeared to care that people died.

            1. “Actually they’re going to blame him for his lack of effective leadership, his downplaying the seriousness of it, his promotion of miracle cures, his downplaying of masks, his downplaying of the severity of the deaths, his complete lack of concern for the deaths except how they reflect upon him, his inability to comprehend the fact that young people get and spread the disease, and the evidence that his response was driven by electoral political concerns first and foremost. ”

              I concur in this assessment. After all, this disease will go away all by itself once the weather warms up, and if it doesn’t, you can just inject some disinfectants to make it go away.

    2. “I think the chance of Trump winning is probably around 30% as of TODAY.”

      You think there’s a 30% chance he and his pals can suppress enough votes to win?

  14. There’s another possibility tree that could lead to Republicans having a chance in Cali.
    If Trump dies in office at this point in the calendar, they’d have a chance to nominate somebody both competent and non-corrupt. (No, I can’t suggest such a nominee, but the possibility exists.) California isn’t as reflexively anti-Republican as Democrats would prefer to imagine, they elected (and re-elected) Arnold as governor, so the evidence is there that there are some R candidates that Californians will support over established D’s.

    1. The electorate in CA has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years, in fact pretty drastically. I don’t know an R that could win statewide election absent something like a general voter revolt at the ballot box. But, that said, CA does have a strong independent streak in it. Improbable but not impossible.

      1. ” I don’t know an R that could win statewide election absent something like a general voter revolt at the ballot box. ”

        I did say they’d have to find a competent, non-corrupt candidate.
        I’m old enough to remember when centrist Republicans could win elections in Oregon, too.

        1. There really aren’t “centrists” in either party now. That was a thing of the Cold War era that died a slow death.

          1. Perhaps those on the right would disagree, but I view Obama as a centrist: His enactment of a health care plan similar to that created by Romney in Massachusetts rather than the single-payer plans demanded by the left was hardly radical, and his focus on free trade in his foreign policy was an approach that many traditional Republicans would agree with. It’s true that at the moment our politics are highly polarized, but that’s because we have a polarizing President. If, as hypothesized in the preceding messages, Trump were to die in office of COVID-19, politics might well revert to the center, as they did after Nixon resigned.

            1. It wasn’t created by Romney. It was created by an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature over Romney’s opposition.

              1. Romney has changed sides so many times that I doubt even he knows where his heart is.

                Romnry screwed mass gun owners, badly.

            2. Politics were not “centrist” after the Left overthrew Nixon. If anything they went uber-liberal (or tried) in the intervening years. Part of the reason Carter was a one termer is because the people got tired of the failed liberal politics of the 70’s.

              1. “Politics were not “centrist” after the Left overthrew Nixon.”

                If you can be overthrown by having the truth about you being widely published, you’ve made some mistakes.

                After Nixon resigned, a partisan bubble started growing, as various rural conservatives found each other via the mechanism of AM talk radio. The far left receded towards the center because their galvanizing issue, the Vietnam War, had ended. With the right side pulling hard to the right and the left side retreating to the center, there was a bit of slide to the right overall. (now, the nice folks on the right look at the center and see “far leftists” because, from the vantage point way over to the right, it is far to the left to get to the center.

                “Part of the reason Carter was a one termer is because the people got tired of the failed liberal politics of the 70’s.”

                Another part is because the Reagan campaign convinced the hardliners in Iran not to release the hostages until after the election. By coincidence, as President he authorized the sale of weapons to the same Iranians to get some more hostages released.

  15. What on earth does it mean that Trump has a 5% chance of winning? What’s the probability space? This is a singular event …

    1. It means the same thing as when a weather report gives a 10% chance of rain. You evaluate the accuracy by aggregating many such predictions and seeing whether the events happen at the predicted rate. Given many 10% chance events, roughly one tenth of them should occur.

      1. “…when a forecaster gives a 10% chance of rain…” they are making an areal prediction – 10% of the area will experience rain, no?

        1. No. That’s not how it works. Weather forecasters take an area, and predict the probability of a given effect, not a portion of the area that will be affected. So they might forecast a 10% chance that a hurricane will come ashore in a specific piece of shoreline. In another part of the country, they might forecast a 50% chance that a tornado forms. They don’t mean that 50% of the county will have a tornado and the other 50% won’t, they mean that if the same conditions existed 100 times, they’d expect to see a tornado 50 times and no tornado the other 50 times.

  16. Betting markets are small, illiquid markets with high transaction fees. It is not any surprise at all that you sometimes see odds, especially for very likely or very unlikely results, that seem somewhat divorced from what the true price ought to be.

  17. People who bet on political outcomes often understand that polls and other predictive measurements often leave out crucial information, so a bet on where appears to be an extreme outlier can be a money making proposition.
    For example, if polls show a 1% chance of a Republican winning California, but the actual chance is 8%, then a bet that will lose 92% of the time is actually profitable over time, because if you are getting 99-1 on your money, but losing 92% of the time, you come out ahead.
    I’ve been involved in politics for many decades, mostly in California. Trump has a far better chance of winning California that 5%, it’s still very unlikely, but higher than 5%.
    I worked on the Bradley for Governor campaign in 1982. Polls had Bradley up by double digits the entire campaign, yet he lost by 1%. I was working as a door to door precinct captain, and I started to warn the people above me something was wrong weeks before the election. People had Bradley signs in their front yard but it was apparent to me they were not going to vote for Bradley. This is actually what happened. Precincts had more homes with Bradley signs than actual Bradly votes.
    It is because when there appears to be a media consensus on WHO should be elected, people do not want to appear to be against that consensus. They will tell you they will vote for a candidate they will not support, and will even put up yard signs for a candidate they do not support.
    Add to that, people actually getting attacked for supporting Trump, and you have a situation in California where there is much more support for Trump than is ever going to be reflected in polls.
    That hidden support is unlikely to have Trump WIN California, but it’s enough to take an extreme bet that would pay out huge if the upset comes.
    BTW, I have Trump winning over 330 electoral votes if the race were held today, and I have a very good track record of Presidential predictions.

  18. “It is because when there appears to be a media consensus on WHO should be elected, people do not want to appear to be against that consensus. They will tell you they will vote for a candidate they will not support, and will even put up yard signs for a candidate they do not support.”

    Yeah, this happens ALL the time. Whereas the competing narrative, that sometimes people will avoid the the bother of actually showing up, waiting in line, and casting a ballot if they think their candidate is going to win anyway pretty much can’t ever happen,and certainly not if their preferred candidate isn’t particularly strongly supported. ( like this didn’t happen in 92, 2000, or 2016.)

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