2020 DNOM – 6 weeks into 2019 and 6 official (plausible) candidates

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As we begin the sixth week of 2019, where do things stand in the race for the Democratic nominee to be President?  Last we checked, in mid-December, Beto rode high atop the field, but a lot has happened since then!

When considering market pricing of a wide-open event happening in the distant future, it’s probably wise not to get too hung up on the exact numbers it spits out.  (That is, who cares right now whether Kamala really has a 25% chance or a 20% chance).  Betting markets are distillations of conventional wisdom in numerical form – and that means the changes in price can actually tell us something about how that conventional wisdom is shifting as well.

In this post, I discuss the fluctuations of this market and what might happen next.  In general, the story it tells is that Kamala has pulled just a bit away from the rest, with the Three White Dudes in the chase pack and the rest of the field bunched up together within plausible striking distance while Gillibrand has started to fall off the pace a bit.  So let’s review what’s happened to each of the top nine candidates since the beginning of 2019:

Kamala Harris – 21c

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I wrote initially of Kamala:

When I think of Kamala, I’m struck by how little organic interest there seems to be in her.  Maybe I don’t follow the right people on twitter – but where is the buzz?  Her tweets kind of suck too?  She’s got a sharp, aggressive wit but seems to keep it restrained.  Her public speaking is okay.  But really she needs a Moment or two.  People need to be inspired by her (the person) such that they talk about her, want to work for her, want to vote for her.

And this I think is the take that’s aged the least well.  Her strong rally numbers (it helps to announce in a major city of course) and relatively large one-day fundraising totals post-announcement vaulted her into front place in the market, a position she hasn’t relinquished since.

To be sure, her value also been aided by perceptions in mid- to late-January that maybe Beto and Biden wouldn’t run after all, and her price more recently has declined as the the white dudes gain back their value ahead of what look like more and more likely runs.

Joe Biden – 17c

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Is he gonna do it or what?  If he does announce to run, and soon, I expect his price will clear 22c at least on the initial announcement.  He is, after all, the leader in the polls.  But if he doesn’t?  Well then it will be very very interesting to see which candidates get his value and which don’t.  For now, his price has been steadily increasing in anticipation of an announcement.

Beto O’Rourke – 16c

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Gone are the heady days of 24c Beto, but so too are gone the sad and bleak days of 11c Beto.  If you look closely at his graph, you can see his price begin its descent a few days after his cloyingly Medium-documented road trip began (Kamala’s strength in her announcement hurt him as well), and things especially fell off when he said he was considering going into teaching instead of running.  And then you can also see the big spike up after his Oprah interview where it seemed more and more likely that he does jump in after all.  What I wrote last time still holds, although I’d maybe give a bit more credence to the idea that his family might keep him back:

Beto is clickable, likable, electable, _____able.  He knows it (he loves it).  The media want him to run (my god, the clicks).  He wants to stand in front of the crowds again (but maybe he doesn’t say this out loud).  His wife is probably against it (but what do I know).  He will probably run (the betting markets will go insane if he doesn’t).

Bernie Sanders – 15c

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Ah, Bernie.  He’s supposed to be running by now, and yet no official announcement.  I’m very curious to see what his price does if and when he does.  While I’m pretty bearish on his overall chances, he does (or did) have quite the legion of loyal followers, the proportion of whom is over-represented among market participants (most traders are young, male, white).  Could he spike to 20c?  Note that he’s already well off his lows of 11c when we had no reporting at all that he might run, so some of the spike might be already built in at this point.

Elizabeth Warren – 10c

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What I wrote about Warren seems pretty true still:

Her path – Put out lots of policy proposals thinking they’ll matter and drop out on March 11.  No, uh, let’s see.  Win NH and knock out Bernie, hoping he endorses her (their politics are close enough).  Carry MA and hold her own in CA/TX on Super Tuesday.  Hope the field is bunched enough that she can grind it out for a plurality at the convention.

She’s obliged by putting out several policy proposals, and, to her credit, drawing reasonably impressive crowds all over Iowa.  She acquits herself well in the town hall format and I still maintain that she’s the smartest candidate in the field.  In the market, she really benefited by being first – her price ballooned when folks saw the response she got in Iowa.  But the air started going out as more and more people jumped in and it became clear she was benefiting, in significant part, from just overall heightened interest on the part of the Democratic electorate (note as well she had a coincident dip in value as Klobuchar’s stock rose on initial reports the Minnesota senator was running).

If she can keep up this level of engagement, I think she could catch the chase pack, but I doubt she threatens the leader of the market until she proves herself with some real votes.

Cory Booker – 8c

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He’s in, he’s hungry, he had a great announcement video.  And yet his price really hasn’t done much aside from the announcement spike.  Of course, still a long way to go.

Amy Klobuchar – 8c

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I actually didn’t really expect her to run, but here we are!  She’s going to work her Iowa-centric path hard, but she faces the same sort of price barrier that the rest of the people in the thick of the pack face.  Her announcement spike was quite large though, suggesting that the market is receptive to the possibility of elevating her to the next tier at some point.

Sherrod Brown – 7c

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If he runs (a reasonable possibility) I expect an announcement bump and not much else.  He might eat some of Klobuchar’s value but really he’s in the same position as everyone else in this group (the initial rise in his value from 0c comes from when PredictIt added him to the market).

Kirsten Gillibrand – 5c

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She just really hasn’t caught on, and has taken on all kinds of water as more and more people have entered the field.  Her best shot (beyond a viral moment or two) is to hope the entire field flattens out and she can catch enough delegates to hang in there through to Super Tuesday.

The Big Unanswered Questions

Are the Three White Dudes gonna run or what?

If one of them decides not to run, who gets their value?

If they all run, do they take value from the rest of the field or from each other, leaving things roughly as is?

If and when PredictIt finally adds Julian Castro to the market, where does he end up?  If Tulsi is added, would she even see 3c?

Good luck out there, traders!

 

PredictIt Weekly Preview – Week of January 14, 2019

Oh god, do we have to bet on Brexit this week?

No seriously, after two great weeks to start off 2019 we’re now suddenly thrust into a situation with three out of the four tweet markets already dead or on life support and nothing else seemingly going on (save us Mike Pence).  The latest OPM shutdown market is now petering out after some rather amazing weather-related gyrations over the weekend (don’t ask if you haven’t been following that one) ending in a classic rules debate with smart people split on both sides.  You can still place a wager there that Trump and Congress sort this thing out by Friday (or that PI chooses to pay out January 14) but it seems fairly well-cooked at this point.

There’s always polling markets?

538 TA | RCP TA

True.  And at least this week we are due for some polls on the shutdown.  As I write this, Quinnipiac is set to release their latest in about an hour.  For the rest of your Monday, you have Scott Rasmussen / HarrisX, YouGov daily, and any other surprises like the Civis Analytics that got posted around 12:30 pm.  So there’s still some life!  RCP TA has fewer polls to look forward to (as usual) but with relatively few polls on the board at least each update will move the average a lot.  I honestly can’t believe I have to bet more heavily than usual in there to make money this week…

So yeah.  Brexit?

MP’s voting for May’s plan?

The vote (or first such vote) on Theresa May’s Brexit plan apparently takes place tomorrow, and we have a market on how many MPs go for it (in what’s apparently expected to be a losing effort).  So a good little one-day research project, if you’re up for it, as there’s still a bit of money to be made here!  So yay learning new things or something?

2020 stuff

2020 DNOM | 2020 USPREZ

You can always churn shares in the 2020 markets of course.  We should be getting the latest installment of the CNN/DMR Iowa poll soon, and I’m watching that to see how much pop Warren gets out of her early visit there (and for being the first big one to declare).

Trump is also down to a recent low in the overall 2020 market, sinking sub-30 for the first time since the market opened.  This I would expect to recover into the mid-30s after the shutdown is resolved and his approval stops taking on water.  Or of course keep falling if the slog of poor news continues.  (And/or if any economic indicators start to actually show real evidence of recession).

PredictIt Weekly Preview – January 7, 2019

Did you miss 2018?  The midterm markets?  That time that Rick Scott didn’t become a Senator on January 3rd?  The surprise December 24th OPM site update?  How about that last-minute Mattis market potential flip?

Well that’s all behind us now… the 2018 markets are settled and we’re one week into a brand new era.  Impeachment.  Democrats in Iowa.  The government is shut down.  And the weekly preview is back!

Will they impeach the motherfucker?

Probably not – I think everything I wrote about this last year still holds true.  Yet!  There’s clearly an appetite there among House Dems and there’s always the risk that Trump does something that gets Republicans to turn on him (or that Mueller finds more than it seems he’s found).  The biggest risk factor for his impeachment might be Mick Mulvaney – the new chief of staff is reportedly taking a more hands-off approach when it comes to managing Trump, and that’s already resulted in letting two of his impulsive decisions go through (Syria withdrawal and shutdown).  In theory, anyway, if given enough leash Trump could run himself off a cliff with Republicans (maybe by firing Jerome Powell?) and make impeachment a political possibility.

Elizabeth Warren isn’t that bad on the stump?

I think I’ve underrated her charisma in my initial take on 2020.  That – or she’s just the only Big Name out there currently doing any campaigning.  Either way, she’s up to the low teens in the market while traders wait to see what happens in the next edition of CNN’s monthly Iowa poll.  (Note also that she’s doing reasonably well in an early NH poll, especially among the more informed).  In the meantime, read Dave Weigel.

Shut.  It.  Down.

What day are we on now?  Who knows.  But the shutdown is starting to get real and Donny is looking for ways out.  For now, his favorite pet idea is to just declare a national emergency and use DOD money to build a portion of the wall (if he doesn’t get a deal with Democrats).  This seems… far-fetched?  But remember the main point of the wall for him is to be able to stand before his base voters and say that he delivered on it, so whatever gets him to the point where he can deliver that rhetoric he will take.  There’s also been some back and forth on “oh they didn’t want concrete so we’re giving them steel” which I believe is an attempt to build support for the Artistically Designed Steel Slats among the base more than anything but who knows.  Meanwhile Pence is getting nowhere with Democrats, as Democrats don’t see any point in providing any funding for the wall.  Anyway, let’s just hope we get a market where we can bet on when the shutdown ends, no?

Tweets and polls

RDT | PT | VPT | WHT | 538 TA | RCP TA

Well Trump, at least, is tweeting healthily.  The other accounts are in some weird pattern as they come back from the holidays and try to find a rhythm again.  Of course, WHT and VPT are agenda-driven and there’s basically no agenda during this shutdown beyond miscellaneous “Wall Good, Democrats Bad” stuff so maybe they’ve kind of thrown their hands up.  And lord knows what Scavino is up to.  Apparently we don’t retweet WHT anymore?  And we’re back to retweeting Donny, but only in sprees?  And then sometimes taking days off?  Be careful out there, folks.

We ought to get a few national polls this week what with the shutdown and all.  Something new, please!  The weeklies and dailies do get a bit boring after a while.

2020: It Begins

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Happy holidays folks!  It’s that time of year where we go home, spend time with the family, and decide if we’re going to run for President.

The skies are darkened by trial balloons, the magazines clogged with profiles, and Instagram saturated with Relatable Kitchen Content.  Voters in Iowa dutifully wait by their telephones to be polled.  Yes, the 2020 cycle is officially upon us.  And so we must Predict:  who will win the Democratic nomination for President?

I’m struck, at this stage, by how many people don’t really like their choices.  People kind of want newness, but also someone good, and probably the candidate should really be a woman (oh, but not that woman I can’t stand her), and maybe the candidate should be good in the Midwest, but oh I don’t know.  There’s no Barack Obama out there, basically.  That said, there are like 40 people thinking of running and one of them has to win, right?

And so let’s take a look at the field.  I won’t make an attempt at categorizing them (read Dave Weigel’s meta-synthesis of groupings others are using).  Instead, I’ll rate them on the two things that I think matter: charisma and identity.  (As opposed to all the bullshit that we tell ourselves matters like political ideology, electability, and so forth.  Don’t kid  yourselves, folks.  You use that stuff to justify the decision your gut already made.)

As ranked by pricing in the PredictIt market, as of December 19, 2018:

Image result for Beto O'Rourke congressional pictureBeto O’Rourke – 21c.

Charisma – very high.

Identity – mixed bag.  Young, new, hot.  But annoyingly also a white male.

His path – win Iowa, take second at least in NH.  Finish respectably in SC/NV and come away with enough delegates from TX/CA/MA on Super Tuesday that he can ride momentum throughout the rest of March to emerge with the clear lead.

My take – Beto is clickable, likable, electable, _____able.  He knows it (he loves it).  The media want him to run (my god, the clicks).  He wants to stand in front of the crowds again (but maybe he doesn’t say this out loud).  His wife is probably against it (but what do I know).  He will probably run (the betting markets will go insane if he doesn’t).

Beto isn’t Obama.  (I mean, seriously, can you imagine Obama ever writing prose this self-indulgent?)  But he can draw a crowd, hell he can fill a stadium, he can raise money.  He probably has policy positions too?  Not that I know what they are (and not that they would matter).  We’ll know if Beto is going to win when we see his first fundraising numbers.  If he’s maintained his support from his Texas run, look out.

Senator Harris official senate portrait.jpgKamala Harris – 17c.

Charisma – moderate.

Identity – strong.  New (enough), diverse background, black, female.

Her path  – Respectable finish in Iowa/NH.  Win SC/NV.  Win CA by a good margin (will be hard!) and emerge as the consensus choice for black voters by the end of Super Tuesday (i.e. get Booker out of there).  Then grind it out and make sure to win enough superdelegates in case she needs them.

My take – When I think of Kamala, I’m struck by how little organic interest there seems to be in her.  Maybe I don’t follow the right people on twitter – but where is the buzz?  Her tweets kind of suck too?  She’s got a sharp, aggressive wit but seems to keep it restrained.  Her public speaking is okay.  But really she needs a Moment or two.  People need to be inspired by her (the person) such that they talk about her, want to work for her, want to vote for her.  We shall see, but I don’t think you can play it safe and expect to win versus a huge field.  Sit down with Brian Schatz and learn how to tweet.  Something!

Official portrait of Vice President Joe Biden.jpgJoe Biden – 17c

Charisma – very high.

Identity – weak/moderate.  Old (really, a bit too old). Very much a white guy but also the kind of white guy that other white guys think will beat Trump easily because he will appeal to those Obama-Trump white guys.  A bit handsy with women in photo-ops in a way that will be a nagging Topic of Discussion and turn-off for many D voters (women are the Democratic base in the end).

His path – Swat that punk Beto kid aside by stepping on his spotlight.  Win two of the first four.  Emerge as the Establishment Consensus heading into and out of Super Tuesday.  Mop up by the end of March.  (By the way, with how front-loaded the calendar is, this won’t happen.  Some will drop out mid-March, but really there could be four or five candidates at that point jostling for delegates and no one will see a point in dropping out until April).

My take – If he were ten years younger, he’d be the Anointed One.  Half the Senators running this year wouldn’t bother.  But he’s not and so here we are.  People like Joe Biden (except for a not-to-be-ignored chunk of mainly female voters that find him creepy, with some justification).  He has the highest name recognition right now, his favorables are consistently good, and his experience will make him stand out on any debate stage.  I actually think he might be the closest thing we have to a front-runner right now, but there’s plenty of time for Things to Happen.

Bernie Sanders.jpgBernie Sanders – 14c

Charisma  – high.

Identity – weak/moderate.  Old (but also that’s kind of part of his brand?).  Already lost!  Very, very white dude.  Retains a hardcore lefty base though.

His path – top three in Iowa, win NH (anything less is an embarrassment) and finish top three in SC/NV.  Don’t get blown out on Super Tuesday.  Hope the other White Dudes have faded and that the black vote gets split.  Scrape by with a plurality of delegates by fighting hard in caucus states vs a big field and win it at the convention.

My take – I mean, he’s run before!  (So has Joey B.)  And he lost!  Brutally!  To Hillary!  He’s charismatic and he maintains (some) of his original lefty base the same way Ron Paul held onto his libertarian base.  But he won’t be the non-Hillary like he was in 2016.  And honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose not to run, actually.  But if he does run, and (as I lay out above) no one separates themselves from the field by the end of March, he is stubborn enough to stick around and try to win some caucuses and fight it out at the convention.  Which would be an amazing outcome as far as betting markets go, anyway.

Amy Klobuchar, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpgAmy Klobuchar – 10c

Charisma – low/moderate.

Identity – strong.  Female, midwestern-moderate-white (to win back WI/MI/PA), nice, new(ish), the anti-Trump.

Her path – Actually run, win IA, top three NH, survive SC/NV, survive super Tuesday, hope to emerge atop the field by mid-March or at least be among the top three going into a split convention and hope the superdelegates pick her.

My take – why not Klobuchar?  That seems to be what people say when they’re reaching for a candidate they might like (but don’t know much about) because the others aren’t really doing much for them.  I like her – who doesn’t?  But my sense is she’ll struggle to raise money, stand out from the crowd, and catch fire.  Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know.  She certainly stands a chance in a crowded field where anything can happen – and she also certainly might decide not to run at all.

Cory Booker, official portrait, 114th Congress.jpgCory Booker – 8c

Charisma – moderate/high.  He really likes the stage but has a way of extemporizing his way into wide-eyed word salads.

Identity – moderate/strong.  He’s black, but that doesn’t mean he automatically gets the black vote.

His path – hope that he pops.  Hope that he wins SC/NV.  Hope that the field is unsettled by the end of March and that he’s still in the picture.  Win a split convention, or, in some cases, actually win outright if the right combination of candidates quit early (Kamala, Beto, and Biden).

My take – He’s really not Obama, which is the inescapable (and clearly racist) comparison that he’ll have to deal with.  But also kind of true!  He has the potential but his delivery isn’t always there.  He exudes passion but not vision.  And I don’t think he has a national base.  His biggest strength is that he’s really hungry, and unlike the somewhat more cautiously predisposed Kamala/Klobuchar/Warren he will take the risks needed to get himself into the spotlight.  I can see him enjoying the campaign in a way that others won’t.  I’m skeptical that he wins, but I think he will have his moments.

Elizabeth Warren, official portrait, 114th Congress.jpgElizabeth Warren – 8c

Charisma – moderate.

Identity – moderate.  She’s a she, but she’s also not well-liked.

Her path – Put out lots of policy proposals thinking they’ll matter and drop out on March 11.  No, uh, let’s see.  Win NH and knock out Bernie, hoping he endorses her (their politics are close enough).  Carry MA and hold her own in CA/TX on Super Tuesday.  Hope the field is bunched enough that she can grind it out for a plurality at the convention.

My take – People dislike Warren in a way that’s quite reminiscent of the sexist ways they disliked Hillary Clinton.  Men will bring up the sound of Warren’s voice (just like they did Clinton’s).  And she does have an anxious energy at times.  Yet she’s probably the smartest potential candidate out there (though unlike Obama she ain’t a cool academic).  Put Warren’s ideas in Bernie’s mouth and his ideas in hers and people will take whatever comes out of Bernie over whatever comes out of her every time (this is my central theory of politics in a nutshell).

I think Warren runs but I hope she runs like an underdog because she is one.  Fuck the cautious HRC approach, meetings, slogans, debating policy ideas.  Go hard.  Own the intensity and carve out an identity from it.  Eschew the overproduced videos, write your own tweets, embrace your inner narcissist and see where it goes.  Of course, none of this will happen.

 

The Rest

Oh, who knows.  Mike Bloomberg?  Yeah I dunno.  Tom Steyer?  Ugh.  Oprah?  This would be amazing (and she’d vault to the top tier).  The Rock?  No, but lol.

I have an eye on Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Martin O’Malley, and Julian Castro but really it’s tough to win from nowhere at this point.  Trump at least had national name recognition and brand.  For contenders to emerge from this tier they need to somehow get above 1% in the national polls, get on the debate stage, and make something happen.  Or maybe that’s too 2012 of a path.  Maybe they need to do some crazy shit on Instagram?

 

How to gamble on this mess

Honestly it’s December 2018 why pick a winner and marry that position?  Play the swings and churn shares during the lulls; there’s not even a point to starting on a big neg-risk position now, in my opinion.

January/February/March is decision and announcement time, so expect those markets to find their resolutions (and for candidates’ prices to pop a bit when they’re in the news).  After that, watch the polls and social media.  Is someone catching fire?  Building a loyal, Bernie-bro-like fanbase?  Expect their price to become inflated.  But ultimately it’s gonna take until September before we start getting a clear idea of what’s happening, so settle in folks.

MS Special Run-off Election Preview

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Results

NYT | DDHQ | CNN | SoS

Round 1: NYT | CNN

Markets

Espy v Hyde-Smith | DvR |GOPSEN | MoV | Counties | Turnout

Preview

Will Espy pull off a miracle upset?  Well, probably not.  He needs to maintain or boost turnout in the delta, the black belt, and in Jackson compared to round one while hoping that rural white turnout declines such that the margins in Biloxi, Tupelo, and counties like Rankin and Pearl River aren’t enough to bury him.  Some turnout decline is expected in a run-off, but Espy really needs a perfect storm to pull this off, his opponent’s gaffes notwithstanding.

Elsewhere on PI

It’s been a while since a weekly preview (I blame Thanksgiving travel) but basically we’re looking at a normal RDT finish, a potentially exciting PT finish, and boring struggles to escape B1 in WHT and VPT.  Meanwhile if you want to sink your teeth into a rules debate, there’s a great one in Trump testify (a bit of a quiet simmer at the moment).  Manafort is in the news so his markets are jittering around a bit as people wonder if he’ll catch the pardon he’s been fishing for (supposedly).

 

jipkin’s PredictIt Preview – week of 11/12/2018

(New to PredictIt?  See here for brief overview of what the site is.)

Midterms Mayhem

How’s everybody feeling?  Did we all make riches upon riches last week?  Congratulations to those that did and to those that didn’t, it’s a new week and it’s time to recoup!  Personally I’m rather “meh”.  Made money of course (technically my best week ever on PredictIt) but not nearly as much as I should have given that I saw several very profitable spots as they happened but was (as usual) unable to pull the trigger.  My big missed opportunities of the night:

  • AZSEN (should have double-maxed in single digits, even though McSally was still favored at the time it was hugely +EV [expected value])
  • Should also have maxed Seat Flips and GOPSEN on the AZSEN flip
  • Should have maxed Tester when his price panicked into the 50s (and accordingly in GOPSEN; Seat Flips).
  • Should have gone harder in WIGOV, where it was obvious the missing batch of votes would flip the race.
  • Should have gone harder in CTGOV, where it was obvious the vote out would flip the market.
  • Should have gone harder in GA06 because all the results sites were behind the Secretary of State which was showing a virtually tied race despite the market being 70/30 for Handel.
  • Should have fished for shares at 5-10c instead of 1-3c in the California markets.  I did at least hold my CA-45 Dem shares instead of dumping them.
  • Plenty of other little subpar decisions.

Midterm Mop-up

But all of that is (mostly) behind us.  This week we continue with mop-up in the midterms, where most of the action so far has been in AZSEN (all but over) and AZSEN MoV (getting to be over – needs the fabled McSally-favored buckets of votes in Maricopa to finally show up to avoid getting to 1.8% or more).  But it’s also worth keeping your eye this week on results reported out of UT04, NY22, TX23, the Californias (CA39 and CA45 especially), and maybe even GA07.  Flips are still technically possible in all of these.  In principle they can affect DEMHOUSE, but that one seems all but over.

I also hear that we might get a House popular vote market today or this week, which will be very interesting to play, and if you really need a new election there’s always the Espy v. Hyde-Smith run-off, which has become a touch spicier after Senator Hyde-Smith joked about attending a public hanging (apparently that’s a figure of speech???).

Tweets

(New to tweet markets?  Check out my guides starting here.)

RDT | PT | VPT | WHT

Man it feels weird to be thinking about tweets again.  Donny’s got a lot of work to do to escape B1 and while I’m praying he finds two retweet sprees in him (of random stuff in his feed, maybe?) I also don’t really see it.  Over in Mikey land (which happens to be Asia this week), people are bullish his spate of meetings with foreign leaders will produce a big week.  I don’t disagree, but I’d also like to see him hit up plenty of retweets as well just to ensure that he gets there.

Finally WHT/PT are in strange spots where PT bettors think we’re going high and WHT bettors think we’re going low (odd given their correlation).  Personally I think WHT has been lulled into a sense of complacency by how slow the pre-election weeks were and B1 might get punished there.  Or my handful of NO shares gets cucked.  I haven’t looked up what’s on the agenda anyway so it might just be a quiet week after all.

Polls

(New to polling markets?  Check out my guides starting here.)

538 TA | RCP TA | Ras | RCP EoM TA

RIP generic ballot markets.  Also are we even going to get any polls?  Seems like it will just be the usual weeklies and not much else.  Maybe the biggest question of them all: does RCP update their average?  They haven’t touched it since Tuesday, much to the chagrin of last week’s market.  Could produce quite the memes if nothing happens this week too…   Okay nevermind literally as I finished the “…” there we got the update.  Back to business as usual.

 

Disclaimer: I probably have positions or intend to take positions in just about all the markets I discuss herein.  You should always do your own research prior to making any investment decision. You should consider my advice and knowledge I share to be fundamentally biased in its presentation and selection by my own financial incentives.  While I do not knowingly lie I certainly do knowingly omit information that I think gives me an edge.

What to Buy, What to Buy

One week to go and oh my god what should I bet on???

There’s a dizzyingly wonderful surfeit of PredictIt markets to trade in this election.  While I created The Spreadsheet in part to help people find ones that interest them, it occurs to me that even that can be a bit of information overload.  So in this post, I’ll go through and package together a few market gift baskets to fit any trader’s needs.

Ultra-Safe Free* Money

Do you hate risk?  Does the idea of a 1-5% return sound just fine and dandy to you?  Do you think Bernie Sanders is going to be re-elected?  (He is).  Well then do I have some markets for you!

House: CO-05, CT-05, FL-17, MD-06, MS-03, NY-09, NY-14, PA-09PA-15, SC-04, TX-05, TX-06, TX-29.  Throw in NH-01, NJ-02, PA-06, and PA-17 if you want to live a little and maybe tack on MN-07 if there’s still a part of you that realizes just a bit of risk is good in life.

Senate: Dianne Feinstein, Angus King, Elizabeth Warren, Deb Fischer, Bernie Sanders, and Tim KaineMartin Heinrich as long as you can convince yourself the Gary Johnson boogeyman ain’t gonna get ya (he won’t).

Governor: California, ColoradoIllinois, Maryland, Tennessee, Rhode IslandSouth Carolina.  A case to be made for Arizona, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania but those are one tick up on the spiciness scale so don’t go too crazy now!

Wow there are a lot of these!  Go get yourself some pennies!

*Don’t hate me if one of these flips, see the disclaimer at the bottom, etc.

“Conventional Wisdom is Never Wrong” 

Want to make a lot of bets that should almost certainly win except for one or two that you can’t predict ahead of time and end up costing you everything when you can’t escape in time?  What’s a big election night without a little salt anyway?  Here are the markets where the favorites *should* win except some are underpriced and others are correctly priced and there are at least conceivable scenarios where any of them flip.

House: AZ-02, CA-21, CA-22, CA-49, CO-06, IA-01, MN-02, NJ-11, TX-21, TX-23, VA-10.

Senate:  Debbie Stabenow, Tina Smith, Cindy-Hyde Smith, Bob Menendez, Kevin Cramer, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Jr., Marsha Blackburn, Ted Cruz, Joe Manchin, Tammy Baldwin.

Governor: Maine, Michigan, Minnesota.

If you read this list and thought “Wait a minute you idiot, _______ could totally lose” then I did a good job.  The favorite wins in most of these, but I’ll stick my neck out and predict at least one of these flips.

The Liberal Dreamcrusher

Want to make libs like me cry like it’s 2016 all over again?  Well, you’ll find plenty of your kindred spirits in places like GOPSEN and GOPHOUSE.  But we need to go beyond that.  My picks for you for the ultimate in election night schadenfreude:

  • Obviously, you’re (already) betting on McSally in AZSEN, Cruz in TXSEN, DeSantis in FLGOV, Kemp in GAGOV, and Hawley in MOSEN.
  • In the House, you want Andy Barr in KY-06 (if you’re going full dreamcrusher you gotta pick the R in the first big House race of the night).  You want Dave Brat in VA-07.  You want John Faso in NY-19.  And you even want Carol Miller in WV-03 (blue dog democrats must also have their hearts crushed).
  • Why not get a little bit aggressive in the House?  Jason Lewis, the misogynist in MN-02 deserves your bet.  (As do, of course, Duncan Hunter in CA-50 and Chris Collins in NY-27 but these aren’t aggressive bets).  And let’s throw in a bet on Julia Salazar in FL-27 – how great would it be if a former Clintonite loses in a District with a huge Dem lean?
  • You already knew this, but Dems want Kobach to lose which means you will delight in his KSGOV victory.  But why stop there?  Maximize your tear-harvesting with bets against Kate Brown in ORGOV and on Scott Walker in WIGOV.
  • Hey!  I just realized you’re probably the type that wants to bet against women doing well this cycle.  Well take the winnings you’ve liberated from the rest of us soyboys and go spend it betting against women making big gains in the House, Senate, and Governor’s mansions.
  • Finally, don’t bet on huge R gains in GOPHOUSE and GOPSEN.  You may be motivated purely by partisanship but you’re not stupid.  Instead, a carefully placed bet on 217-225 in GOPHOUSE is probably worth it to you if you really want to bet on them hanging on (cheaper than the other contracts), while 53-55 seems like the sweet spot in GOPSEN.  And what are Dems even thinking in DEMHOUSE?  No way do they get more than 251 seats!  Obviously you should fill my single digit orders so I can complete my hedge bet against that bracket for the free dime in profit.

SURF’S UP BLUE WAVE BABY

Okay, listen.  You know that Dem enthusiasm is through the roof.  You’ve followed the special election results.  You’re practically salivating staring at that long, long, beautiful tail of Democratic seat pick-up probabilities that 538 has.  This is it – the all-too satisfying prelude to the cosmic comeuppance awaiting Trump in 2020.  But what to bet on?

  •  You’re already like sextuple maxed on Dems winning the House [Ed. note: I actually should do this].  But what to do in DEMHOUSE?  Who am I kidding?  If we’re not hedging the whole thing (my play) then we’re going long long long on 240+ which PredictIt prices at ~25c while 538 has it at 33c.  Muh 8c value!
  • Bet the opposite of everything the Liberal Dreamcrusher is betting on.
  • Tack on some long-shot D bets in the House.  If it’s gonna be a Wave after all, NE-02, MN-08, IL-12, IL-13, GA-07, FL-15, CA-21, TX-21, TX-23, and WI-01 could all fall.  By pure probability, at least one of them should go Dem, right??
  • You’re also going to go hard in some of the Governor’s markets (not covered by betting against the Lib Dreamcrusher).  SDGOV?  Gimme gimme.  OKGOV?  Okay then.  MEGOV?  Yes, please.  IAGOV?  If you say so!
  • Because you’re also a smart trader, you see some opportunities in House turnover and in How many Senate seats change party hands as well….

The Thinking Trader

Ah yes, you.  Too good for the rest of us.  You’ll get involved in some elections, particularly those that are very mispriced or for which you have some dumb early vote model or which take so long to count their votes you can create elaborate turnout models for them.  But mainly you’re here to outwit us all, and that means full focus on the boutique markets where you can’t lose everything at once.  You’re well ahead of the game when it comes to How many women will win in the House, Senate, and Governor’s races.  You have already mapped out multiple paths in the Senate so that you can play GOPSEN, narrowest Senate race, and How many seats change party hands.  And you know exactly which races to follow for House turnover.

Oh god there are so many markets just tell me where to focus

Okay, okay!  If you’re new and overwhelmed, I suggest you focus your energies entirely on GOPSEN and DEMHOUSE.  Venture out from here as things catch your eye, but don’t get caught out betting on a race you don’t understand.  These two are going to be incredibly high volume, very very swing-y, and are intellectually challenging to boot.  You can probably just make money penny and nickel-flipping in here on election night provided the site can handle all the trades.  And in these two markets, the winning bracket right now, whatever it might be, is very cheap.  So there’s always the chance you get lucky!

 


 

Okay there are so many more combinations of markets you can come up with.  Early night markets, late night markets, etc.  But this should be enough to give you some fresh ideas or get you started.  For the rest, just consult The Spreadsheet to see what might interest you.

 

Disclaimer: I probably have positions or intend to take positions in just about all the markets I discuss herein.  You should always do your own research prior to making any investment decision. You should consider my advice and knowledge I share to be fundamentally biased in its presentation and selection by my own financial incentives.  While I do not knowingly lie I certainly do knowingly omit information that I think gives me an edge.