jipkin’s PredictIt Preview – Week of 10/29/2018

One.  Week.  To.  Go.

Last week I put out a rough outline of what we’ll know when for election night.  But before we get there, we have one more week of polls.  One more week of breaking news.  One more week of markets drifting one way or the other.

Late Market Shifts?

In 2016, markets moved strongly towards Hillary on election day and the day before as it seemed people herded towards the conventional wisdom.  By the time the early vote was reporting in Florida she was at 95c!  Are markets wiser this time?  I honestly have no idea, but absent some major news break I do half-expect markets for D’s chances in the House to drift into the 70s by election day.  The same will also be true in many of the Senate contests – I wouldn’t be surprised if Ted Cruz hits 90c or something before any votes are counted.

Make a Plan

If this is your first election, let alone major election, betting on PI then I strongly recommend you go into it with a little bit more thought than just “I am betting on _____ to win”  and walking away.  Because you probably won’t just walk away…. you’ll be on the site, checking the prices, asking if you should buy more or sell or dump or whatever.  People tend to make worse decisions when they haven’t done any preparations (or at least I do).

So here’s a very non-exhaustive list of things you should think about:

  • For the election contract I’m trading in, are there other results that will influence its pricing before the actual votes are counted?  (i.e. If Braun is beating Donnelly, what happens to prices in McCaskill?)
  • Where are the votes coming from?  For most states, rural counties report before urban ones, tending to favor Republicans in the early going of election-day vote.  If you really want to prepare, have some county-specific benchmarks going in.
  • Does the race have early vote and election-day vote?  What fraction of total turnout will be in EV vs ED?
  • If you’re playing in the high-volume Seats markets (GOPHOUSE, DEMHOUSE, GOPSEN), do you have a solid handle of what districts and races are left to report results that could actually flip the current bracket?  (Hint: use The Spreadsheet as a starting point).


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


It’s almost a full week of campaigning for Donny and Mike.  (And will be through the midterms).  Our President has been in the mood to tweet quite a bit but he keeps getting thwarted by tragedies that require him to exercise restraint and “tone it down”.  Not that that stopped him from offering up some baseball commentary two days ago, but there you go.  We have a schedule-less Monday for him right now and so far only three tweets to show for it.  The day is young of course but I think things are shaping up for a pretty standard middle-bracket war on Wednesday.

The rest of them are all going to do their best to clear the rather low B1 hurdles in front of them, but I won’t be shocked if one or two fail in that endeavor.  I’m rooting for a big surprise (as always) but feeling like it’s going to largely be a slow week in tweets.


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

538 TA | 538 Ballot | RCP TA | RCP Ballot | RCP EoM TA

With the final days of October upon us, we should expect a final round of pre-election polls from most of the big players (that said, it looks like Q is doing state polling).  A couple of the networks might sit it out or wait til early next week but I hope most will squeeze something out.  The new RCP ballot market interests me a lot as the numbers that get posted there this week start to actually matter for final resolution.  RCP October TA is probably cooked but let’s see what the Harvard-Harris fairy brings.



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.

A Rough Preview of Election Night 2018

Folks, we are under two weeks to go! How soon can we know on election night whether things are going well for Democrats or Republicans?  I have a lot of (incomplete) thoughts on this as I’ve been mentally preparing for election night, so here we go.

The Needle

The Needle is Master.  All praise be unto The Needle and to its Holy Wiggliness.

Yes, the NYT Needle is coming back.  In markets where we’ve had Needles, this tends to be the dominant signal for traders.  It’s free.  It’s easy to understand, and it directly translates to market prices.  When we have a very complicated 435-part jigsaw puzzle to put together, having a model do some of the work in real-time makes things a lot more straightforward.  You don’t have to do any hard thinking yourself about what the results so far in KY-06 mean for districts with similar demographics if the model is doing it for you.  That said, it’s not clear The Needle will be predicting number of seat pick-ups or just odds of one party controlling each House, so it’s worth plotting out other bits of data to pay attention to.  (I also wouldn’t be surprised if we get Needles for each individual race, which would really make them all-important).

Election Night: The Early Going

Speaking of Kentucky, the first states to report are Kentucky and Indiana, which means the first results bettors (and pundits) will be eagerly dissecting come from KY-06 and IN-SEN.  Geoffrey Skelley went back and watched 2016 over again and found that only 7% of the vote in KY came in by 7 pm, though this increased to 50% by 8pm.  Still, these will be the only data* we have in the pre-7 pm hour and I expect jumpy traders to make moves on it.  A lot rides on McGrath and Barr!  Similarly, if Donnelly is leading early, I expect two or three brackets in GOPSEN to finally die right then and there (there is no path to 56+ that doesn’t include Donnelly’s seat).  If it’s Braun, those same brackets might giddily head moonward (at the same time, D’s chances of holding the Senate will crash from wherever they start the night at – which might not be that far).

*(Except for the Early Vote stats, and maybe exit polls, etc.)

Other Early Indicators

Let’s not forget that there are plenty of other House districts that will be reporting results in IN and KY while our attention is focused on KY-06 and Donnelly.  Here the issue is not so much who will win (all of them are Safe seats), but by how much.  One thing I will be doing is running a script that compares the election results from each House district to what the forecasted margin for that district was (using 538’s and CNN’s models).  How close is it to the median forecasted margin?  The high?  The low?  The reliability here will be a bit suspect with how few votes will be counted in the early going (and given that they may be lopsidedly from urban or rural areas) so I intend to be cautious with it, but I do still think it’s worth paying attention to.

What if PredictIt Slows to a Crawl and Trades Get Backlogged?

Now, I’ve written to PredictIt several times over the past two years.  I’ve spoken in person with folks there about how important it is to have excess bandwidth or technical capacity for election night.  They know it could be an issue and they desperately want to avoid it.  But we also can’t ignore that for election night 2016, the website was basically unusable from 8:30 onward.  Similarly, for Jones v Moore in the Alabama Special last December, trading became impossible around 9:30.  During Kavanaugh, trading functioned normally and smoothly, but other site features (like notifications, and the page updating your shares and offers without refreshing) were delayed sometimes by hours (I’m okay with this, so long as trades work).

If this happens again – which it could – you’re basically going to be stuck riding your positions or hoping your queued trades go through before the price changes too much.  It is an incredibly frustrating feeling.  So be ready for it.  If I’m unsure how things are going in the House by 8:30 pm, I plan to be out of all but my “safe” positions.

The Madness

If trading is active, the time period from 8:00 to 11:00 will be shear mayhem.  Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri… the list goes on and on (and I’ll have a spreadsheet for you all later, don’t worry).  Governor’s races.  Senate races.  House races.  House control.  How many seats Ds or Rs will hold.  Everything will be going nuts.  If House control is going to break for Dems, it will be clear by around 9-9:30 (perhaps earlier if VA and FL are counting fast).  If it’s going to be an all-night slug-fest, that too will be clear then.  If the servers don’t overload my brain surely will trying to keep up with all the markets in play.

The Western Front

From 9:00 onward (yes this overlaps with The Madness), attention turns to the Western states.  Texas, Arizona, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Kansas, Montana, etc.  Things should be calmer by now.  The House control picture will be coming into focus at this point.  Senate control meanwhile might still depend on these states (along with Balance of Power).  Either way the number of seats markets (DEMHOUSE, GOPHOUSE, and GOPSEN) will be the main attraction during this period.  (And don’t forget: we will likely get MoV markets for many of the Senate races that will still be ongoing).

The Point of Thorough Exhaustion

As we get to midnight and beyond, there will be only a handful of still active markets (MoVs, maybe GOPSEN, maybe OR-GOV, and many of the CA House markets).  Drink your favorite energy beverage and keep going, my friends.  (If PredictIt does get stuffed up, this is around when it would start coming back).

Oh and Don’t Forget the Niche Markets

How many women will be in the House?  The Senate?  Governor’s mansions?

How much turnover will there be in the House?

How many seats change hands in the Senate?

I intend to keep checking in on these since I’ve done the prep work for them enough to keep track of which districts and races matter and so forth.  For those that haven’t yet, you can read my (early) takes on these markets here and here.

The Aftermath

It’s quite conceivable that a few MoV markets and the fate of several House seats in CA/WA won’t be known on election night.  Instead, we’ll have to wait for additional mail-in ballots to arrive and be tabulated over the coming weeks.  Hopefully we’ll get at least one or two great markets out of these that will be a lot higher volume than normal as new traders look to spend their winnings.  (Reminder that in 2016, Darrell Issa went to 97c on election night only to fall to 70c as additional mail-in ballots showed his lead narrowing and narrowing – he ended up hanging on in the end of course).

The Contingent Markets

Election night is a Tuesday, and the Trump tweets market ends Wednesday morning.  How much will he tweet that morning?  How much does that depend on the outcome?  What will the impeachment markets do?  Will anyone resign the morning after, a la 2006?


Okay, that’s your rough overview of election night.  More to come, including a spreadsheet with markets listed by closing time.  While you wait, don’t forget to check out The Spreadsheet for comparison of market prices to what various expert forecasters and modelers are saying.


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.




jipkin’s PredictIt Preview – Week of 10/22/2018

Just over two weeks to go!

Midterm spreadsheet | Other midterm resources

If you haven’t yet, it’s time to start getting your preparations in order for the big night.  I’ll have some content for you later this week with some thoughts for what things to watch for to get as early a jump as possible on which way things are breaking.

In the meantime, I’ve updated The Spreadsheet to include several more models on the House and Senate page (538 lite and deluxe and all three for governors, Noah Rudnick’s fundamentals model, and Harry Enten’s CNN models).  With these new data, we have enough to calculate a ‘model consensus’ for each individual race.  For instance, the Senate races look like this:

AZ mispriced.png
To get the ‘model consensus’ I discard the highest and lowest modeled win probabilities and then average the rest.  Then I calculate how different the PredictIt price is from that consensus.

The story here is largely the same as I noted (with fewer data) in my Markets vs Models blog post.  Many individual Senate races are over 15c red-shifted (priced more favorably for Republicans) compared to what the model consensus says.  There are several possible reasons for this.  It could be that these markets are much more sensitive to recency, and are more highly weighting new polls rather than a fuller look including old polls.  It could be that the low-information bettors that tend to be conservative-leaning are more comfortable with these Senate races where they feel like they can sink their teeth into each candidate.  It could be left-over inertia from the Kavanaugh bump with the market correcting only very slowly because of people penny-flipping shares.  Or it could be that PredictIt bettors are just on to something in the Senate!  We will get lots more polling this week (including a rather eye-opening one from CNN in Florida today) and we’ll see if/how markets correct in response.

The Kavanaugh Bump fades

Did you feel it?  Some time around last Tuesday/Wednesday, Democrats started performing better again in district-level polling.  Patrick Ruffini, who’s been modeling this based on the NYT microdata, also notes the shift.  We’re definitely not back at early September numbers for the Dems, but it’s a marked improvement since Kavanaugh reminded Republicans about voting.  In the end, the story I suspect will be as its been for all the primaries and special elections since Trump was elected: Dems are fired up and they’re going to vote in big numbers.  The only question is how many Rs join them.

As always, keep an eye on the NYT polls to see how the winds are blowing.


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


Last week I said that B7 in RDT really wanted to win but would ultimately be denied the rose… and I was wrong!  To my credit, it did die all the way to single digits before an epic Tuesday brought it back to life.  We’re in a quasi-similar spot this week.  Again B7 wants to win.  Again it feels like the tweets might not be there.  Will Donny again rescue it?

PT/WHT and VPT are pricing in a quiet campaign-related week at the moment, with B1 taking comfortable leads in WHT and VPT.  I’ll root for something like last Wednesday’s massacre to happen in WHT but I don’t really expect it.  Pence is known for finding ways to tweet when you don’t expect him to… but he’s starting in a deep hole here.  As for Scavino’s Funhouse of Pain?  In the short term things look good for B1.  But one must always tread cautiously there.


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

538 TA | 538 Ballot | RCP TA Weekly | RCP TA Monthly

Aside from individual race and Senate polls (hoping for another brace of NBC/Marists this week), it should be an interesting one in the polling markets.  We just got a nice NBC that might spike spiked 538 TA (and has implications for RCP and RCP October).  Fox and CBS just came but I think the usual weeklies will give us enough action anyway.

Brazil Run-Off

Winner | Margin of Victory| Winner vote share over 60%?

Hey this is a thing that’s happening next Sunday!  My limited understanding is that Bolsonaro is an asshole and he’s going to win and that’s about all I know.  Here’s the wiki on it if you want a brief overview.  I’ll do a preview for it later in the week after I do a bit more research.


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.

The Models vs The Markets

For 2018, I’ve maintained The Spreadsheet, which I intended primarily to be a repository for links to markets to help folks on PredictIt find good places to spend their money.  But secondarily, I’ve found it very interesting where markets price an election compared to where modelers and experts do it.  Which will be the most accurate after the dust settles?  Of course, it will take a few weeks before we know the answer to that.  In the meantime, there are some interesting differences among the models and between the models and the markets.

The Big Markets are “Red-Shifted”

If a market’s price favors Republicans more than a model’s odds do, I consider that market “red-shifted”.  Long-time PI players are no doubt familiar with markets giving Republicans consistently 10c more value than they’re worth (Le Pen, Moore, even Trump in 2016 pre-election night).  This remains true in 2018: Democrats are at around 65% to win the House on PredictIt… and they’re easily at least 75% to win in an aggregate of all models.

In House Races, Markets Mirror Models on Average

Since I have the data, I can look at how PredictIt’s prices differ from what the models say at the level of individual elections.  For House races, that means averaging what The Crosstab, 538, and 0ptimus project (sadly I can’t use Harry Enten’s project or the others that predict margin rather than odds) and then comparing that average to the price the PI market gives.  Here’s what that looks like:

HouseR Superplat.png

Based on data from 10/13, you can see the latest model outputs and PredictIt prices just as in the normal spreadsheet.  All I’ve added is a column showing how much the models disagree with each other (“Model Range”) and another showing how much the market price disagrees with the average of the models.

You can see there are a few races that are more than 15c “mispriced.”  Many of these mispricings are more likely produced by outliers among the models than market stupidity.  For instance, The Crosstab is in love with Kara Eastman in NE-02 for whatever reason, meaning there’s an enormous 65c range between the most bullish and most bearish model there.  On the other hand, some are worth keeping an eye on.  IL-13, for instance, is priced at 16c (or was, anyway) despite being worth a little less than twice that according to the modelers.

There are also races where pricing currently favors the Dems:

HouseD Superplat.png

Here again inter-model disagreement drives a lot of the market-model disparities (oh how nice it would be to have more than three numerical models so that I could throw out highest and lowest numbers).  For instance, why is 538’s model so bullish on Peter Roskam?

But the most interesting thing to me is that if you then average all the price differences between models and markets for these individual House races you get…. -0.38 (the number you see at the top of that column in the images).  In other words, on aggregate PredictIt market participants are pricing individual House races just like the models!

In the Senate, Markets Are Very Red-Shifted

This is NOT the case in the Senate.

Senate Superplat.png

On average, PredictIt punters have the Senate races nearly 9c more favorable for Republicans than the average of models does.  And it’s even worse if you just look at the competitive races: AZ, FL, IN, and MT are effectively 20c “mispriced” and Claire McCaskill’s MO race is nearing that point.  And many of these we can’t really attribute to inter-model disagreement!

So…. why?

We’ve got a 10c disparity favoring Republicans in the big House markets.  Zero disparity in the individual races on net.  And a substantial disparity in the competitive Senate races.  How does that make sense?  Is this really crowd wisdom?

Here’s my pseudo-professional take:

  • For whatever reason, there are more people betting with their heart on Republicans than on Democrats.  (Maybe because online gamblers are overwhelmingly male?)
  • The kinds of people that bet with their hearts are lower-information casual traders.  They don’t seek out obscure individual House races.  They want a race where they can really get to know the candidates, hence the appeal of the Senate.
  • When Kavanaugh started moving things in favor of Republicans, that gave the green light for people to bet their heart on Republicans everywhere.  A bad poll for Bredesen is effectively a bad poll for McCaskill and Donnelly.  A hurricane gives people an excuse to justify pumping Scott higher.  Clips of Sinema being weird back in the Iraq War days are an excuse to throw her 20c underwater from where the models have her (extremely-online political gamblers frequently overrate how much of this stuff breaks through to voters).
  • Bettors loooooove to bet the trend.  If polls are improving for Republicans, what if they keep improving?  If the market is going up, what if it keeps going up?  Better get in now!  The best part about this reasoning (we all succumb to it to some degree) is that it occasionally is correct.
  • Models are lagging indicators since they need to wait for polls to come out, while markets can take advantage of breaking news in real time.  I actually don’t buy this one at all to be honest.  Usually markets and models both are reacting most strongly to polls, and they see those polls roughly at the same time (at least at the resolution of days).

Of course, it could be that the models are more or less correct.  That there’s like 80c of expected value in Senate markets alone sitting out there, ripe for the taking.  Another 60c across all the House markets… or maybe we’ll find out on November 7 that the betting markets were right all along!


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.

jipkin’s PredictIt Preview – Week of 10/15/2018

The Midterms

Midterm spreadsheet | Other midterm resources

Three weeks to go!  Polling last week was a bit all over the place.  Great polls for the GOP for the Senate, mixed polling for the House, and strong polling for Dems in the national generic ballot.  My sense is that at least transiently the race for the House has tightened – there’s some mean reversion out there as districts that shouldn’t have been competitive for the Dems indeed start breaking towards the GOP.  NYT’s MN-08 poll for instance shows an eye-popping 16-point swing from early September in favor of the GOP.  (Their PA-01 poll is surprisingly strong for the Dems, though.)  CO-06 and VA-10 – at least so far – look like they’ve tightened as well, suggesting some GOP movement.

Is it all post-Kavanaugh bump?  October mean-reversion?  We’ll see how the polls go this week. Random thought: how much do the markets and midterm forecasts depend on Upshot/Siena polls?  Their breadth and frequency of polling makes them dominant source of new data each week, so kind of interesting to think about what might happen if their turnout models are just a little bit off in one direction or another.

Polling Markets

538 TA | 538 Ballot | RCP Weekly | RCP Monthly | Ras

538 TA, resolving today, is down to when and whether several YGs come out, what Gallup serves up, and maybe a few surprise polls.  Not much else to do today so I’ll be there.  As for polling in general, I half-expect a national Q, maybe a national Marist, and tons of House CDs courtesy of our friends at The Upshot.  Sidenote: last week we had great volume across the board in polling markets (and tweet markets) as Kavanaugh money spilled out.  Fingers crossed that this continues…



We’re in a classic RDT spot right now – the market wants B7.  It needs B7.  But I don’t know if it’s going to get it.  He’s obviously inhibited somewhat from shitposting too hard today with the hurricane visit – though staff tweets ought to make up for that.  The issue really is that he continues to be in a great mood.  He’s talking freely to the press multiple times a day, he’s giving big mainstream media interviews, he’s calling into Fox and Friends, he’s doing four rallies a week.  Mueller isn’t going to do anything in October so Trump is free to play.  That said, it’s not like there’s nothing out there for him to rant about.  I half-expect him to fire off a Pocahontas tweet this evening on the flight back home from Florida, given that she’s in the news cycle today.

The rest of the markets I tentatively expect to have light finishes.  Pence will be making his own trip down South to somberly gaze at hurricane damage and shake the hands of first responders (and also to finally get that Brian Kemp fundraiser in…), which will be reasonably tweetsy.  (And Trump’s visit today should generate plenty of material for WHT – so there will be tweets short term).  Beyond that, I don’t see a ton of official business or agenda items on the administration’s plate as the POTUS and VP are out there mainly doing campaign activity.


I’ve done a few little analysis pieces on some of the lesser-trafficked midterm markets.  See here for my latest take on how many women win their races this November, and here for what I think about turnover in the House.


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.

Midterms 2018: How many women prevail in House, Senate, and gubernatorial races?

As we head into the final three weeks of campaigning, let’s check in with the women running for office!

We have three markets now for how many women will be in the Senate, in the House, and in governor’s mansions in 2019 (the House market is new this week!).  I first wrote about the Senate and governors back at the end of July – and a lot has transpired since then!  Let’s take a look.

How many U.S. Senators will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?

  • (13) Not up for reelection/special election: Murray, Collins, Murkowski, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Hirono, Fischer, Moore-Capito, Ernst, Cortez-Masto, Duckworth, Harris, Hassan
  • (6) Very likely to win reelection/special election: Feinstein, Cantwell, Klobuchar, Smith, Hyde-Smith, Warren
  • (2) Certain to go to a female candidate of either party: AZ (Sinema or McSally), WI (Baldwin or Vukmir).
  • (1) More likely than not to win reelection/election: Stabenow (though she does have a reasonably strong likely challenger in John James).

This baseline of 22 remains the same – only maybe John James pulling off the upset vs Stabenow (he did out-raise her in Q3) can drop the baseline to 21.  So again, we’re looking at

where the odds have changed quite substantially since July!  Heitkamp is considered dead in the water after a couple 10 point deficits in the polls; conversely Blackburn is considered a shoo-in after spiking leads of the same or better (Upshot/Siena’s poll is a particularly big eye-opener).

Basically, if you think things break towards the Republicans, buy 23 (the Blackburn victory).  If you think things break towards the Dems, 24/25 are the opportunities.  If you think things stay relatively close, 24 is probably the buy.  I can see reasonable cases to be made for Blackburn + McCaskill + Rosen…. but those universes are not too far away from Blackburn alone or Blackburn + one of the two.  This will be a fun one on election night!

How many governors of the 50 states will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?

Now the picture here has clarified substantially since late July in many ways, and remains up in the air in many others.  Here’s my breakdown:

(There are several other races I haven’t bothered to list which could surprise – NH, VT, TX, etc but I seriously doubt it).

As I look at it, 10+ is in real trouble barring a run of the table.  5 or 6 seem easy to get to. Beyond that we simply have to wait until the the results come in I think!

How many U.S. Representatives will be women in the 116th Congress?

Ok, this market is A LOT to digest.  So I pulled the top two candidates in each district by the odds 538 gives them and manually went through and tallied up all the women.  The result is this spreadsheet, which ranks all the races by the odds of a woman winning the seat.

These are the races that will determine how the market shakes out.

About 83 or so seats are all but guaranteed to go to women (again, according to 538’s classic model).  Another 10 seems easy to come by.  After that, performance is strongly correlated with how well Democrats are doing overall (most of the women running are Democrats).  In the top right, you see the number “97.65”.  This is the cumulative probability of women winning divided by 100 which should give you roughly the expected break-even number of women-held seats, at least as 538 sees it.

Hope this helps your decision-making in these complicated markets!


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.


jipkin’s PredictIt Preview – Week of 10/8/2018

The Kavanaugh saga ends…

What a crazy few weeks that was!  Last week, I wrote

What those senators do care about are polls – and we will get several.  Now – it’s an open question how far Kav’s numbers would have to move before Collins, Murk, and Manchin decide against him.  Right now, they plan to vote for him assuming that the FBI investigation won’t turn up anything they don’t know (and they can hide behind that fig leaf).  To shift them away requires either a major new shoe to drop, some kind of indisputable ding to his credibility, the FBI investigation to find something that indicates he lied under oath, or a substantial drop in public support.  Otherwise, he’s on the court.

And I think I was at least half-right.  Polls didn’t move that much.  No new shoes really dropped.  And The senators I thought would break for Kav did with the exception of Murkowski.  Now, did I know that Steve Daines was going to be walking his daughter down the aisle on Saturday, thereby necessitating him skipping the vote?  Nope!  But there’s always something like that that crops up.

It’s also worth noting how incredibly high volume these markets were (terrific for PredictIt).  And how much of that was new MAGA money coming into town (including some hilariously dumb QAnon money, as fellow Predictor Dmp observes).  And that new money (well, not the Q money) won as Kavanaugh was confirmed.  We now get to observe what would have happened on PredictIt had Roy Moore prevailed.

…and the MAGA money moves into the midterm markets

Checking my notifications Friday night, I was befuddled to discover someone had sold me 726 Jim Jordan NO at 67c to be next Speaker (he’s not worth 33c, that I can tell you).  Others reported getting similar crazy offers filled (I also got hit at 35c in MN-08 for the Democrat, which is a good deal for a toss-up race).

This is undoubtedly a good thing, since the only people previously playing in all these ancillary markets seemed to be left-biased (or so the prices would indicate).  And as you go around the site… literally everything feels cheap right now.  Of course, Republicans did have a solid week in the polls (tenuously attributable to Kavanaugh) and they could continue to narrow the gap in the generic ballot and so forth.  But there are also markets like FLGOV and AZSEN where Gillum’s and Sinema’s persistent strength should have prevented their prices from drifting… yet drift they did as the MAGA money came crashing in.



Where or where has our shitposter in chief gone?  He turtled up during the Kavanaugh drama and has yet to emerge from his shell (despite a few odd gems here and there).  Part of this, I think, is that he’s entering into a relatively rally-heavy schedule.  Not only does that necessitate more travel (breaking up his morning TV routine) but it also gives him another outlet for getting things off his chest.  So while the RDT market desperately needs a non-B1 week after a string of boring markets, it doesn’t seem like this is going to be that week.

Oh, and there’s also a hurricane coming.  Will hurricane tweets hit PT/WHT/VPT hard?  This one doesn’t look as apocalyptic as Florence did on approach (and Florence stalled out for a while, giving us a few more days of extra hurricane tweets).  But I do expect Michael will bring us at least a day’s worth of FEMA retweets, so be on the lookout for that.  Beyond that, the official schedule is campaign event heavy for both Trump and Pence, with only a few tweetable events on the horizon.  Still, we have to get at least one interesting tweet market this week, right?  I feel like we’re owed one anyway after the last three weeks…


538 TA | 538 Ballot | RCP TA | Rasmussen

The polling markets are one thing, but I’m actually most interested in what polls say as we start getting now fully into October and whatever energy Kavanaugh provided Republicans last week recedes.  Nate Cohn has a very straightforward rundown of where things stand in the polls – the tl;dr being that small shifts in the polls from this point forward can result in big swings in the odds for both the Senate and the House.  Keep an eye on my spreadsheet (I’ll be giving it a weekly update tonight) to see how the experts/modelers are moving their forecasts based on new data. | Rasmussen




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.