Election 2016 PredictIt Thoughts
The election season is almost finally over (and thank god). A lot of folks ask me if I vote in elections; I don’t. I prefer to bet on them, that way when the result that I desire actually wins, I also actually benefit from it.
There are quite often some free cinch bets in politics as well; Lou once made money taking the side of a politician who was running up against a dead guy. Free money galore, although you usually are taking chalk so the juice along side that can get pretty steep. But our broken political system is pretty easy to predict these days, free money opportunities are abound.
So there’s this site that is similiar to InTrade, called PredictIt. PredictIt is a real-money political prediction market, a stock market for politics. As Lou has noted, the juice on this site is higher than the beloved InTrade from 2012, but it still gives us some opportunity to win some free money. The idea is you either pick an outcome (either Y/N, or GOP/DNC for example) and buy a “share” from $0.01 to $0.99 based on the market of other bidding punters. If your result comes in, then PredictIt pays out the rest of the share upwards to a dollar. So say you pick Hillary Clinton to win the Presidential Race at $0.75 a share. If she wins the election, you get paid out $1.00 for a $0.25 profit on each share.
Here are my leans for this election:
Massachusetts to Legalize Marijuana at $0.80
This opened at $0.88, then went down to $0.80 when the polling wasn’t looking so good at the end of last year. This is now at $0.94, and rising as lately the polling has been very strong for the initiative (last one I saw in the Globe was 59% for). Populist candidates and referendums are the story of 2016 politics as we saw in Britain and BREXIT. The only people who are spending money against this in MA are the churches (which no one goes to anymore), police chiefs, old white people in office, and rich old white people who hate life like Sheldon Adelson, owner of the Sands casino. A lot like when Barack Obama told UK voters they could be put “on the back of the queue” for trade if BREXIT were to happen, I think anytime these governors and establishment people come out against a law like this, it just helps the initiative even more, despite them getting outspent 3 to 1. Everyone I know is voting YES on 4, are for a myriad of reasons, especially the social justice angle. That is why decriminalization passed in 2008 here in the state; I actually made a bet on a spread that it would pass by a 52/48 margin. It passed 60/40, only losing 3 counties. I expect the same thing here, as pro pot is now in the positive for most demos that aren’t left leaning young people. Libertarians and even some social conservatives have now come around on the idea, very much like how gay marriage went from a resounding “NO” in 2004 to now being passed in most of the states.
California to Legalize Marijuana at $0.84
Same ideology here for this bet; this is now at $0.94 as well. Of course the land of Cheech and Chong, Snoop Dogg, and Wiz Khalifa was always a favorite to pass this initiative. The only people really against it are CA’s Mormon community, police and authorities, and prison companies. Not exactly a lot you want to side with on any issue. Also, voter turnout for Hillary Clinton is expected to be high (pun intended) for the state, including Latinos and Tech types who often are fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. This is a big boost for legal pot to pass in CA, and ironically, Hillary Clinton (who is against pot) may have pot to thank for to clinch the state and voter turnout as those who tend ot vote for legal weed tend to lean left, even for a historically bad campaign like hers.
What Will Voter Turnout Be for the Presidential Election?
135,000,000 to 139,999,999 – NO at $0.80
125,000,000 to 129,999,999 – YES at $0.18
Percentage (via a sportsbook) Under 58% -115
In case you haven’t heard, this are the two most unliked candidates in the history of the race. Considering Mitt “Fail” Romney ran in 2012, that is saying something. Voter turnout for the last race was around 44% during the 2014 midterms, and even though this election has had so many media orgs promoting it left and right, I still think the overall voting population is going to sit this one home and a) assume Hillary is going to win or b) refuse to vote for her at all. The demos that plan to sit home: black people, low income people, and people under the age of 45, especially millennials and younger white people. Also, on a sad note, certain states have made it very difficult to vote with strict ID laws, understaffing causing long lines, and even voter suppression. This sadly is part of my lean on the under, so when you ship this bet, do yourself a favor and donate to an organization that goes against those efforts.
Ironically, we could hit the most Latinos to ever vote in an “open” election (meaning no incumbents), ever AND also hit 2000’s low of 50.3%. The last 3 elections barely hit 55%, so I like the under at 0.58% as well.
Will a 3rd Party win a State? at $0.35
I have no idea who Evan McMullin is, but all of the prediction sites give him a better than 30% chance to win his home state of Utah. Libertarian Gary Johnson is a former Governor of New Mexico and is always live to hit that state, he’s also polled well in Alaska and will probably get 4-5% of the vote. In an election where voters are looking for alternative, 3rd party voting will probably see it’s biggest boost since Ralph Nader in 2000 and Ross Perot in 1996.
Overall POTUS Prediciton:
If you wanted to bet on Hillary, the chance to do so at a good price was when she was struggling with Bernie earlier in the year. I think she got down to -140 at one point. Although Bill Simmons has her in a parlay with the Pats to win the AFC East, so that could be a curse of course.
Trump may cover the spread and make it a sweat into Wednesday, but I think Hillary on the low end get 288 electoral votes (I think it will be on the lower end, but I am just rooting for a fun sweat), and her ceiling is around 313 to 319 (depending on if McMullin wins Utah).
Random side props:
Winner of these states in the presidential contest:
Final Electoral College Score
Other: McMullin 6
Percentage (round to nearest 0.1%) of the national popular vote won by:
Winner of the Senate race in each of these states (OK to name party only not candidate):
Control of the Senate (includes independents who caucus with and will vote for leadership of that party):