Political Gambling in 2016
December 18, 2015 7:35 AM   Subscribe

"As a gambler, I’ve noticed that Americans might also be obsessed with predicting their presidential races, but they often rely on pundits whose name recognition far outstrips their accuracy. Gamblers can’t afford to be wrong that often: Political prediction is a genuine game of skill, with serious research going into the effort—and serious rewards for the gambler who gets it right." posted by roomthreeseventeen (73 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I miss Intrade.

Okay, now I'll read.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:39 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just a reminder that I'll take any reasonable action if you have any Republican pres candidate winning in 2016. Memail for terms.

Okay, now I'll read.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bad campaign journalism is often derided as "horse race coverage," but that's unfair to gamblers betting on the ponies, because Racing Form probably does a better job of covering and analyzing the horse race world than Politico does of the presidential election. Having money on the line, like gamblers do, has a wonderful way of clarifying the mind and dispelling bullshit analysis. It looks like that Political Gambler fills the niche of providing Racing Form-style coverage of the presidential election. It's horse race analysis, but it's horse race analysis done right.
posted by jonp72 at 7:45 AM on December 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Republican odds at 5Dimes as of today:

Rubio +145
Cruz +250
Trump +315
Bush +605
Christie +905

Clinton -1200
Bernie +1100
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oddschecker has been my go-to for the whole election cycle. Intrade was just one exchange, and subject to being gamed. You could even see it in the last election cycle as some fool was dumping tons of money to float Romney's odds and keep him appearing viable. Oddschecker shows a dozen different book makers and gives a much better estimate.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


He's right that Cruz is a good bet, he's severely undervalued. Rubio meanwhile is accurately rated on most betting sites: he's the favorite.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:49 AM on December 18, 2015


Also Norm Macdonald predicted Christie as the nomination winner which given his history of betting failures probably means Christie will drop out tomorrow.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:50 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would say that Cruz is actually a better bet right now than Rubio.

This is an update on my previous real money bets, so I'm sad to say it. But right now I'm wishing I had not taken even money on Bush or Rubio against the rest of the field in August. That was a bad bet.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:53 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Eh, it could be worse, you're probably going to win. But LOL at betting on Bush ever for any odds.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:55 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I also bought insurance on a Hillary loss at amazingly good odds: 10:1 on a Clinton win back in February. Not at good as buying Cruz at 1%, but still. This way if Clinton wins I get a Democrat, and if she loses, I get enough money to buy canned food for the coming apocalypse.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:56 AM on December 18, 2015 [23 favorites]


Those bookie sites are why I've been saying since early September, when Bush was still the favorite and before Walker even left the race, that Rubio is the establishment nominee.

The bookies back me up. Rubio has still got the best odds for the nomination, because the Republican establishment really really really doesn't want Trump to be the nominee, and everyone hates Ted Cruz. Party machinery isn't want it used to be, but it's still got influence, and you can bet it's all pulling for Rubio now. What's more, now that the field is becoming clear to the donors, Rubio is going to have money up the wazoo to get him the nomination. Money can do a lot if your candidate isn't a wet blanket with an exclamation point.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:56 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, if anyone took Bernie early on there is still hope. He's probably still a good buy, though it's probably creeping up EV neutral.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:58 AM on December 18, 2015


Party machinery isn't want it used to be, but it's still got influence. And now that the field is becoming clear to the donors, Rubio is going to have money up the wazoo to get him the nomination.

Maybe he can spend it on field offices.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:59 AM on December 18, 2015


I took Rubio at 25-1 in 2012. Got a pretty sizable chunk on it. Then he did that water bottle thing. Probably could have gotten 50-1 on it at that point. C'est la vie!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:02 AM on December 18, 2015


A well-thought out political bet won’t lose because of a bad refereeing decision, and luck is far less relevant.

Later . . .

Political betting began for me 14 years ago in college, in 2001

Ah, that explains it!
posted by Garm at 8:04 AM on December 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


My prediction: a brokered convention. In which case, it'll be a crap shoot as to who takes the Republican Nomination.
posted by Fizz at 8:10 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe he can spend it on field offices.

Iowa Republicans have gone loony toons for extremist candidates as of late (because all the sane ones left? I don't know.) He could have just concluded that it's not a good use of his time.

In the last two elections Iowans picked Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum for the Republican nominee.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:10 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this betting or the odds at all really. Can someone point me to a primer? I've never bet beyond a handshake, always at even odds (I think?).
posted by OmieWise at 8:16 AM on December 18, 2015


serious rewards for the gambler who gets it right.

Just ask Nate Silver.

On a related note, one could probably make a bundle writing down everything Bill Kristol predicts and betting the opposite, as long as you can keep finding suckers willing to back the other side.
posted by delfin at 8:16 AM on December 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


In the last two elections Iowans picked Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum for the Republican nominee.

That's fine. But if you can't claim a decent showing in NH or IA, you're gonna get knocked out by the candidate who does. Christie and Cruz are both nipping at his heals in NH, assuming Trump underperforms the current polls (which may be my biggest blindspot in this race.) I think you've got to be top 3 in both IA and NH to survive the winnowing. McCain only survived his Iowa showing because he came in first in NH; if Rubio is 3rd in Iowa and 3rd or 4th in NH, he's toast.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:19 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a related note, one could probably make a bundle writing down everything Bill Kristol predicts and betting the opposite, as long as you can keep finding suckers willing to back the other side.

Hey, maybe even Bill Kristol.
posted by codacorolla at 8:27 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rubio meanwhile is accurately rated on most betting sites: he's the favorite.

I honestly think Rubio is being seriously overrated. It's unlikely at this point that he wins in Iowa (Trump and Cruz are far and away the favorites) and he's running a distant second in New Hampshire behind Trump. He's only slightly ahead of Cruz in New Hampshire. He's running fourth in South Carolina (behind Trump, Ben Carson and Cruz), so a comeback win there is very unlikely if he loses both Iowa and New Hampshire, and frankly the state's electoral profile doesn't give him good odds for winning it even if he wins one of the first two states.

If Trump wins Iowa, Trump is easily the favorite to win New Hampshire. If Cruz wins Iowa, Trump is still the favorite to win New Hampshire so long as he doesn't crater in Iowa, and if Trump's campaign implodes after an Iowa loss, Trump's supporters are probably more likely to jump to Cruz or Chris Christie than Rubio if you look at the second-choice numbers.

I just don't see how Rubio has a path to victory. He's just not very likely to win any of the first three states, and the perception of momentum really matters, especially in GOP politics where the voters are mostly voting for who makes their balls feel biggest.
posted by mightygodking at 8:34 AM on December 18, 2015


I think the idea is that the establishment candidate has (eventually) won in the past and Rubio is the only establishment candidate left whose campaign isn't a joke. But I guess we'll know for sure after South Carolina.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:38 AM on December 18, 2015


OmieWise: "I don't understand this betting or the odds at all really."

There are (basically) two kinds of odds. Fractional and moneyline.

Fractional odds are expressed 10/1 (read "ten to one")or 5/1 or 2/5. If you bet on something at 10/1 odds, you win $10 for every $1 you bet, so the larger the first number in the fraction, the longer a shot it is. In a situation where something is an overwhelming favorite, it will have odds like 2/5, where in order to win $2 you need to bet $5 (keep in mind, if you win you also get your stake returned, so you are not losing money on the deal).

Moneyline odds are expressed as a positive or negative integer. Something like +150 or -200. If it's positive, that's the amount you min on a $100 wager. If it's negative, that's the amount you have to risk to win $100 (again, you get your stake back as well).
posted by Rock Steady at 8:40 AM on December 18, 2015 [24 favorites]


Moneylines are the real reason I preferred Intrade. The brief push to express odds in percentage terms was SO MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND. I feel like all anyone should care about is: "How likely is this thing to happen?"
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2015


Meanwhile, if anyone took Bernie early on there is still hope. He's probably still a good buy, though it's probably creeping up EV neutral.

Wrong. The DNC is a subcommittee of the Clinton campaign, and the knives are starting to come out. The Democratic side has been fixed from the beginning, Bernie was never getting a fair shot at beating her, voter's wishes be damned.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2015 [7 favorites]


Since nobody has posted this yet:

538's "endorsement primary"

tl;dr: In endorsements, which are the best predictor of nomination, Bush and Rubio are massively ahead of Cruz and Trump.

Since Bush is unpopular among Republican voters, Rubio seems the likeliest nominee to me.
posted by splitpeasoup at 8:45 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


So it looks as though the bookies have Hillary as the lowest payoff to win, therefore the highest expectation of winning, is that right? It seems odd that that's not expressed more clearly somewhere in the post. Maybe I'm misinterpreting or misunderstanding something.
posted by newdaddy at 8:46 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


It seems pretty clear to me: "I’ll cut to the chase: my current prediction is for Hillary Clinton to become president, in line with Betfair's ratings, at about 54 percent.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:49 AM on December 18, 2015


tl;dr: In endorsements, which are the best predictor of nomination, Bush and Rubio are massively ahead of Cruz and Trump.

The endorsement primary is basically a predictive failure right now. GWB had 518 points at this moment in 1999. His brother has the lead with 46, and will almost certainly lose: we're an order of magnitude off the trend, right now. Too many party elites have realized that this invisible primary stuff is now public knowledge, and so they're not willing to take a stand in this crowded field. (One argument is that they're waiting for Graham to drop out to avoid offending him. I think they're just worried about picking wrong, because they want to back a winner.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:51 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


It seems odd that that's not expressed more clearly somewhere in the post.

Betting the favorite is never really a great gambling strategy, especially a heavy favorite, which Clinton still is. The downside of losing your entire position is much worse than winning and taking a tiny profit. Betting American Pharoh in the Belmont won you a novelty ticket worth less than what you paid for it. If you're trying to make money at betting politics, there's not a whole lot of payoff in betting the general election at 54-46%, you want to look at the Republican side where you can still get 3 or 4 to 1 odds, or if you're smart like the author, you could've have Cruz at something like 100-1 if you bought in early.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:52 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the idea is that the establishment candidate has (eventually) won in the past and Rubio is the only establishment candidate left whose campaign isn't a joke.

The problem with this theory (and with the "endorsement primary" theory splitpeasoup mentioned) is that previous establishment candidates had significant popular support.

Mitt Romney was the least popular GOP establishment candidate in the last forty years, and if you go back and look at 2012 polling he was always reasonably strong; after Rick Perry revealed he wasn't ready for prime time, the "establishment Republicans" went with Romney and his support never dropped below twenty percent again. Watching the RealClear polling history shows that Romney weathered the storm of fad candidate after fad candidate: Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum. He maintained his base and gradually increased his support in the polls and got the nomination.

And Mitt Romney barely won. Seriously: Romney only won one of the first three states (NH) and for a good chunk of time it was looking like Gingrich or Santorum was going to coalesce the anti-establishment vote. Romney's decisive win in Florida and a technical knockout of Santorum in Colorado gave Romney the momentum he needed, but for a long moment it looked like the most able candidate in the race - and whatever we might think of Romney, he's miles ahead of Santorum and Gingrich as both a public servant and a human being - was going to get knocked out by a lunatic.

Compare Romney's popular support in 2012 to Rubio's right now. Rubio is polling at about half of where Romney was polling in Iowa. He's polling at a third of where Romney was in New Hampshire and at about half in South Carolina. Romney lost Iowa (by a hair, admittedly), won New Hampshire and got clobbered in South Carolina. How is Rubio supposed to make up the difference? Endorsements?
posted by mightygodking at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


If Rubio wins, it will not be from his own attractive qualities and persuasive rhetoric as much as it will be by attrition.

The establishment, for obvious reasons, is not at all happy with the notion of a Teahadi bomb-thrower getting the big nomination. Trump, Cruz and Carson are polling well not so much because they're viable but because they're tapping into talk radio anger; much like the Anybody But Romney pool in 2012, who's at the top of that list doesn't matter as long as it's SOMEONE. This year it's the Anybody But Jeb! pool and it seems to be working in that Jeb is polling slightly below the shingles virus.

Now, of that trio, Cruz is the most likely to emerge with the lion's share of the fear-anger-and-xenophobia vote. He's the only one of the three that's an actual politician, he's running a smart campaign, and he has set his sights not on the first-three-states-or-bust but as having a very strong position after Super Tuesday by scooping up delegates piecemeal. This is a strange year in that non-politicians are sucking up the majority of airtime leading up to the first primaries, and no one among the traditional politician Republican pool has stood out as a believable alternative. Iowa barely counts as a state anyway. So while no one wants to simply write off the opening states, and losing them is indeed bad PR, it's only a kiss of death if you're well down the list of alternatives.

Is the Teahadi base enough to carry someone to the nomination in and of itself? It hasn't been before, and Cruz is sufficiently odorous that no one outside that base can stand him. Which means that he'll either have to tack towards the center -- which will turn off much of what got him to that point -- or he'll Sean Hannity it up and set himself up to be martyred.

Rubio's best chance for nomination victory is (a) getting backing from money factories like Sheldon Adelson (which he's already working on) for media blitzes, (b) continuing caustic rhetoric from Trump and Cruz, getting horrifying mainstream coverage and painting Rubio as the Reasonable Alternative, and (c) everyone else from the milquetoast pool (Jeb!, Fiorina, Christie) splashing around in the low single digits.

Is it possible that the anger wave holds and whoever emerges from that side (Trump and Cruz) will skate to the nomination? It is. A lot of factors go into that. But an awful lot of people would rather eat a broom than see Cruz as President, and I tend to think that they will back the least awful alternative. Rubio: The Least Awful Alternative isn't much of a bumper sticker but it might put him in position to get stomped by Hillary.
posted by delfin at 9:06 AM on December 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Too many party elites have realized that this invisible primary stuff is now public knowledge, and so they're not willing to take a stand in this crowded field.

As soon as a metric becomes known, it loses its ability to measure, because people will game it.
posted by Etrigan at 9:14 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think the idea is that the establishment candidate has (eventually) won in the past and Rubio is the only establishment candidate left whose campaign isn't a joke.

The Republicans, traditionally, have only one "establishment' candidate. In this election that was Bush. The problem was that the social conservative base went "anyone but Bush." Trump is where he is because he was able to grab a big chunk of the ABB vote. However, when/while Bush looked like he was going to be out of the race, you can see that some of this support was "strategic" and drifted over to Cruz and Carson, who are the only "social conservative" candidates in the race... but are, unfortunately, both not "white."

The problem with Rubio is that he is seen as a lightweight and (more importantly) bought and owned by his billionaire supporters. The RP is not just a billionaire boyz club and Rubio's backers are not going to give up what they've purchased.

I'm surprised no one is talking about putting money on Bush or Trump. If social conservatives abandon Trump and he loses badly in Iowa (the Howard Dean effect) his campaign could collapse, this will be a signal for a Bush surge in NH. On the other hand, if Trump wins in Iowa or comes in a close second, he could be unstoppable.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:15 AM on December 18, 2015


(also, I'm not sure what the problem with Huckabee is. Probably some combination of being a loser, an insider, and not totally beholden to some mid-western mullah who wants to pull his strings... I don't know)
posted by ennui.bz at 9:18 AM on December 18, 2015


delfin, I think your analysis is spot-on insightful, but it's also crazy depressing to see Christie and Fiorina somehow counting as the "milquetoast" end of this cohort.
posted by psoas at 9:19 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised no one is talking about putting money on Bush or Trump.

Bush is too much of a longshot at this point (he has loser-stink all over him). Trump is too far ahead to make betting on him profitable.
posted by mightygodking at 9:19 AM on December 18, 2015


Trump is too far ahead to make betting on him profitable.

one of the many problems with the horse-race metaphor for understanding the election: sometimes you have an obvious winner and betting just becomes about the spread.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:22 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think the idea is that the establishment candidate has (eventually) won in the past and Rubio is the only establishment candidate left whose campaign isn't a joke. But I guess we'll know for sure after South Carolina.

Is Cruz considered an establishment candidate also?
posted by theorique at 9:28 AM on December 18, 2015


No. Cruz may be an elected official, but he's "insurgent" (code for: constantly pissing off all his caucus-mates with his shenanigans).
posted by psoas at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is Cruz considered an establishment candidate also?

Not yet. If he maintains momentum, he may become one.

see also Obama, Barack H.
posted by Etrigan at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2015


It cracks me up that Ben Carson is down with Al Gore and Mitt Romney!
posted by newdaddy at 9:37 AM on December 18, 2015


My prediction: a brokered borked convention.

ftfy :-)
posted by freecellwizard at 9:40 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


My prediction: a brokered convention.

Are you serious? Cause you can make some real money betting on that hunch. You can lose real money, too, of course.

I really enjoy PredictIt. Pretty easy to make a steady return if you follow politics in the slightest.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:44 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Trump is too far ahead to make betting on him profitable.

Over at PredictIt, shares for him to become the Republican nominee are only 30cents; if he does become the nominee, each of those shares will resolve to a dollar.

Not sure who your investment adviser is, but 333% return is pretty profitable in my world.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:48 AM on December 18, 2015


You also have to take reality into consideration. Trump has no real chance of being the GOP's nominee.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


The endorsement primary is basically a predictive failure right now. GWB had 518 points at this moment in 1999. His brother has the lead with 46, and will almost certainly lose: we're an order of magnitude off the trend, right now. Too many party elites have realized that this invisible primary stuff is now public knowledge, and so they're not willing to take a stand in this crowded field.

I'm not so sure it's that as much as it's that people don't want to back a loser and are waiting to see who seems like they'll end up winning. I remember hearing that thinking a candidate would win gave a boost to candidates in elections, and I can certainly see how there would be a similar (probably even greater) effect with endorsements). Plus, given how similar the policy positions of the Republican candidates are, likelihood of winning and vague personality stuff are pretty much the only features that distinguish any candidate from any other (except maybe Rand Paul).
posted by Copronymus at 9:51 AM on December 18, 2015


You also have to take reality into consideration. Trump has no real chance of being the GOP's nominee.

Well, that's why he's at 30 cents.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 9:52 AM on December 18, 2015


Is Cruz considered an establishment candidate also?

He is, on one level, a federalist society lawyer, like John Roberts, married to a Goldman Sachs exec with strong political ties to establishment RP. But he has an honest personal Jesus-faith story (unlike say GWB), is an ideologue, and known as a megalomaniac who puts himself above anyone else in the party... and he's hispanic.

Look at the Republican party right now and try to say with a straight face that it could elect a non-white candidate.

You also have to take reality into consideration. Trump has no real chance of being the GOP's nominee.

but he does, if comes out strong from Iowa.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:54 AM on December 18, 2015


Metafilter: a wet blanket with an exclamation point
posted by el io at 9:58 AM on December 18, 2015


I'd like to think Trump doesn't have a chance, but apparently, 30% of Republican primary voters and 19% of Democrat primary voters support the of bombing Agrabah.

From Disney's Aladdin.
posted by ODiV at 9:59 AM on December 18, 2015 [12 favorites]


Worse, 30% of Iowa Republicans think Islam should be Illegal.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:05 AM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


30% of Republican primary voters and 19% of Democrat primary voters support the of bombing Agrabah. From Disney's Aladdin.

Gotta hear both sides.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:08 AM on December 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


Is Cruz considered an establishment candidate also?

Depends on who's standing next to him when it's nut-cuttin' time.

Cruz has prided himself on tacking to the right of anything the Republican establishment favors, then using that to polish his credentials as a maverick and a True Conservative and a political outsider. For example, Cruz has been an extremely loud voice in favor of dumping former House Speaker John Boehner and current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, as both of them have Betrayed True Conservatism on multiple occasions through compromising with the Democrats (read as: got as much as they could from negotiations on things that absolutely _had_ to pass for the good of the country). Cruz's rhetorical bloc was essentially what finally forced Boehner out of office -- they were prepared to go to the wall to force a government shutdown that Boehner and other mainstream Republicans wanted no part of, and had enough votes to force painful proxy fights over Boehner's leadership.

So if it ends up as (let's say) Cruz vs. Rubio for the nomination, Cruz will paint himself as an outsider for as long as it benefits him politically. But Cruz vs. Trump has different optics. Do you want a True Conservative who knows the system, who understands politics, who's cast difficult votes, or do you want a flamboyant billionaire with no political experience and who used to support LIBERAL positions? Suddenly Cruz-the-Insider will pop up in his ads.
posted by delfin at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm totally flummoxed by the Republican side of this election. I thought for sure that JEB! would have moved to be the front-runner by this time after all of the novelty candidates had burned through their fifteen minutes but that never happened and doesn't look like it will.

I assume that there will be a lot of pressure for the lesser candidates to start dropping out soon to unify the opposition to Trump but I have no idea where that freed up support would go.
posted by octothorpe at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm totally flummoxed by the Republican side of this election. I thought for sure that JEB! would have moved to be the front-runner by this time after all of the novelty candidates had burned through their fifteen minutes but that never happened and doesn't look like it will.

In some ways it's kind of refreshing that the system still rewards vigorous and/or effective campaigning instead of Jeb's lazy slouching toward the inevitability of his candidacy. Of course, it would be better if the system also rewarded not being an atrocious human being, but given the state of the Republican Party in 2016, maybe I can settle for responding to a vaguely democratic primary process instead of anointing the next Bush in line because it seemed like a good idea to the imaginary voters they polled in their heads.
posted by Copronymus at 10:28 AM on December 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


The whole idea that having money on the line magically leads to better predictions is mostly nonsense. The financial markets have long offered ways to bet on specific future outcomes and if one looks back at the outcome implied by price against the actual outcome, there is no correlation. The historic inflation expectation in US Treasury bond prices vs. actual subsequent inflation is but one example.
posted by indubitable at 10:43 AM on December 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


Do you want a True Conservative who knows the system, who understands politics, who's cast difficult votes, or do you want a flamboyant billionaire with no political experience and who used to support LIBERAL positions? Suddenly Cruz-the-Insider will pop up in his ads.

a 'true conservative" can't be an insider i.e. a Boehner. Cruz can't become an establishment candidate while Bush is in the race and Bush will stay in the race until NH. But, then you have Rubio and his backers making a play for the same space.
posted by ennui.bz at 10:46 AM on December 18, 2015


MetaFilter: Okay, now I'll read.
posted by brundlefly at 10:49 AM on December 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'd like to think Trump doesn't have a chance, but apparently, 30% of Republican primary voters and 19% of Democrat primary voters support the of bombing Agrabah.

From Disney's Aladdin.


It's a brutal dictatorship headed by a hereditary monarchy, millions live oppressed in abject poverty while shadowy religious clerics enrich themselves. And a preemptive strike may be justified to prevent the scourge of genies from afflicting the rest of the world after the inevitable regime collapse.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:14 PM on December 18, 2015 [5 favorites]


30% of Republican primary voters and 19% of Democrat primary voters support the of bombing Agrabah.

In the Slate link itself, they note that it could have been confused for Aleppo or Raqqa; they do not call attention to the fact it's listed as "Q38," which means that the respondents could have either (a) grown weary from the previous 37 questions and just said something in order to get the ordeal closer to being over with or (b) been straight-up fucking with them, because if someone's asking my opinion on a bunch of serious topics and then throws in a bullshit question like that, I'd be pretty tempted to do the same.
posted by psoas at 12:31 PM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have no doubt that the respondents thought they were talking about an actual place -- I didn't recognize "Agrabah" as being from Aladdin when I first read that -- but we're still talking about a nonzero percentage of people not knowing what the fuck they were talking about and saying "Sure, what the hell, bomb 'em."

And I've been trying to convince myself that Trump's poll numbers are people just fucking with pollsters for six months now. Hasn't worked yet. Still scared.
posted by Etrigan at 12:42 PM on December 18, 2015 [4 favorites]


And I've been trying to convince myself that Trump's poll numbers are people just fucking with pollsters for six months now. Hasn't worked yet. Still scared.

Virginia has open primaries, if he's still in the running by Super Tuesday, it's going to be awfully tempting to cross over and cast a troll-vote for Trump, rather than throw away a vote for Bernie in a rigged Democratic dog and pony show. Although I'm not sure I could live with myself if he then went on to win in the general.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:55 PM on December 18, 2015


The whole idea that having money on the line magically leads to better predictions is mostly nonsense. The financial markets have long offered ways to bet on specific future outcomes and if one looks back at the outcome implied by price against the actual outcome, there is no correlation

Right, it's not that these things can actually predict in the future because, of course, no one can predict the future. What these markets do is, arguably, take all knowable information in the present and integrate it into a single number. Which, while not perfect, is a million times better than the political horse race bullshit by no-nothing pundits with hidden agendas that you get everywhere else.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:30 PM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


Trump as the nominee would be really bad for the Republicans because basically he has zero coat-tails and the down-ticket races would be extremely problematic. It also has the potential of undermining any confidence that the Republican party isn't completely dominated by nutcases. Even if for some reason Cruz wins in Iowa (he's basically all-in there) and Christie wins in NH (he's all in there) Trump probably has enough solid support to keep a consensus forming around a "reasonable" candidate like Bush or Rubio. I figure Cruz or Carson will win SC and it will be a clusterfuck the rest of the way.

Of course the other thing the Republicans have to be afraid of is whether a solid showing in Iowa and NH will be enough to convince Trump that a third-party run would be a fun way of keeping his name in the news and with an egomanic like the Trumpster it's hard to imagine that he wouldn't be willing to throw a few million dollars (and about a zillion dollars worth of free media publicity) at a third party run.

That's the worst case scenario. Double digit Clinton win, massive minority turnout because of a fired-up electorate and complete fracturing of the Republican voter base. A blowout like that would basically guarantee the Senate and the House making a massive shift towards the Democrats. That's the absolute worst case scenario for Republicans because they don't want to deal with 8 years of Obama followed by 4-8 years of Clinton. Too many things like the Supreme Court could be basically rebalanced. Let's be honest even a 4 year Clinton term is liable to result in at least a shift of 1-2 Justices.
posted by vuron at 1:43 PM on December 18, 2015


Yeah that's not really a worst case for most of us here. :)
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 2:45 PM on December 18, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have no doubt that the respondents thought they were talking about an actual place -- I didn't recognize "Agrabah" as being from Aladdin when I first read that -- but we're still talking about a nonzero percentage of people not knowing what the fuck they were talking about and saying "Sure, what the hell, bomb 'em."


Which is worse, right? I mean, if someone said "Should we bomb the country in Aladdin?" or "Should we bomb Coruscant?" I might say yes, because it's obviously a joke. If someone said "Should we bomb X" and I don't know what X is, the logical answer is either No or Not Sure. Otherwise it's just, what? Support for the general concept of bombing? (I suppose in this case its more "Support for the general idea of bombing Muslim-sounding places").
posted by thefoxgod at 4:48 PM on December 18, 2015


The Democratic side has been fixed from the beginning, Bernie was never getting a fair shot at beating her, voter's wishes be damned.

The Democratic machine clearly is in the bag for Clinton. But it's not exactly "voters wishes be damned" since a large majority of Democrats support Clinton over Sanders. I realize that's not a large majority of Mefites but unfortunately for us we are not the deciding vote. (The last poll I saw had Clinton with a 31 point lead nationally. That's not a landslide its a mountainslide.)
posted by Justinian at 4:51 PM on December 18, 2015


I'd like to think Trump doesn't have a chance, but apparently, 30% of Republican primary voters and 19% of Democrat primary voters support the of bombing Agrabah.

From Disney's Aladdin.

It's a brutal dictatorship headed by a hereditary monarchy, millions live oppressed in abject poverty while shadowy religious clerics enrich themselves. And a preemptive strike may be justified to prevent the scourge of genies from afflicting the rest of the world after the inevitable regime collapse.


Not to mention the global proliferation of weaponized carpets
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:13 PM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


(also, I'm not sure what the problem with Huckabee is. Probably some combination of being a loser, an insider, and not totally beholden to some mid-western mullah who wants to pull his strings... I don't know)

Huckabee honestly seems like he's more interested in fundraising and selling books than aspiring to the highest office. Sorta like Gingrich, except slightly mellower and much more pious, so he's able to rally the evangelicals. IIRC, he's really good at fundraising for the GOP base, which I feel like is his other real function in the primaries. He doesn't ever seem too focused on campaign strategy or laying out coherent policy objectives, nor does it look like he really wants the job of president. He does seem very content in his current role, however.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:13 PM on December 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


delfin, I think your analysis is spot-on insightful, but it's also crazy depressing to see Christie and Fiorina somehow counting as the "milquetoast" end of this cohort.

I've heard more than one Republican base voter (trying to be kind here) refer to Paul Ryan as a RINO lately, mostly from the attention he got from his undesired new job of House Speaker. Paul "Ayn Rand apostle" Ryan, the hardcore budget slasher, because he's actually willing to work with Democrats to pass legislation.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:24 PM on December 18, 2015


Trump's long odds make him an amazing bet. Nobody with his consistent polling dominance has ever failed to be nominated. He trades where he does because of cognitive dissonance not reasoned analysis.

If Trump were trading fair to historical precedent, I would sell him because Cruz does have a good outside shot -- Iowa, and South Carolina if Carson drops out, and this "everyone hates Cruz" is media garbage with no impact on the people who matter (voters and donors).

The best bet is to sell Rubio at 6:4 ... he's more likely to drop out by February 29 than be the nominee.
posted by MattD at 8:09 PM on December 18, 2015


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