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Old 04-30-2020, 12:17 AM
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U.S. Senate races 2020


Big-picture discussions here, or your thoughts on particular races that might not merit a thread all their own.

Democrats need to shift just three seats, and Republicans seem to be nervous:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/29/polit...ate/index.html
https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/27/polit...ats/index.html
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Old 04-30-2020, 07:55 AM
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States in serious play: Colorado, Arizona, Maine and North Carolina
Other states in play: Georgia, Iowa, Montana and even Kansas
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Old 04-30-2020, 08:18 AM
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Polling here in South Carolina indicates we've got at least some chance against Graham. It's thin, but for the first time in a while it's there.

And yes, The R should be nervous. The President's underwater by 10% and the generic congressional favors the D side by 7.7% as of this morning.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
States in serious play: Colorado, Arizona, Maine and North Carolina
Other states in play: Georgia, Iowa, Montana and even Kansas
The four states "in serious play" are about toss-ups right now, according to the Wikipedia summary.

I'd extend the four "Other states" into a list of eight Senate seats: Georgia is electing TWO Senators this cycle; the Blues have a chance at each of them. Incumbent Jones of Alabama is a long-shot to win re-election, but has about the same chance as Bollier scoring an upset in Kansas, according to Wikipedia. (Bollier BTW was an R until switching parties in 2018.) Michigan should be included in a list of key elections: Incumbent Democrat Peters looks vulnerable. And Republican Corbyn in Texas is not a shoo-in.

Of the 12 Senate seats just listed, the D's need to win five to get 50-50, or win six to get an absolute majority.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:26 AM
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I wouldn't be surprised if Mark Kelly beats Martha McSally; she's not well-liked.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:42 AM
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Yeah, the current polling numbers in Arizona are Kelly 49, McSally 41. Kelly's led in polls for more than two months.

I'm not sure where septimus is getting his 'toss up' figures from but Arizona should only be in that column if we're being extremely conservative.
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:46 AM
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Would be surprised if NC goes blue but it will be close. Last Dems to win here were Kay Hagan in 2008 and John Edwards in 98.
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Old 04-30-2020, 10:03 AM
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I don't think Peters in MI will be that seriously challenged. The Michigan GOP seems to think that James is their great hope but I'm just not seeing it.

I think Susan Collins is the most in danger. When that result comes in, we'll have a good idea of how the rest of the night is going. The Alabama seat will likely be a loss for the Dems, I'd be happy with a 50-50 split and Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.

I would not at all be surprised if McConnell goes down. Maybe wishful thinking, but he isn't that popular in KY.
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Old 04-30-2020, 10:04 AM
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Yeah, the current polling numbers in Arizona are Kelly 49, McSally 41. Kelly's led in polls for more than two months.

I'm not sure where septimus is getting his 'toss up' figures from but Arizona should only be in that column if we're being extremely conservative.
Arizona looks good for the Dems. Kelly(D) leads every poll I've seen.
NC is a toss up, leaning Republican Tills (R) over Cunningham (D)

Michigan, Peters(D) leads every poll by a comfortable margin.

I've only seen 1 poll for Maine and am surprised CNN lists it as in serious play but the PPP (a dem polling group) shows Gideon (D) 47, Collins (R) 43. Some digging suggests Collins has tainted herself with Trump and lost some of her prior support. A February poll also has Gideon slight ahead.
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Old 04-30-2020, 10:47 AM
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I'm not sure where septimus is getting his 'toss up' figures from but Arizona should only be in that column if we're being extremely conservative.
I just use Wikipedia's table. There, 4 out of 5 "rating agencies" show Tossup, with only Sabato as Lean-D. (Sabato is the most recent ratings shown; Daily Kos's haven't been updated since March 9.)

(I'm sure there are other, better summary pages, but I'm used to Wikipedia. )
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:55 PM
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Corey Gardner is toast as the demographic changes sweeping Colorado only continue.

Kansas just elected a Dem as governor and Kris Kobach is Trump tainted (that may not be as damaging in Kansas as it is in more advanced parts of the nation); Bollier, a recently converted Republican, can beat him.

In Montana, the popular Dem governor is running for the Senate. He has proven not just that a Dem can win a statewide race there but that HE can as well.

Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball just moved Alaska from "Safe R" to "Lean R" today.

It's still an uphill climb but a majority can be reached. The Dem candidates' best campaign weapon remains every time Donald Trump goes on television and reveals his unfitness.
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:57 PM
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...Arizona should only be in that column if we're being extremely conservative.
So to speak.
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Old 04-30-2020, 04:39 PM
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Kansas Republicans are understandably nervous. As mentioned above, Kobach has the stink of Trump all over him, and Pompeo keeps dancing around whether he will run or not, but at this point he may be Trump-tainted even worse than Kobach. I think it's been over 100 years since Kansas elected a Democratic senator.

By the way, I didn't know that Bollier was a former Republican, which makes me a little nervous, but at least the Democrats aren't trotting out their favorite GOP punching bag, Paul Davis, this time around.
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Old 04-30-2020, 05:24 PM
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I dunno in what world CO is considered a toss-up. Gardner barely won the seat, the Dems made massive gains in 2018, old republicans continue to die and get replaced by non-republican transplants, and Hickenlooper is the strongest candidate they could have hope for. If they don't pick up this seat, then I don't see how they could pick up any of them.
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Old 04-30-2020, 05:46 PM
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I worry that this South Carolina race is the kind Democrats nationally and particularly online get all excited about and raise a ton of out-of-state donations, only for the republican incumbent to win by nine points.
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Old 04-30-2020, 05:50 PM
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I worry that this South Carolina race is the kind Democrats nationally and particularly online get all excited about and raise a ton of out-of-state donations, only for the republican incumbent to win by nine points.
Agreed. You could kinda sorta put Kentucky, where Amy McGrath is raising all kinds of money to battle the Turtle, in that same boat.
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Old 04-30-2020, 06:01 PM
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I have created a PredictIt derived Senate Thermometer that tweets an update every day at 4:42 PM MT.

The data is a little incomplete right now but that should shape up well before November.

Here's every race where both team D and team R have at least a 10% chance of winning. * Indicates special election.

MI 83.6%
AZ* 83.0%
ME 74.0%
NC 63.2%
MT 45.4%
GA* 26.8%
KS 25.0%
GA 22.3%
IA 21.2%

Notably, Colorado is not on this list because as of right now a Dem victory is > 90% likely.
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Old 04-30-2020, 06:44 PM
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I'll tell you when I knew Cory Garner was toast. It was July 9, 2017.

Which of these politicians has a bright future?

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Originally Posted by adaher View Post
4) Cory Garder- Gardner has done a pretty good job of making everyone happy, from his Tea Party supporters, to the voters in his purple leaning blue state, to the Senate leadership. IMO, Gardner's going to have McConnell's spot someday
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Old 04-30-2020, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Lance Turbo View Post
I have created a PredictIt derived Senate Thermometer that tweets an update every day at 4:42 PM MT.

The data is a little incomplete right now but that should shape up well before November.

Here's every race where both team D and team R have at least a 10% chance of winning. * Indicates special election.

MI 83.6%
AZ* 83.0%
ME 74.0%
NC 63.2%
MT 45.4%
GA* 26.8%
KS 25.0%
GA 22.3%
IA 21.2%

Notably, Colorado is not on this list because as of right now a Dem victory is > 90% likely.
I don't understand. Is the percentage shown, the likelihood of the Dem candidate winning?
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Old 04-30-2020, 10:44 PM
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I don't understand. Is the percentage shown, the likelihood of the Dem candidate winning?
Correct.

My mistake. I should have made that clear.

More specifically it is the implied probability from the PredictIt market for that race, debiased for favorite-longshot bias.

Last edited by Lance Turbo; 04-30-2020 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:12 AM
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Gotcha. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:51 AM
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Kansas Republicans are understandably nervous. As mentioned above, Kobach has the stink of Trump all over him, and Pompeo keeps dancing around whether he will run or not, but at this point he may be Trump-tainted even worse than Kobach. I think it's been over 100 years since Kansas elected a Democratic senator.
I don't think even without Trump stench that Kobach would be a good choice for the GOP in KS. He riles up their primary voters, but his years of gallivanting around the nation instead of minding his knitting at home has made fairly toxic.

After losing the governor's mansion, I'm surprised he has any real support in any case.
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Old 05-01-2020, 10:52 AM
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The Dem candidates' best campaign weapon remains every time Donald Trump goes on television and reveals his unfitness.
Indeed.

When I've heard fellow Democrats complain that Biden's not being visible and not campaigning, I remind them of Napoleon's axiom:

Quote:
Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake.
Trump is hammering himself - without enough self-awareness to know it - with those COVID briefings. The single best thing Biden can do is stand back and not distract from it.
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Old 05-01-2020, 06:54 PM
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For the down-ballot Dems they might find opponents who choose to distance themselves from Trump the closer we get to the election to save their seats. I think August is the cut-off point whereby if polls keep showing Trump continually losing ground in swing states and barely above water in some traditionally red states (recent Texas and Georgia polling doesn't look good for him) then you're going to see a breakaway.
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Old 05-02-2020, 12:34 PM
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I would not at all be surprised if McConnell goes down. Maybe wishful thinking, but he isn't that popular in KY.
Not popular? Hasn't he made Kentucky one of the top three or four richest states when it comes to federal funding? (Heh, despite the evil moron whining last week about federal aid being a "blue state bailout")

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Agreed. You could kinda sorta put Kentucky, where Amy McGrath is raising all kinds of money to battle the Turtle, in that same boat.
She needs to defeat ol Turts almost as badly as the senate needing to get flipped or a switch in chief executive.

How much of a stretch was that - what I just said? (whoever his replacement finally is, could he/she be any more execrable?) (at the very least I don't recall Boehner being appointment-happy with garbage judges.)
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Old 05-02-2020, 12:37 PM
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63% for D in NC is way high. If Tillis loses here it won't be by more than a few points. He probably starts with 45% at least.
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Old 05-02-2020, 01:50 PM
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63% for D in NC is way high. If Tillis loses here it won't be by more than a few points. He probably starts with 45% at least.
You are misunderstanding what 63% represents in my previous post.

The 63% represents the estimated probability of the Democrat winning the race and not the projected share of the vote. It wiggles around a little bit day to day, but it has been pretty consistently in a range where 63% seems possible.
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Old 05-02-2020, 02:37 PM
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Yes I know what your 63% means. It is still way high. Right now it's a tossup or leans R.
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Old 05-02-2020, 02:59 PM
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Yes I know what your 63% means. It is still way high. Right now it's a tossup or leans R.
What is your methodology for determining this?
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Old 05-02-2020, 03:39 PM
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What is your methodology for determining this?
Living in NC for 50 years and looking at the results of recent senate races and other races. The metro areas of Charlotte, Triad, Triangle are mostly blue but they also contain a lot of young people who vote Dem but don't vote nearly as much as older people who tend to vote GOP. Rural areas are pretty much way red.

Tillis might well lose in Nov. but I still see him as the slight favorite. Is anyone else predicting he will lose? Cook report has the race as tossup which I agree with.

Last edited by Bijou Drains; 05-02-2020 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 05-02-2020, 05:35 PM
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(at the very least I don't recall Boehner being appointment-happy with garbage judges.)
Brilliant - getting my House Speakers and Senate Leaders mixed up - apologies. Was Trent Lott any worse than MM?

Bill Perdue (R.) isn't confident of victory in November in Georgia.

Quote:
Georgia is home to two Senate races that are considered relatively competitive. Perdue is running for reelection against several Democrats still competing in a primary, while a "jungle" primary has exposed bitter divisions within the GOP in the race to complete the term of former Sen. Johnny Isakson (R).
Quote:
"The demographic moves against us. But we can still win this if we get out and make sure that all of our voters vote. That's what this comes down to."
My bold. Yeah? Including mail-in votes, Mr. Republican?
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:14 PM
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Cook report has the race as tossup which I agree with.
First, 63% D is a pretty much a toss up. It takes at least 40 trials to tell a 63/37 coin from a 50/50 coin.

Second, I'm just reporting what the market is saying. There's over a hundred shares of Republican 'Yes' up for sale at PredictIt for $0.44 per share. If you think that's underpriced, there's an obvious course of action for you to take.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:37 PM
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I don't bet on political races. Just the lottery now and then. I think last time UK bookies were so confident of a Clinton win I believe some actually paid out before the election. I guess they got all that money back. I prefer to listen to political experts about races, not bookies.
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Old 05-02-2020, 06:44 PM
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Suit yourself.

Also, PredictIt is a prediction market, not a bookie i.e. buyers and sellers set their own prices.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:03 PM
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OK I will put $100k on Tillis to lose. Happy?
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:16 PM
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OK I will put $100k on Tillis to lose. Happy?
Don't do it to make me happy. Do it for yourself.
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Old 05-02-2020, 07:59 PM
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Lance - What debiasing formula do you use? IIUC Rothschild's y' = Phi(1.64 * Phi^-1 (y)) changes 28% into 17%.
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Old 05-02-2020, 10:03 PM
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Lance - What debiasing formula do you use? IIUC Rothschild's y' = Phi(1.64 * Phi^-1 (y)) changes 28% into 17%.
I do use f(y) = Φ(1.64 * Φ-1(y)), and f(0.28) is indeed quite close to 0.17.
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Old 05-03-2020, 03:54 AM
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Is there good evidence that that formula gives useful results for prediction markets? I ask for two reasons:

(1) The unadjusted percentages inferred from Betfair often sum to about 90 to 100% as they should. I don't think the adjusted percentages do.

(2) IIUC that formula was derived from horse races, where odds are determined by pari-mutuel. In most prediction markets individual bets are laid; the formula would thus seem to assume long-shot fear, properly adjusted, balances long-shot greed exactly. Does it?

I assume that prediction market players are well aware that inferred percentages should sum to 95%(*) or so, and bid up the costs to lay long-shot tickets, if only to protect their other investments.

Four years ago, in Game Threads, I organized a pari-mutuel prediction market ("Karachi auction") to predict the GOP nominee, but there was no interest in such a thing this cycle. (The four-years ago Karachi auction turned me into a laughingstock when I advised a foreign Doper to reduce his wager on the joke candidate, Trump. )

ETA: (* - 95% rather than 100% to leave room for dark horses coming from "out of nowhere.")

Last edited by septimus; 05-03-2020 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 05-03-2020, 09:58 AM
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Is there good evidence that that formula gives useful results for prediction markets?
Yes. You have read the same paper as I have. Forecasting Elections: Comparing Prediction Markets, Polls, and Their Biases .


Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
(1) The unadjusted percentages inferred from Betfair often sum to about 90 to 100% as they should. I don't think the adjusted percentages do.
The adjusted percentages for these particular races add up to 100%. They do so because I make them do so.

Here's the process:

1. Collect the average of the bid and ask prices from the PredictIt API for both parties for every senate race offered on the site every hour. Call these d_raw and r_raw.

2. Normalize with respect to the L1 norm. Call this d_norm. This means d_norm = d_raw / (d_raw + r_raw). Same goes for r_norm, but that is never used.

3. Debias for longshot-favorite bias the way Rothschild does as suggested by Leigh, et. al.. Call this d_debias. So d_debias = Φ(1.64 * Φ-1(d_norm)). Due to the nature of Φ, d_norm+ r_norm = 1 implies d_debias + r_debias = 1.

4. Finally I compute the 24 hour rolling average of the debiased probabilities. Call this d_rolling. with a similarly computed r_rollling we should have d_rolling + r_rolling = 1, but I don't bother with that. I set r_rolling = 1 - d_rolling.


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(2) IIUC that formula was derived from horse races, where odds are determined by pari-mutuel. In most prediction markets individual bets are laid; the formula would thus seem to assume long-shot fear, properly adjusted, balances long-shot greed exactly. Does it?
It seems to based on Rothschild's results.

Quote:
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I assume that prediction market players are well aware that inferred percentages should sum to 95%(*) or so, and bid up the costs to lay long-shot tickets, if only to protect their other investments.
I don't do this, because I haven't seen any reason to believe that a third party candidate has a greater than zero chance of winning in any of these races, much less 5% chance. If such a candidate should emerge I will adjust my model accordingly.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:08 AM
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Thanks! My comment about probabilities not summing to 100% (or nearly so) did not apply to the binary (or nearly binary) races like Senate seats, but to nominee markets where there are several choices.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:13 AM
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I think a lot depends on Trump, if he wins NC easily then Tillis wins. If Trump manages to lose here or just barely wins that could mean Tillis loses.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:19 AM
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Thanks! My comment about probabilities not summing to 100% (or nearly so) did not apply to the binary (or nearly binary) races like Senate seats, but to nominee markets where there are several choices.
f(x) = Φ(c * Φ-1(x)) has the property that |0.5 - x| > |0.5 - f(x)| when c > 1 (i.e. it pushes things away from 50%). So if we had a + b + c = 1 with a, b, c < 0.5, then f(a) + f(b) + f(c) < 1 is guaranteed since we have f(a) < a, f(b) < b, and f(c) < c.

For this reason and others this debiasing formula is not sufficient for races with three or more possible outcomes.
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:22 AM
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We should hope the voting is correlated, since the White House does us little good without the Senate. But aren't there a large group of baffling voters who will say "I voted D for President, so will vote the R Senator for balance" ? "Gridlock! Yayyy!!!"
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Old 05-03-2020, 10:39 AM
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I think a lot depends on Trump, if he wins NC easily then Tillis wins. If Trump manages to lose here or just barely wins that could mean Tillis loses.
In 2016 Trump won NC by 3.5% and Roy Cooper won the governor race by 0.2%.

Currently both Trump and Cooper are each favored slightly again. this certainly indicates that the senate seat seat is in play, and the most recent poll result is Cunningham (D) +7 over Tillis (R).

My adjusted PredictIt reflects this as well. Last night's posted results were:

NC Electoral College: P(D) = 46.8%
NC Senate: P(D) = 64.5%

Also see (from January): NEW POLL: Tillis’ Approval Ratings Still Underwater Even After Spending More Than $700k on Primary Ad Campaign

Quote:
Tillis once again has the lowest approval rating (34%) of any Republican Senator up for reelection this year.
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Old 05-04-2020, 05:46 AM
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I still don't know how Hagan won for NC Senate in 08 but I guess Obama helped her and Dole tried to call her an atheist. Also Bev Perdue won for governor that year and that may have helped Hagan too.
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:17 AM
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We should hope the voting is correlated, since the White House does us little good without the Senate. But aren't there a large group of baffling voters who will say "I voted D for President, so will vote the R Senator for balance" ? "Gridlock! Yayyy!!!"
You know, I use to hear that, I haven't for years, in fact for decades now. I feel like that reduced a lot after the 90s.
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Old 05-04-2020, 09:59 AM
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We should hope the voting is correlated, since the White House does us little good without the Senate.
You're right that voting tends to correlate, both inside a state and between states.

But this statement is still demonstrably untrue, septimus. In any emergency care situation the first step is stopping the bleeding. Taking the White House is an important first step. I think we have a chance at the Senate - more data as more polls closer to E-day will make things clearer - but taking the White House and changing the direction of the federal government is overwhelmingly important.

Or, to rephrase, which is preferable? Gridlock or Trump and McConnell continuing to work together for another four years?
  #49  
Old 05-04-2020, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by septimus View Post
We should hope the voting is correlated, since the White House does us little good without the Senate. But aren't there a large group of baffling voters who will say "I voted D for President, so will vote the R Senator for balance" ? "Gridlock! Yayyy!!!"
I don't actually find that all that baffling. There are people who either a) don't want the government to be able to do anything much or b) want the government to only be able to do things on which there is wide agreement.

The second of those would IMO make considerable sense if it weren't that for some years now we've had people in the US government who disagree with anything that the other party's in favor of, purely on the grounds that the other party's in favor of it. So it's gotten unreasonably difficult to get wide agreement.
  #50  
Old 05-06-2020, 07:44 AM
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Some encouraging senate polls this week, but keep in mind that there's a long way to go.

Iowa: Ernst (R) 43 +1 over Greenfield (D) 42, PPP May 4
Montana: Bullock (D) 46 +7 over Daines (R) 39, MSU Bozeman May 5
North Carolina: Cunningham (D) 50 +9 over Tillis (R) 41, Civiqs May 5
Colorado: Hickenlooper (D) 48 +17(!) over Gardner (R) 31, MSU Bozeman May 5
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