Polls: Trust those with something to lose.

I do alot of betting on a futures-style gambling site called Tradesports and have cited it in numerous threads regarding the accuracy of political polls. I think its safe to say that those with something to lose make the most unbiased pollsters.:

A month before the election, Tradesport prices:

correctly predicted Bush would win;

correctly predicted all 50 states except three (N.H., Wis., N.M.);

correctly predicted all 34 Senate races except four (Alaska, Fla., N.C., S.D. — in all cases the GOP won);

correctly predicted the GOP would keep Senate control; and

correctly predicted the GOP would keep House control.

Tradesports prices 4 days before the election:

correctly predicted Bush would win;

correctly predicted all 50 states except one (Wis.);

correctly predicted all 34 senate races except one (Alaska);

correctly predicted the GOP would keep Senate control;

correctly predicted the GOP would keep House control.


Screw Gallup. Ask those people who have money on the line.

I was also using Tradesports and the Iowa Electronic Markets. But no one around here wanted to hear it, because they didn’t like the message coming out of those sources.

I also predicted a few days before the election that John Zogby would finally be discovered as a bad pollster. His methodology sucks. He got lucky in 2000, and was treated as an Oracle ever since. He blew it big time in this election.

No, see. Polls are more accurate because they let you frame a question just the way you want. They also enable you to put just as much weight on the opinion of any chucklehead who stays home a lot, answers the phone and avers that “sure, I’ll likely vote” as you do on that of educated people familiar with how politics works.

Plus supporting that betting thing sounds a whole lot like saying free markets make the best choices, and we know that’s not true.

Well, I believe that in order to make a comparative prediction, you would need to actually make a comparison. I.e., were the bettors at Tradesports really doing significantly better than the polls were…particularly if you averaged over a few polls.

I mean some of the things you are giving them credit for predicting were obvious. Everyone knew that the GOP was going to retain control of the House…It was pretty much a foregone conclusion, barring a complete GOP meltdown, after DeLay engineered that redistricting down in Texas.

Electoral-vote.com had been predicting the GOP would retain control of the Senate for at least several weeks.

And, I believe you could have predicted 47 out of the 50 states in the electoral contest correctly by just saying that Bush would win the same states he won in 2000. (I think just Iowa, New Mexico, and N.H. changed sides.)

And, hey, before the election it was generally known that the election would come down to Kerry’s being able to win at least one of Ohio or Florida…which is why I went down to Cleveland for last Monday and Tuesday. I could have gone to Pennsylvania, for example, but my feeling was that if Kerry was going to lose Pennsylvania things were pretty hopeless so I might as well concentrate on a state for which the election hung more in the balance.

Good point. Other than getting the Presidential election winner right, none of those other political predictions was all that different than the average of the polls. And, the Presidential election was a squeaker. There really weren’t many surprises in this election. And while some notable pollsters like Zogby got the Presidential election wrong, hardly anyone was “surprised” that Bush pulled it off. Pretty much all political pundits thought he had at least a sporting chance, even if they thought he was the underdog. Now if Nader had won…

All I know is that I saw many threads indicating that Kerry was ahead in the polls at one time or another and Tradesports was always pointing to a Bush win. I don’t claim that these markets are magical, just the best thing going.

Heh. That said, Kerry moved to something like a 70-30 lead when the alleged exit polls made the blog rounds on Tuesday. Nothing like blood in the streets to create a buying opportunity. Tradesports was wrong on a half a dozen states or so at 4:00 that day.

Sadly, even those things are “securities” for the purposes of my compliance department and I couldn’t have opened an account in time.

Yup. And when that happened, I plopped down an additional $500 on Bush; my earlier investment wasn’t even giving me 1:1. That was a nice chance to pick up some extra cash.

I agree but Zogby is in major denial. Here’s what Zogby is reporting on his site:

New York Post Says Zogby “Got It Right”(November 4,2004)

Here is what the NY Post actually wrote:

"All of the final polls were within the margin of error. But none of the pollsters, even those who showed Kerry ahead, went as far as Zogby International did in predicting a runaway victory for Kerry.

In a last-ditch effort for bragging rights, John Zogby called the election for Kerry at 5 p.m. before polls closed on Election Day, announcing on his Web site that the Demo- cratic nominee would win 311 electoral votes.

That call even went against Zogby’s final poll, which showed Bush narrowly winning the popular vote — and left the pollster with his tail between his legs.

“I thought we captured a trend, but apparently that result didn’t materialize,” Zogby wrote on his Web site yesterday."

This is ‘getting it right’?

Plus, people who have more disposable inme --> more likely to gamble online --> more likely to be Pubbies.

Selection error.

There were also huge alleged manipulation attempts:


Sure - but the market recovered from each of those manipulation attempts.

Valid point. But even those people have an interest in protecting their assets. And need I belabor the obvious in pointing out that ultimately, these more-likely-to-be-Pubbies were RIGHT?

Er… “CORRECT,” that is.

Yes. I consider that a big sign of the robustness of the market and the efficacy as an indicator.