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Tags 2016 elections , donald trump , fivethirtyeight.com , hillary clinton , Nate Silver , political predictions , public opinion polls

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Old 30th June 2016, 06:50 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
I would say that Nate Silver is making an educated bet using what he thinks is the best data and he's usually pretty close. However, there is no denying that his selection of criteria for his model is completely subjective. To extend the gambling analogy, the Daily Fantasy Sports bettors have a pretty objective method for picking their teams but their models cannot possibly account for all variables; injuries, flukes, exceptional play, etc.
Silver is basically just using polls and weighing them by their past accuracy. I dunno what is subjective about that.

Do any gamblers have a model that has worked 99% of the time?
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Old 30th June 2016, 07:38 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
You're just pulling numbers out of your ass just like Silver did for Trump in the primary.
Waitaminute . . . I thought you just said he had models that were not based on his gut feeling. So maybe he is somewhat subjective after all.
Quote:
<snip>Silver's mathematical model has a very good track record. <snip>
So is the model mathematical or does he pull numbers out of his ass?
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Old 30th June 2016, 07:45 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
Silver is basically just using polls and weighing them by their past accuracy. I dunno what is subjective about that.
The fact that he uses polls as his data source. Which polls he uses. How much weight he puts on the polls. However he decides to tweak things based on what his gut tells him like you intimate he did with Trump. Lots of things, really.

Quote:
Do any gamblers have a model that has worked 99% of the time?
Do we really know that his models are 99% accurate? That seems a bit high. But I'm willing to look at the data if you have it.
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Old 30th June 2016, 07:45 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by johnny karate View Post
That's just about the perfect number for you to have pulled out of your ass. If Trump wins, it's high enough for you to claim victory. If Trump loses, it's low enough for you to save face.
Meh. I don't care about saving face. Nobody will remember this thread come election time, except me, in which case I'll only resurrect it if it shows that I was right.

I'm just trying to give my honest assessment. If the numbers look "perfect," it's because my experience has shown me that true probabilities in politics have usually been closer to 50/50, than the "smart" people have previously believed. It's a hard thing judging how the masses will judge things. In part because the judging itself affects how the masses will judge. This isn't like rolling dice or flipping coins.

Quote:
You're not competing against Nate Silver, you're competing against a proven statistical model.
I have a lot of respect for political polls, and for Silver's methods of weighting them. But the fact remains, his models can't properly account for effects which have not happened yet. His models can tell you with petty good accuracy what the results of an election today would be. He doesn't have much to go on as to how much polls can change over 4 months in an uncertain world made far more uncertain by an extremely unpredictable Republican candidate and a Democratic candidate who is being investigated by the FBI.
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Old 30th June 2016, 07:47 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
Waitaminute . . . I thought you just said he had models that were not based on his gut feeling. So maybe he is somewhat subjective after all.
So is the model mathematical or does he pull numbers out of his ass?
Silver giving Trump such a poor chance in the primaries was not based on the data. In fact, he ignored the data because he didn't believe that Republicans primary voters would be as stupid as they clearly are.

The mathematical model that gives Hillary an 80% chance of winning is the same one that correctly picked 49 states in 2008 and 50 in 2012.
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Old 30th June 2016, 07:48 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
Silver is basically just using polls and weighing them by their past accuracy. I dunno what is subjective about that.

Do any gamblers have a model that has worked 99% of the time?
I think he's also allowing for the amount of time between now and the GE? If we were into October and the polls were showing the same he'd be predicting much lower odds for Trump. Also, some of the battleground states have very few polls taken. 55% chance of Arizona going D, and 29% for Texas are pretty remarkable.

One national poll after another is showing Clinton 5 to 10 points up. Rasmussen is the one exception, but they were the ones predicting a Romney win in '12 if I'm not mistaken.

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Old 30th June 2016, 07:54 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post

<snip>

And surely you think that the media is against Trump even more than they were Romney? Yet you believe that Trump has a good chance while you were sure Romney would lose? LOL.
Well, when I wrote "sure," I was exaggerating a bit. I meant more sure. As in 80% for Obama rather than 70%. Something like that. I don't think I have ever been more sure than 90% about an important election. Perhaps that is something of a tautology.

As for the media being against Trump, I think Trump has managed to turn that on its head. He has made the media an enemy and therefore blunted its impact. As I've said before, Trump has an almost Three Stooges Syndrome-like protective coating.

As for Hillary's money advantage, I think it won't make much of a difference. Trump gets his message out through the media for free. This is a candidate whose empty podium gets the undivided attention of every news network for 45 minutes straight, while Hillary's speeches go un-aired and barely remarked.

Perhaps the "turn-out" ground game will be much more effective for Hillary than for Trump. No doubt she has a big advantage there. But I've always been a little skeptical of the importance of that. I know people who have volunteered to knock on doors and drive people to the polls, and they've always come back from a hard day's work thinking that it was a total waste of time. Would it make the difference in a Florida 2000 type situation? Sure. Would it make a difference of a whole 1% of the vote? Doubt it.
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Old 30th June 2016, 07:54 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
I think he's also allowing for the amount of time between now and the GE? If we were into October and the polls were showing the same he'd be predicting much lower odds for Trump. Also, some of the battleground states have very few polls taken. 55% chance of Arizona going D, and 29% for Texas are pretty remarkable.

One national poll after another is showing Clinton 5 to 10 points up. Rasmussen is the one exception, but they were the ones predicting a Romney win in '12 if I'm not mistaken.
Yes, definitely. If the polls are this bad for Trump in October, his odds will be much lower than they currently are.

And yeah, Rasmussen is a terrible pollster and favors Republicans.

Last edited by Tony Stark; 30th June 2016 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:06 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by sunmaster14 View Post
Well, when I wrote "sure," I was exaggerating a bit. I meant more sure. As in 80% for Obama rather than 70%. Something like that. I don't think I have ever been more sure than 90% about an important election. Perhaps that is something of a tautology.

As for the media being against Trump, I think Trump has managed to turn that on its head. He has made the media an enemy and therefore blunted its impact. As I've said before, Trump has an almost Three Stooges Syndrome-like protective coating.

As for Hillary's money advantage, I think it won't make much of a difference. Trump gets his message out through the media for free. This is a candidate whose empty podium gets the undivided attention of every news network for 45 minutes straight, while Hillary's speeches go un-aired and barely remarked.

Perhaps the "turn-out" ground game will be much more effective for Hillary than for Trump. No doubt she has a big advantage there. But I've always been a little skeptical of the importance of that. I know people who have volunteered to knock on doors and drive people to the polls, and they've always come back from a hard day's work thinking that it was a total waste of time. Would it make the difference in a Florida 2000 type situation? Sure. Would it make a difference of a whole 1% of the vote? Doubt it.
The media allowing Trump to spew his garbage for free probably hurts him more than helps him because Trump is an idiot with poor impulse control. The whole Judge Curiel thing, for instance.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:13 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Stacko View Post
72.2% is good turnout for a country without mandatory voting laws.
Fair enough. I had heard something on the news about trying to overturn the results because they didn't have 75% turnout.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:15 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I've met all kinds. Some believe in the Gambler's Fallacy and think that if red shows up a lot in roulette, black is "due". I don't think those kinds of idiots bet on political outcomes. I don't. But I may be wrong, and gamblers, as a group, may be a bunch of idiots.

That hasn't been my experience. Do you have evidence to support that gamblers don't care about odds when they bet?
No, but odds are a reflection of perception -- they don't have any concrete value.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:19 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
Silver giving Trump such a poor chance in the primaries was not based on the data. In fact, he ignored the data because he didn't believe that Republicans primary voters would be as stupid as they clearly are.

...
Actually, I think he did not believe the Republican party would be so stupid / ineffectual. He thought they would use their power to stop him, but they didn't try until it was far too late.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:20 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by Slings and Arrows View Post
At this point, we can't even say with certainty who the candidates will be, let alone the winner. Bernie Sanders is convinced that he's going to be the nominee, and if Crooked Hillary is indicted he probably will be.
Another poster who cannot avoid childish names. Shouldn't you be commenting on a YouTube video somewhere?
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:21 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by Varanid View Post
No, but odds are a reflection of perception -- they don't have any concrete value.
Not always. In sports or horse betting yes. But Blackjack for example there is a hard mathematical number on what your odds are based on your cards and what the dealer is showing.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:27 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
The fact that he uses polls as his data source. Which polls he uses. How much weight he puts on the polls. However he decides to tweak things based on what his gut tells him like you intimate he did with Trump. Lots of things, really.

Do we really know that his models are 99% accurate? That seems a bit high. But I'm willing to look at the data if you have it.
As far as I know, he uses all the polls. He weighs them on based on how accurate they have been in the past. He doesn't tweek them based on his gut.

The Trump thing was not based on a mathematical model or data at all. He didn't tweek the polls, he outright ignored them. The prediction was purely him being a (bad) pundit and not understanding how stupid Republicans are.

And look at his model's record at calling states in the past. 99/100 for the last two elections. 99%.
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Old 30th June 2016, 08:28 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by nelsondogg View Post
Actually, I think he did not believe the Republican party would be so stupid / ineffectual. He thought they would use their power to stop him, but they didn't try until it was far too late.
Yes, I suppose that may be a more accurate.
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:13 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Varanid View Post
Another poster who cannot avoid childish names. Shouldn't you be commenting on a YouTube video somewhere?
Will we be seeing the same kind of chiding when childish names are used to describe Trump and Sanders?
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:25 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Will we be seeing the same kind of chiding when childish names are used to describe Trump and Sanders?
Why assume that we will see childish names for Trump or Sanders? Especially Sanders, as he is done, kaput, out of the running.
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:36 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by lobosrul View Post
Not always. In sports or horse betting yes. But Blackjack for example there is a hard mathematical number on what your odds are based on your cards and what the dealer is showing.
Sure, but the odds of an election are determined by the perception of the gamblers. The odds fluctuate to try to keep even money on both sides of the bet, no?

I'm not a gambler, so I am ready to be corrected.
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:37 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Will we be seeing the same kind of chiding when childish names are used to describe Trump and Sanders?
You won't see that from me.
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:43 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by Varanid View Post
Sure, but the odds of an election are determined by the perception of the gamblers. The odds fluctuate to try to keep even money on both sides of the bet, no?

I'm not a gambler, so I am ready to be corrected.
Yes, that's how it works with gambling on elections. Or sports for that matter. They want equal money on each side so they are guaranteed to make a profit.
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:53 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Varanid View Post
You won't see that from me.
So you only call out people who make fun of Clinton?
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Old 30th June 2016, 09:58 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
Yes, that's how it works with gambling on elections. Or sports for that matter. They want equal money on each side so they are guaranteed to make a profit.
That's how it works for any market actually. Prices move to where supply and demand are balanced. There is no reason to believe the political betting markets are wrong any more than you would believe the price of Google stock is wrong. Actually, there is good reason to believe the political markets are more accurate, since there aren't any insider trading constraints, where the people with the best knowledge are prohibited from trading.
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Old 30th June 2016, 10:09 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by sunmaster14 View Post
That's how it works for any market actually. Prices move to where supply and demand are balanced. There is no reason to believe the political betting markets are wrong any more than you would believe the price of Google stock is wrong. Actually, there is good reason to believe the political markets are more accurate, since there aren't any insider trading constraints, where the people with the best knowledge are prohibited from trading.
The betting odds currently give Trump a 21.5% chance at winning. Would you agree that is more accurate than the 40% you pulled out of your ass?

https://electionbettingodds.com
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Old 30th June 2016, 10:23 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by sunmaster14 View Post
Meh. I don't care about saving face. Nobody will remember this thread come election time, except me, in which case I'll only resurrect it if it shows that I was right.
If history is any indicator, this thread will most likely still be very active right up until the election. And incorrect predictions and misguided criticisms will almost certainly be dredged up and mocked.

Quote:
I'm just trying to give my honest assessment. If the numbers look "perfect," it's because my experience has shown me that true probabilities in politics have usually been closer to 50/50, than the "smart" people have previously believed. It's a hard thing judging how the masses will judge things. In part because the judging itself affects how the masses will judge. This isn't like rolling dice or flipping coins.
That's all well and good, but your assessment is based on approximately zero hard data. You just threw a number out there.

Quote:
I have a lot of respect for political polls, and for Silver's methods of weighting them. But the fact remains, his models can't properly account for effects which have not happened yet. His models can tell you with petty good accuracy what the results of an election today would be. He doesn't have much to go on as to how much polls can change over 4 months in an uncertain world made far more uncertain by an extremely unpredictable Republican candidate and a Democratic candidate who is being investigated by the FBI.
His models aren't attempting to account for unpredictable future events, nor do they need to. They are based on the data as it currently exists. And as before, the results will be modified as that data changes.
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Old 30th June 2016, 10:41 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
The betting odds currently give Trump a 21.5% chance at winning. Would you agree that is more accurate than the 40% you pulled out of your ass?

https://electionbettingodds.com
No. Sometimes I disagree with the market. In this case, I think it's a little low. Regardless, it's not so easy to distinguish 40% from 21.5%. Note also that the probability for Hillary is only 73.5%, so the market is in fact pricing in a real chance that Hillary does not become the nominee (and Trump for that matter, but much less so). I think that if Hillary were to drop out, Trump's chances would decrease, so that's a factor I had not incorporated into my 40% number. I was assuming a binary contest.
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Old 30th June 2016, 10:45 AM   #67
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Originally Posted by sunmaster14 View Post
No. Sometimes I disagree with the market. In this case, I think it's a little low. Regardless, it's not so easy to distinguish 40% from 21.5%. Note also that the probability for Hillary is only 73.5%, so the market is in fact pricing in a real chance that Hillary does not become the nominee (and Trump for that matter, but much less so). I think that if Hillary were to drop out, Trump's chances would decrease, so that's a factor I had not incorporated into my 40% number. I was assuming a binary contest.
No reason to believe the all knowing, invisible hand of the free market is wrong. Unless of course it goes against what you wish to believe.

LOL.

BTW, the all knowing, invisible hand of the free market gives Trump a lower chance of winning the nomination than it does Hillary. It says her odds are 95.7% while his are 92.2%. Let me guess, those are wrong too because they disagree with what you wish to believe.

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Old 30th June 2016, 11:38 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
It's a combination of polling data and your own gut feeling. At least that's how it was for me when I made a few small-scale bets.
Professional gamblers have a term for people who bet with their gut feelings:Losers.
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Old 30th June 2016, 11:41 AM   #69
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
The media allowing Trump to spew his garbage for free probably hurts him more than helps him because Trump is an idiot with poor impulse control. The whole Judge Curiel thing, for instance.
And the media is getting tougher on Trump. I think his obvioius dislike for a free press is scaring them a little.
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Old 30th June 2016, 11:44 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
No reason to believe the all knowing, invisible hand of the free market is wrong. Unless of course it goes against what you wish to believe.

LOL.

BTW, the all knowing, invisible hand of the free market gives Trump a lower chance of winning the nomination than it does Hillary. It says her odds are 95.7% while his are 92.2%. Let me guess, those are wrong too because they disagree with what you wish to believe.
I don't think that difference is meaningful. It's within the bid/ask spread. Remember that those numbers are implied from rather crude betting markets and translated into percentages. They seem to be trying to adjust them so that probabilities don't add up to more than 100%, but there are still rather wide bands around each number.

However, I do indeed agree that there's a reasonable chance Trump won't be the Republican nominee, just as I think there's still a reasonable chance that Hillary won't be the Democratic nominee. Once again though, I was assuming a binary outcome, i.e. that the race is between Trump and Clinton. In the real world, even Nate Silver would agree that both of them have lower probabilities of being President then what Nate Silver is calculating right now.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:01 PM   #71
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Originally Posted by Tony Stark View Post
As far as I know, he uses all the polls. He weighs them on based on how accurate they have been in the past. He doesn't tweek them based on his gut.

The Trump thing was not based on a mathematical model or data at all. He didn't tweek the polls, he outright ignored them. The prediction was purely him being a (bad) pundit and not understanding how stupid Republicans are.

And look at his model's record at calling states in the past. 99/100 for the last two elections. 99%.
Are those the only two events they've ever predicted?
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:02 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
So you only call out people who make fun of Clinton?
No, I just tend to notice it more. It probably also reflects my irritation with some of the more ridiculous posters.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:17 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Professional gamblers have a term for people who bet with their gut feelings:Losers.
You must never play poker then.

"Math vs Feel by AVP Resident Pro Benton Blakeman"

In my opinion you need to understand the math enough to not make any major fundamental mathematic mistakes while also having a keen sense of where you are in a hand based on your gut reactions."


http://www.pokeratlas.com/table-talk...s-math-vs-feel
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:19 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Remember though, professional odds-makers who wager large sums on these sorts of things, thought Remain was an 80% lock too.
First, "80% lock" is a contradiction. Second, maybe the professional statistician who called all 50 states correctly in the last presidential election knows more about presidential elections than a bookie does about U.K. referendums.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:26 PM   #75
jt512
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
I don't think those kinds of idiots bet on political outcomes. I don't.

Did you really mean to put those two sentences next to each other?
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:29 PM   #76
Fudbucker
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Originally Posted by jt512 View Post
First, "80% lock" is a contradiction. Second, maybe the professional statistician who called all 50 states correctly in the last presidential election knows more about presidential elections than a bookie does about U.K. referendums.
Bookies absolutely have to know what they're doing when they set odds or they lose their asses. It's not just punditry, there's real money at stake.

And are you talking about Nate Silver? Who completely blew it on Trump? None of these guys are infallible. Remember, 538 gave Bernie about a 1% chance of winning Michigan.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:31 PM   #77
Fudbucker
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Originally Posted by jt512 View Post
Did you really mean to put those two sentences next to each other?
I wondered if anyone would catch that. It was a long day yesterday.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:42 PM   #78
crescent
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Bookies absolutely have to know what they're doing when they set odds or they lose their asses. It's not just punditry, there's real money at stake.
It is interesting how many sports analogies come into this thread, considering that Silver started out doing predictive statistics for Major League Baseball (and still does). He's not a bookie, but he does work not too dissimilar to a bookie.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:47 PM   #79
Varanid
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
You must never play poker then.

"Math vs Feel by AVP Resident Pro Benton Blakeman"

In my opinion you need to understand the math enough to not make any major fundamental mathematic mistakes while also having a keen sense of where you are in a hand based on your gut reactions."


http://www.pokeratlas.com/table-talk...s-math-vs-feel
Again, I'm not even a gambler, but I know that poker is part chance (meaning odds do come into effect) and part skill ("gut" reactions and whatnot).

An election is clearly more akin to a straight up game of chance (roulette wheel) than a skill-based game like poker.
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Old 30th June 2016, 12:51 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Bookies absolutely have to know what they're doing when they set odds or they lose their asses. It's not just punditry, there's real money at stake.

And are you talking about Nate Silver? Who completely blew it on Trump? None of these guys are infallible. Remember, 538 gave Bernie about a 1% chance of winning Michigan.
Yes, but a bookie doesn't care if <insert local sports team> *really* has a 75% chance at winning their next game. They are setting odds where they think 3/4 of people will take the favorite and 1/4 will take the underdog. If 75% of their customers pick the favorite it doesn't matter who wins the game, they break even, so long as they gave the underdog 3 to 1 odds. They charge (usually) 5% extra to makea bet, thats where they make money. If more people bet on one team or the other than expected they'll adjust the odds before the event.

That is not what Nate Silver does. He looks at polling data. If the data is flawed his predictions will not be accurate. And anyways how many times has he been wrong when giving a candidate that long of odds? If he's called 99 other elections at 100:1 correctly then so what. Its like people being angry at the weatherman, well you said there was a 90% chance of sunshine and it rained!!!

Last edited by lobosrul; 30th June 2016 at 12:56 PM.
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