Monday, February 22, 2016

Polls vs. Prediction Markets and Trump Denialism

I am still stuck on the fact that prediction markets still put Trump's chances at or below 50%.  Normally, I am a big supporter of prediction markets as an assessment tool.  In particular, during the early part of a campaign, prediction markets are far more informative than polls.  If you ask people their vote intentions before they start paying attention to the campaign, their answers just won't mean much.  When someone like Ben Carson has a surge that we really should discount, prediction markets do so.  But we aren't in the early part of the campaign anymore.  Trump has won two out of three contests so far.  His lead in the national polls has held up throughout the campaign.  He is highly likely to win Nevada next.  His numbers look pretty good going into the March 1 states. Rubio's endorsement lead has picked up, with 107 points right now since Jeb! dropped out, but that's still nothing compared to Clinton's commanding lead on the other side.

Rubio, on the other hand, never really comes in past third in the national polls, hasn't won a contest yet, has an endorsement lead that pales in comparison to Clinton's, stumbled badly in a debate, and his party has been highly reluctant to rally around him in any significant way.  They should be in panic mode right now, doing everything possible to destroy Trump, and that means throwing the full weight of the party behind Rubio.  Why, it's almost as if the party can't decide...

So, why is it that the prediction markets put it at basically a coin toss between Trump and Rubio?  Now is the time when the polls are informative.  The campaign is in full swing.  There has been national attention for a while.  Ads are running.  News coverage.  This is real.  What, precisely, is the rationale for ignoring the polls and putting it at a coin toss between Trump and Rubio?

In the early part of the campaign, I have a very good reason to discount polls in favor of prediction markets-- you can't ask people how they will vote and get a meaningful answer before they start paying attention.  I'm at a loss for why we should discount the polls now.

Rubio could still turn this around, but the clock is ticking...

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