In yesterday's post, I expressed my regular skepticism of people who try to push limited polling data too far and estimate probabilities of victory in the electoral college with illusory precision. Nope, I'm a fan of the prediction markets. And I can't believe I just discovered this one!
You can buy shares of how many "pants on fire" lies PolitiFact will call on Clinton or Trump in a given month! Yes, really! Here are the Clinton and Trump links for September.
So, let's make the obvious points. PolitiFact calls "pants on fire" more often on Trump than on Clinton. Why? He tells "pants on fire" lies more often. This is the guy who rose to prominence in the Republican Party, despite a history of incoherent policy positions, by pretending that Obama was born in Kenya, and then claimed Clinton started it. So, over at PredictIt, people are paying 25 cents a pop for shares that pay off at a dollar if PolitiFact calls "pants on fire" seven times on Trump in September. Nobody pays anywhere near that for Clinton. Why? Because PolitiFact isn't calling "pants on fire" as much for her. Markets and truth-o-meters!
Of course, we also have to point out how strange it is that PolitiFact has this level of asymmetry. As an organization, they are under immense pressure to keep things under the appearance of nonpartisanship by calling bullshit an equal number of times for each candidate. For PolitiFact to break from that is to risk signaling bias. It's just that with Trump, as with so many other news organizations, what the hell does PolitiFact do? For those who are curious, here is a link to PolitiFact's "pants on fire" lies for Trump, and, yes, they are batshit crazy.
And while the public opinion polls show Clinton perceived as the more dishonest one, the markets are responding, if not to actual dishonesty, then at least to what PolitiFact is doing.
Is this social science? Damned if I know, but whatever it is, it's awesome.
And by the way, anyone who wants to whine about the word, "lie," and how horrible it is to call someone a liar should go fuck themselves. (I'm looking at you, Liz Spayd). Or, am I being unmutual again?