Experts agree to bark like dogs

One of the more annoying things political pundits do is to consistently make the case that their candidate or cause is a likely winner, or if too obvious a loser, at least will beat expectations. Surely there is demand for pundits as critical about their favored outcome’s chances as they are about their ufavored outcomes? Perhaps if I watched lots of television I would know of such a chimera.

Fortunately there are again (see Historical Presidential Betting Markets) markets to give anyone who wants one a reality check. However, it is rare (in the U.S.) for a “third party” candidate to be significant enough for an election market to cast any light on their chances. Often “field” will be available (for example, Intrade currently lists the following spreads for 2008 Presidential Election Winner (Political Party): Democrat 49.1/49.2, Republican 47.6/48.4, Field 2.9/3.2) but chance accorded by traders to “the field” has to be based on the expectation that a viable independent will come out of the woodwork (e.g., Ross Perot in 1992) rather than the expectation that a Green, Libertarian, or other minor party candidate has a non-negligible chance of victory. This is too bad in a way, as my casual observation says that minor party backers are more delusional than most when it comes to their candidate’s chances.

It appears that in the there is a possibility that “the field” may map strongly to a minor party candidate’s chances — Libertarian Party nominee . Democrat is the only major party candidate on the ballot. Republican is running a write-in campaign.

A Smither press release proclaims that “The Experts Agree” that Smither has the best chance of defeating Lampson, and quotes four sources that say something along those lines. These “experts” aren’t putting anything on the line though — the Intrade CD22 market has the following current bid/ask/last values: Democrat 70.0/90.0/76.0, Republican 12.0/19.9/12.0, Field 2.0/9.9 /0.1.

Traders seem to think a Smither victory is about as likely as Lampson and Sekula-Gibbs photographed together in bed, with a dog. Maybe that isn’t too unlikely. Put your money where your delusions are!

Regarding expert political judgement, I’m planning to read that book soon.

8 Responses

  1. Tim says:

    I agree with you that third parties are delusional, but Perot was in 1992, not 1988.

  2. Oops, fixed. Thanks.

  3. Amazing, an ad seen below is running for

    If I understand correctly this person wants Libertarian Party candidates to pay him to craft campaign soundbites.

    The Interweb is a funny place, only I usually fail to notice.

  4. Lloyd Laughlin says:

    SMITHER gaining. Latest poll:

    Lampson, D @ 41%
    SMITHER, L @ 25%
    Sekula-Gibbs, R @ 11%

    Don’t be cynical.
    Smither can win because:
    VERY conservative district; Bush won with 64% in ’04.
    Republicans out of it; SMITHER only conservative on the ballot.
    Lampson is a pro-union, big spending, old time Nancy Pelosi liberal who carpetbagged in from across the state.

    Smither is smart, Phd in electrical engr. Runs his own company.

    Smither is honest and comes into public life from a tragic personal experience that people can identify with.

    Lloyd Laughlin

  5. Lloyd, give me a URL for that poll. Smither doesn’t mention it on his own site and I can find no reference to it via Google News.

  6. […] Finney posted a quiz based on Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgement, of which I have a still unread copy. I scored +30 in the “fox” direction — I chose the “hedgehog” answers for #3 (for some definitions of “parsiminous” and “politics”, I thought initially, but “closer than many think” is the key), #11, and #12. Apparently Tetlock says foxes make more accurate predictions, though I note one of the later chapters of his book is “The Hedgehogs Strike Back” and Hanson calls the quiz “kind of doofy.” […]

  7. […] as the field hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell.) Their evaluation was not kind, as I pointed out in a blog post and several times in comments on a blog (no longer live) that hyped Smither’s chances, where […]

  8. […] also think that to the extent the Paul campaign gives some libertarians (entirely false) hope of revolutionary change for the better through electoral politics, the campaign and whatever […]

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