Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

politicalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Unpicking the presidential election forecasts

SystemSystem Posts: 8,489
edited September 8 in General
imagepoliticalbetting.com » Blog Archive » Unpicking the presidential election forecasts

A number of groups publish statistical models, usually updated daily, which attempt to assign probabilities to the possible outcomes of the US presidential election. The best-known is Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight.com. Others include models from The Economist, Decision Desk HQ, and the New Statesman.

Read the full story here

«13456710

Comments

  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 3,180
    1st
  • MysticroseMysticrose Posts: 3,180
    Great thread Richard.

    Wasn't it the last election when 538's star fell? Or was it the mid-terms? I know there was one when I decided Nate wasn't such a smart guy after all ...
  • NigelbNigelb Posts: 24,520
    Interesting article, Richard.
    The 538 odds on the more extreme outcomes do seem intuitively wrong. Is there something in their model which adds in too much randomness to allow for unpredictable events ?
  • Extreme outcomes? In this election? Seems depressingly likely...
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 61,389
    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 14,533
    Nigelb said:

    Interesting article, Richard.
    The 538 odds on the more extreme outcomes do seem intuitively wrong. Is there something in their model which adds in too much randomness to allow for unpredictable events ?

    So it's explained here:

    [Various sensible-sounding things that reduce uncertainty like the polls never ever changing for months on end]

    > The magnitude of the difference between the polling-based national snapshot and the fundamentals forecast. A wider gap means more uncertainty.
    > The standard deviation of the component variables used in the FiveThirtyEight economic index. More economic volatility means more overall uncertainty in the forecast.
    > The volume of major news, as measured by the number of full-width New York Times headlines in the past 500 days, with more recent days weighted more heavily. More news means more uncertainty.
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/our-election-forecast-didnt-say-what-i-thought-it-would/

    The fundamentals part is quite Trumpy, especially because of the economy being good, allegedly, sort-of. Then economic volatility must be all over the place. And apparently there's a lot of news going on...
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 14,533
    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
  • Is there a view about the shy Trumper factor? Like people who were embarrassed to say they supported John Major I can imagine that open support of The Donald is social pariah making amongst many groups.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 16,372
    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    Yes, the believe Nate has said if the election was tomorrow the model would say approx 90% Biden
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108

    Is there a view about the shy Trumper factor? Like people who were embarrassed to say they supported John Major I can imagine that open support of The Donald is social pariah making amongst many groups.

    Not much about Trumpers seems shy! In other circles voting Dem might be something to be shy about.

    The "shy trumper" argument boils down to arguing that nearly all polls are systemically biased to Biden. I don’t see that myself as it would be less in Internet panels etc.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108
    Great article from @Richard_Nabavi, with some good pointers to look out for.

    Another interesting model is the Plural Vote one, which adds in state based Internet search data to published polling. The author is a Democrat so not neutral, but worth a look.

    https://www.pluralvote.com/
  • DavidLDavidL Posts: 32,693
    The time factor for 538 also explains why it is currently attributing more weight to the extremes. There is plenty of time for the current consensus to move to one extreme or the other so it is right that at this point they have a higher probability than they will in late October.

    Intuitively, I have more sympathy with their approach because it seems to me that this is an exceptionally volatile election with 2 deeply flawed and unpredictable candidates for either of whom something could go seriously wrong by November. I don't think this is because a lot of people will change their mind, my guess is that something like 80% of the electorate would not vote for the other candidate no matter what, but whether they will decide that their guy is not worthy of support after all and therefore don't vote.
  • Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
  • kamskikamski Posts: 1,283
    Evenif the 538 odds for the more extreme outcomes seem less realistic, it doesn't mean the economist model is closer to the overall probability of either side winning. Intuitevly Trump seems more like a 28% chance at the moment than a 16% ichance. The betting markets have Trump at en higher chance, so Trump is still a sell.

    I think the economist model is simply underestimating the chance of Biden's lead narrowing before November. Given Trump's EC advantage Biden effectively has a 4-5% lead. It's like the opposition party having a 4-5 % lead 8 weeks before a general election.

    I think around 30%Trump seems about right at this point, even if the shape of 538's set of outcomes might be off.
  • Foxy said:

    Is there a view about the shy Trumper factor? Like people who were embarrassed to say they supported John Major I can imagine that open support of The Donald is social pariah making amongst many groups.

    Not much about Trumpers seems shy! In other circles voting Dem might be something to be shy about.

    The "shy trumper" argument boils down to arguing that nearly all polls are systemically biased to Biden. I don’t see that myself as it would be less in Internet panels etc.
    More often than not, when pollsters get it wrong one way in the previous election, they get it wrong the other way in the next election. They overshoot with their adjustments and find structural reasons like Shy Trumpers for what is sometimes just random noise.
  • RattersRatters Posts: 50
    edited September 8
    There's now exactly eight weeks left until the election, and there's very little doubt that Biden is currently ahead by far enough nationally and in swing states to win on November 3rd. Every week than passes brings him closer to the presidency, so Trump needs something to change.

    So what are the chances of the gap narrowing here? Well, there are still significant set piece events like the debates left, with the risk of Biden doing very badly. The economy will also presumably recover further, although how much credit Trump will get when it'll still be below January levels is unknown. And how Covid-19 develops is also likely to have a role to play, most likely way below peaks but still worse than most countries overall. And while there will be other unpredictable events and news cycles between now and then, there can only be so many in eight weeks.

    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.
  • NerysHughesNerysHughes Posts: 1,224
    I thought I would repost this. Some very interesting stuff from Carl Heneghan - professor in Evidence-Based Medicine at the University of Oxford from 7 minutes on especially his thoughts on the impact of the lockdown on care homes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=4WdzMVekUBU&feature=emb_title
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 6,291
    FT did some analysis suggesting far fewer undecideds 3rd party than this time in 2016. Would suggest the polls now aren't likely to change significantly.

    https://www.ft.com/content/b3297609-e63b-4161-8287-7ab1179d0c40
  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54025181

    How are students not getting a discount on their already ridiculous fees when there is no contact time? And the universities couldn't even be bothered to tell the students this until after they had paid for accommodation.

    Yet another example of UK2020 failing our young people.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 14,533
    edited September 8
    Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applied to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
  • Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

  • Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
    Not that objective - its quite symptomatic of the incredible US deficit and Quantitative Easing etc rather than the fundamentals of the US economy right now.

    Supposedly the US economy was healthily growing last year but then the US Budget Deficit was nearly 5% of GDP and a trillion dollars. During so-called growth. That is madness, absolutely fiscally incontinent madness.
  • Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

    There is a lot of volatility, but stock valuation becomes tricky in the world of mass QE. That QE money has to drive up the prices of some assets, so it becomes a relative game rather than one based on fundamentals. Apple, relatively unimpacted by covid at a multiple of 36 vs residential property vs commercial property vs tech shares that have never made money vs hospitality shares vs travel shares. I think Apple is relatively better value than the others listed.

    Of course the whole market could crash and that would be a nail in the coffin for Trump, but from a presidential betting angle the stock market is the most likely thing that can change the result of the election.
  • Pro_RataPro_Rata Posts: 1,970
    Excellent thread Mr. Nabavi. I'd pretty much totally agree with that take on things.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 14,533

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
  • Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
    Not that objective - its quite symptomatic of the incredible US deficit and Quantitative Easing etc rather than the fundamentals of the US economy right now.

    Supposedly the US economy was healthily growing last year but then the US Budget Deficit was nearly 5% of GDP and a trillion dollars. During so-called growth. That is madness, absolutely fiscally incontinent madness.
    It might be madness but it is also reality. The US and the UK are going to be following MMT - Modern Monetary Theory, or Magic Money Tree.....

    Yes without QE asset values would be a lot less, but there is loads of QE and govts are addicted to it, so asset values are high.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 40,725
    edited September 8

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning s strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    I find it depressing, truly depressing, that people think the economy should be a plus for Trump.

    Trump is the most disastrous President for the economy of my lifetime. He is Gordon Brown on steroids. He has pumped primed the economy to the nth degree - with it running a nearly 5% deficit last year before the recession even hit.

    We made a big deal recently about the fact that during the peak of the recession our total national debt reached the £2 trillion threshold. That was including furlough and an all-time cumulative total figure - including all borrowing before, during and after the financial crisis. In contrast the US deficit (not debt) last year alone was $1 trillion.

    If anyone at all thinks Trump has been good for the economy then not a single lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis. Trump is creating another crisis with his totally irresponsible mismanagement of the economy.
  • Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
    Not that objective - its quite symptomatic of the incredible US deficit and Quantitative Easing etc rather than the fundamentals of the US economy right now.

    Supposedly the US economy was healthily growing last year but then the US Budget Deficit was nearly 5% of GDP and a trillion dollars. During so-called growth. That is madness, absolutely fiscally incontinent madness.
    It might be madness but it is also reality. The US and the UK are going to be following MMT - Modern Monetary Theory, or Magic Money Tree.....

    Yes without QE asset values would be a lot less, but there is loads of QE and govts are addicted to it, so asset values are high.
    There is a major difference.

    In the last full economic year before the recession hit the the UK's deficit was 1.2% and had fallen every year for a decade. Debt to GDP was falling.

    In the last year before the recession hit the USA's deficit was 4.8% and had increased every single year of Trump's term. Debt to GDP was rising.

    Increasing the deficit and increasing debt to GDP during a so-called growth period is absolutely unforgivable and irresponsible.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108

    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

    There is a lot of volatility, but stock valuation becomes tricky in the world of mass QE. That QE money has to drive up the prices of some assets, so it becomes a relative game rather than one based on fundamentals. Apple, relatively unimpacted by covid at a multiple of 36 vs residential property vs commercial property vs tech shares that have never made money vs hospitality shares vs travel shares. I think Apple is relatively better value than the others listed.

    Of course the whole market could crash and that would be a nail in the coffin for Trump, but from a presidential betting angle the stock market is the most likely thing that can change the result of the election.
    Of course a lot of Americans are not stock invested too.

    Yes, QE makes a difference but the rise in US exchanges has been much more bubbly than our own, other European and Asian markets, even allowing for the tech heavy nature of the US one. Apple is near double its pre covid valuation, and that looks very peaky to me, as one example among many.
  • PulpstarPulpstar Posts: 61,389
    The gap between the 538 and Economist forecast is I'd say the 'No bet' range. Currently outside this, stay long Biden.
  • FeersumEnjineeyaFeersumEnjineeya Posts: 1,908
    edited September 8

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54025181

    How are students not getting a discount on their already ridiculous fees when there is no contact time? And the universities couldn't even be bothered to tell the students this until after they had paid for accommodation.

    Yet another example of UK2020 failing our young people.

    That's a little unfair on the universities, given that they suddenly had to take in more students than expected due to the U-turn on A level grades, while much accommodation, especially for 2nd year students, is provided by the private sector and was arranged long ago.

    Fair enough about the contact time though. Less teaching should mean lower fees.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 14,533

    I find it depressing, truly depressing, that people think the economy should be a plus for Trump.

    Trump is the most disastrous President for the economy of my lifetime. He is Gordon Brown on steroids. He has pumped primed the economy to the nth degree - with it running a nearly 5% deficit last year before the recession even hit.

    We made a big deal recently about the fact that during the peak of the recession our total national debt reached the £2 trillion threshold. That was including furlough and an all-time cumulative total figure - including all borrowing before, during and after the financial crisis. In contrast the US deficit (not debt) last year alone was $1 trillion.

    If anyone at all thinks Trump has been good for the economy then not a single lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis. Trump is creating another crisis with his totally irresponsible mismanagement of the economy.

    Yes, I agree with everything you say. However, Trump got elected because floating voters saw him playing a businessman on TV, realistically those people aren't going to be able to make an evaluation of how much the deficit should be at any given point in the business cycle.
  • Pro_RataPro_Rata Posts: 1,970

    Nigelb said:

    Interesting article, Richard.
    The 538 odds on the more extreme outcomes do seem intuitively wrong. Is there something in their model which adds in too much randomness to allow for unpredictable events ?

    So it's explained here:

    [Various sensible-sounding things that reduce uncertainty like the polls never ever changing for months on end]

    > The magnitude of the difference between the polling-based national snapshot and the fundamentals forecast. A wider gap means more uncertainty.
    > The standard deviation of the component variables used in the FiveThirtyEight economic index. More economic volatility means more overall uncertainty in the forecast.
    > The volume of major news, as measured by the number of full-width New York Times headlines in the past 500 days, with more recent days weighted more heavily. More news means more uncertainty.
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/our-election-forecast-didnt-say-what-i-thought-it-would/

    The fundamentals part is quite Trumpy, especially because of the economy being good, allegedly, sort-of. Then economic volatility must be all over the place. And apparently there's a lot of news going on...
    From the brief explanation, it seems like his economic inputs tend to the Main Street rather than the Wall Street, which is at it should be, but there's a lot to.umpack to get those right, not least varying economic sentiment between states.
  • FoxyFoxy Posts: 18,108

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning s strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    I find it depressing, truly depressing, that people think the economy should be a plus for Trump.

    Trump is the most disastrous President for the economy of my lifetime. He is Gordon Brown on steroids. He has pumped primed the economy to the nth degree - with it running a nearly 5% deficit last year before the recession even hit.

    We made a big deal recently about the fact that during the peak of the recession our total national debt reached the £2 trillion threshold. That was including furlough and an all-time cumulative total figure - including all borrowing before, during and after the financial crisis. In contrast the US deficit (not debt) last year alone was $1 trillion.

    If anyone at all thinks Trump has been good for the economy then not a single lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis. Trump is creating another crisis with his totally irresponsible mismanagement of the economy.
    Certainly so, but Trum doesn't need to keep the bubble expanding much longer, just 8 weeks.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 40,725
    edited September 8
    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning s strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    I find it depressing, truly depressing, that people think the economy should be a plus for Trump.

    Trump is the most disastrous President for the economy of my lifetime. He is Gordon Brown on steroids. He has pumped primed the economy to the nth degree - with it running a nearly 5% deficit last year before the recession even hit.

    We made a big deal recently about the fact that during the peak of the recession our total national debt reached the £2 trillion threshold. That was including furlough and an all-time cumulative total figure - including all borrowing before, during and after the financial crisis. In contrast the US deficit (not debt) last year alone was $1 trillion.

    If anyone at all thinks Trump has been good for the economy then not a single lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis. Trump is creating another crisis with his totally irresponsible mismanagement of the economy.
    Certainly so, but Trum doesn't need to keep the bubble expanding much longer, just 8 weeks.
    And he needs people to be too stupid or ignorant to realise what is going on.

    Anyone who supports this economic insanity should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Deficits are a tax on the future so Trump is one of the highest tax Presidents ever.

    Its one thing running a deficit during a recession, or reducing it gradually after one, but he's increased it to 5% before the recession. I shudder to think what it will be this year.
  • Foxy said:

    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

    There is a lot of volatility, but stock valuation becomes tricky in the world of mass QE. That QE money has to drive up the prices of some assets, so it becomes a relative game rather than one based on fundamentals. Apple, relatively unimpacted by covid at a multiple of 36 vs residential property vs commercial property vs tech shares that have never made money vs hospitality shares vs travel shares. I think Apple is relatively better value than the others listed.

    Of course the whole market could crash and that would be a nail in the coffin for Trump, but from a presidential betting angle the stock market is the most likely thing that can change the result of the election.
    Of course a lot of Americans are not stock invested too.

    Yes, QE makes a difference but the rise in US exchanges has been much more bubbly than our own, other European and Asian markets, even allowing for the tech heavy nature of the US one. Apple is near double its pre covid valuation, and that looks very peaky to me, as one example among many.
    Apple pre covid didnt have a big safety premium - in the world of covid & QE combined it does. Relatively to other companies its future revenue is less risky to an extent that didnt apply pre covid, and the QE money searches out the safest assets it can find.
  • Foxy said:

    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

    There is a lot of volatility, but stock valuation becomes tricky in the world of mass QE. That QE money has to drive up the prices of some assets, so it becomes a relative game rather than one based on fundamentals. Apple, relatively unimpacted by covid at a multiple of 36 vs residential property vs commercial property vs tech shares that have never made money vs hospitality shares vs travel shares. I think Apple is relatively better value than the others listed.

    Of course the whole market could crash and that would be a nail in the coffin for Trump, but from a presidential betting angle the stock market is the most likely thing that can change the result of the election.
    Of course a lot of Americans are not stock invested too.

    Yes, QE makes a difference but the rise in US exchanges has been much more bubbly than our own, other European and Asian markets, even allowing for the tech heavy nature of the US one. Apple is near double its pre covid valuation, and that looks very peaky to me, as one example among many.
    Apple pre covid didnt have a big safety premium - in the world of covid & QE combined it does. Relatively to other companies its future revenue is less risky to an extent that didnt apply pre covid, and the QE money searches out the safest assets it can find.
    Doesn't Apple sit on tons of cash at the minute?

    Its probably as safe as Government bond right now.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 35,647
    William Hague:

    "In the last normal year for which figures are available – 2018 – Britain spent 0.34 per cent of our GDP on state aid, compared to 1.45 per cent for Germany and 0.79 per cent for France."

  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54025181

    How are students not getting a discount on their already ridiculous fees when there is no contact time? And the universities couldn't even be bothered to tell the students this until after they had paid for accommodation.

    Yet another example of UK2020 failing our young people.

    That's a little unfair on the universities, given that they suddenly had to take in more students than expected due to the U-turn on A level grades, while much accommodation, especially for 2nd year students, is provided by the private sector and was arranged long ago.

    Fair enough about the contact time though. Less teaching should mean lower fees.
    I agree its harsh on the universities, the blame is shared across government and wider society as well as the universities. Far more planning, including on school exams, should have been done and communicated in spring and early summer.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 35,647

    Foxy said:

    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

    There is a lot of volatility, but stock valuation becomes tricky in the world of mass QE. That QE money has to drive up the prices of some assets, so it becomes a relative game rather than one based on fundamentals. Apple, relatively unimpacted by covid at a multiple of 36 vs residential property vs commercial property vs tech shares that have never made money vs hospitality shares vs travel shares. I think Apple is relatively better value than the others listed.

    Of course the whole market could crash and that would be a nail in the coffin for Trump, but from a presidential betting angle the stock market is the most likely thing that can change the result of the election.
    Of course a lot of Americans are not stock invested too.

    Yes, QE makes a difference but the rise in US exchanges has been much more bubbly than our own, other European and Asian markets, even allowing for the tech heavy nature of the US one. Apple is near double its pre covid valuation, and that looks very peaky to me, as one example among many.
    Apple pre covid didnt have a big safety premium - in the world of covid & QE combined it does. Relatively to other companies its future revenue is less risky to an extent that didnt apply pre covid, and the QE money searches out the safest assets it can find.
    Doesn't Apple sit on tons of cash at the minute?

    Its probably as safe as Government bond right now.
    $100 billion last time I looked.
  • Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning s strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    I find it depressing, truly depressing, that people think the economy should be a plus for Trump.

    Trump is the most disastrous President for the economy of my lifetime. He is Gordon Brown on steroids. He has pumped primed the economy to the nth degree - with it running a nearly 5% deficit last year before the recession even hit.

    We made a big deal recently about the fact that during the peak of the recession our total national debt reached the £2 trillion threshold. That was including furlough and an all-time cumulative total figure - including all borrowing before, during and after the financial crisis. In contrast the US deficit (not debt) last year alone was $1 trillion.

    If anyone at all thinks Trump has been good for the economy then not a single lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis. Trump is creating another crisis with his totally irresponsible mismanagement of the economy.
    We are talking about voter perceptions of the economy, which in the US are tied up on 1) Do they, personally, have a job and 2) The stock market. Whether they should take into account govt debts and deficits (of course they should) is moot for the election betting.
  • Rexel56Rexel56 Posts: 805
    Grant Shapps explains his new, regional quarantine policy that means specific islands can be singled out, as has happened for Greece: people must be able to fly back directly to the U.K. from any island singled out, he says. Which makes perfect sense and will be welcome news to travellers returning home from Tinos or Siferos who would have been planning to catch the ferry to the mainland and fly home from Athens. Now they can go straight to the international airport on the island which Mr Shapps has magically built overnight.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 35,647

    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning s strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    I find it depressing, truly depressing, that people think the economy should be a plus for Trump.

    Trump is the most disastrous President for the economy of my lifetime. He is Gordon Brown on steroids. He has pumped primed the economy to the nth degree - with it running a nearly 5% deficit last year before the recession even hit.

    We made a big deal recently about the fact that during the peak of the recession our total national debt reached the £2 trillion threshold. That was including furlough and an all-time cumulative total figure - including all borrowing before, during and after the financial crisis. In contrast the US deficit (not debt) last year alone was $1 trillion.

    If anyone at all thinks Trump has been good for the economy then not a single lesson has been learnt from the financial crisis. Trump is creating another crisis with his totally irresponsible mismanagement of the economy.
    Certainly so, but Trum doesn't need to keep the bubble expanding much longer, just 8 weeks.
    And he needs people to be too stupid or ignorant to realise what is going on.

    Anyone who supports this economic insanity should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Deficits are a tax on the future so Trump is one of the highest tax Presidents ever.

    Its one thing running a deficit during a recession, or reducing it gradually after one, but he's increased it to 5% before the recession. I shudder to think what it will be this year.
    GOP are lying hypocrites. Before Trump, debt and deficits were the devil's work to be resisted at all times.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690

    Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
    Not that objective - its quite symptomatic of the incredible US deficit and Quantitative Easing etc rather than the fundamentals of the US economy right now.

    Supposedly the US economy was healthily growing last year but then the US Budget Deficit was nearly 5% of GDP and a trillion dollars. During so-called growth. That is madness, absolutely fiscally incontinent madness.
    It might be madness but it is also reality. The US and the UK are going to be following MMT - Modern Monetary Theory, or Magic Money Tree.....

    Yes without QE asset values would be a lot less, but there is loads of QE and govts are addicted to it, so asset values are high.
    There is a major difference.

    In the last full economic year before the recession hit the the UK's deficit was 1.2% and had fallen every year for a decade. Debt to GDP was falling.

    In the last year before the recession hit the USA's deficit was 4.8% and had increased every single year of Trump's term. Debt to GDP was rising.

    Increasing the deficit and increasing debt to GDP during a so-called growth period is absolutely unforgivable and irresponsible.
    While that is surely right, I've got a small American investment fund and after a slide this time last year and earlier in this it's picking up again quite steadily. Not quite back to where it was at it's top, but not doing too badly.
  • Peter_the_PunterPeter_the_Punter Posts: 8,084
    edited September 8
    Thank you Richard for a very good piece and thanks also for the numerous thoughtful resposes.

    There's a pretty solid PB consensus here that Biden is a buy at current odds and I concur. In fact I've gone in quite heavily for me. The down side seems so low.

    I don't believe the shy-Trumper theory. Most of those I've met are pretty noisy. Perhaps they've got quieter but it's a non-evidence based theory so file in the round cabinet.

    The economy is a different matter. If he can keep it going until election day he does at least have one achievement to crow about, even if it is down to reckless mismanagement.

    BLM may be helping him too, but the evidence is equivocal and Biden appears to be playing this one right. Trump's approach seems designed to fire up a base that is already fired up. It doesn't extend it. I can't see it making much difference in November.

    That leaves 'the debates'. Experience suggests they are rarely game changers and there is no particularly reason to think they will play well for him. They may even play badly. Biden did ok in the Dem debates. Trump is out of practice and some of his recent live performances have been a bit odd.

    Seven points behind in the National polls Trump really needs a game changer. Biden can pretty much run down the clock. That is what I think will happen. A polarised electorate seems to have made its mind up. The game isn't going to change.
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 1,558
    DavidL said:

    The time factor for 538 also explains why it is currently attributing more weight to the extremes. There is plenty of time for the current consensus to move to one extreme or the other so it is right that at this point they have a higher probability than they will in late October.

    Intuitively, I have more sympathy with their approach because it seems to me that this is an exceptionally volatile election with 2 deeply flawed and unpredictable candidates for either of whom something could go seriously wrong by November. I don't think this is because a lot of people will change their mind, my guess is that something like 80% of the electorate would not vote for the other candidate no matter what, but whether they will decide that their guy is not worthy of support after all and therefore don't vote.

    That was a point I wanted to make, but I think the counter to it is that the electorate is so much more bitterly divided. The candidates and their respective weaknesses almost don't matter compared to sticking it over the other side.

    Therefore, the historical precedents used to calibrate the model might exaggerate the potential for a change in opinion during the campaign. Normally with this sort of event the paucity of historical data would produce the opposite effect, of a model without sufficient dispersion.

    And, anyway, all the models implicitly assume that all the votes will be counted. How confident of that can we be?
  • NickPalmerNickPalmer Posts: 14,873

    Is there a view about the shy Trumper factor? Like people who were embarrassed to say they supported John Major I can imagine that open support of The Donald is social pariah making amongst many groups.

    Not supporting him also probably has that effect in hardcore Trump circles. There is a definite defiant circle-the-wagonslaager sense in the Trump camp.

    My guess is that this mostly affects safe states either way. If you live in Wisconsin, it won't be hard to find people who agree with your preference, whatever it is.
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,254

    Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
    Not that objective - its quite symptomatic of the incredible US deficit and Quantitative Easing etc rather than the fundamentals of the US economy right now.

    Supposedly the US economy was healthily growing last year but then the US Budget Deficit was nearly 5% of GDP and a trillion dollars. During so-called growth. That is madness, absolutely fiscally incontinent madness.
    Why, when you can borrow at negative real interest rates? Markets are effectively paying the government to borrow.
  • eekeek Posts: 9,241

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54025181

    How are students not getting a discount on their already ridiculous fees when there is no contact time? And the universities couldn't even be bothered to tell the students this until after they had paid for accommodation.

    Yet another example of UK2020 failing our young people.

    That's a little unfair on the universities, given that they suddenly had to take in more students than expected due to the U-turn on A level grades, while much accommodation, especially for 2nd year students, is provided by the private sector and was arranged long ago.

    Fair enough about the contact time though. Less teaching should mean lower fees.
    It's not less teaching though - it's probably the same amount of teaching just using a mechanism (online conferencing) that people perceive should be cheaper.

    And in theory it could be cheaper but that only comes by increasing numbers to reflect the fact you are no longer constrained by room sizes. But no university can do that at the moment those changes are probably 3-5 years away.

    Even then it will fail as university courses are validated by other universities (who to some extent are competitors). And no competitor is going to approve of a course moving fully online at 1/3 -1/2 the cost...
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 35,647

    Thank you Richard for a very good piece and thanks also for the numerous thoughtful resposes.

    There's a pretty solid PB consensus here that Biden is a buy at current odds and I concur. In fact I've gone in quite heavily for me. The down side seems so low.

    I don't believe the shy-Trumper theory. Most of those I've met are pretty noisy. Perhaps they've got quieter but it's a non-evidence based theory so file in the round cabinet.

    The economy is a different matter. If he can keep it going until election day he does at least have one achievement to crow about, even if it is down to reckless mismanagement.

    BLM may be helping him too, but the evidence is equivocal and Biden appears to be playing this one right. Trump's approach seems designed to fire up a base that is already fired up. It doesn't extend it. I can't see it making much difference in November.

    That leaves 'the debates'. Experience suggests they are rarely game changers and there is no particularly reason to think they will play well for him. They may even play badly. Biden did ok in the Dem debates. Trump is out of practice and some of his recent live performances have been a bit odd.

    Seven points behind in the National polls Trump really needs a game changer. Biden can pretty much run down the clock. That is what I think will happen. A polarised electorate seems to have made its mind up. The game isn't going to change.

    October surprise?
  • LostPasswordLostPassword Posts: 1,558

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    Trump will mobilise more votes campaigning on the economy, but he will mobilise more gun-wielding supporters campaigning on law and order.
  • eek said:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-54025181

    How are students not getting a discount on their already ridiculous fees when there is no contact time? And the universities couldn't even be bothered to tell the students this until after they had paid for accommodation.

    Yet another example of UK2020 failing our young people.

    That's a little unfair on the universities, given that they suddenly had to take in more students than expected due to the U-turn on A level grades, while much accommodation, especially for 2nd year students, is provided by the private sector and was arranged long ago.

    Fair enough about the contact time though. Less teaching should mean lower fees.
    It's not less teaching though - it's probably the same amount of teaching just using a mechanism (online conferencing) that people perceive should be cheaper.

    And in theory it could be cheaper but that only comes by increasing numbers to reflect the fact you are no longer constrained by room sizes. But no university can do that at the moment those changes are probably 3-5 years away.

    Even then it will fail as university courses are validated by other universities (who to some extent are competitors). And no competitor is going to approve of a course moving fully online at 1/3 -1/2 the cost...
    A lot of the teaching will already be available free elsewhere, such as https://www.edx.org/

    That is why people perceive it should be cheaper.
  • MarqueeMarkMarqueeMark Posts: 35,146

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    Trump will mobilise more votes campaigning on the economy, but he will mobilise more gun-wielding supporters campaigning on law and order.
    That Trump campaign: "Why risk a break down of law and order with Sleepy Joe when the economy is going great?"

    Doesn't look to be enough right now, but....
  • Dura_AceDura_Ace Posts: 5,493
    Rexel56 said:

    Grant Shapps explains...

    When his career ends in failure and disgrace, as it inevitably must, he should write a political biography entitled: The Road to Wig and Fear.
  • Is there a view about the shy Trumper factor? Like people who were embarrassed to say they supported John Major I can imagine that open support of The Donald is social pariah making amongst many groups.

    Not supporting him also probably has that effect in hardcore Trump circles. There is a definite defiant circle-the-wagonslaager sense in the Trump camp.

    My guess is that this mostly affects safe states either way. If you live in Wisconsin, it won't be hard to find people who agree with your preference, whatever it is.
    Even somewhere like Seattle or Boston, Clinton only got 62% so about one in three people youd meet would be Trumpers. Everywhere it will be easy to find people who agree with you.
  • alex_alex_ Posts: 2,279
    Rexel56 said:

    Grant Shapps explains his new, regional quarantine policy that means specific islands can be singled out, as has happened for Greece: people must be able to fly back directly to the U.K. from any island singled out, he says. Which makes perfect sense and will be welcome news to travellers returning home from Tinos or Siferos who would have been planning to catch the ferry to the mainland and fly home from Athens. Now they can go straight to the international airport on the island which Mr Shapps has magically built overnight.

    I assume the context is where the mainland is subject to a quarantine but an Island is not. Not the other way around. After all, theoretically you can get around the French quarantine (for example) by flying via Germany. The whole thing's largely self policing because it's easy to get around it with zero chance of detection for those motivated enough.

    Anyone who's filled out one of the online forms can tell they're designed for track and trace type activity, not quarantine policing. The assumption behind track and trace is that people should WANT to know if they're at risk as a result of coming into close contact with an infected person.

    I suspect part of the reason some countries do better than others at tracking and tracing is that in some countries people are motivated to work with the authorities for the sake of their and public health, and in others all anybody is focussed on is how they can beat the system.
  • Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, I agree, Trump should totally be running on the economy, and I've been scratching my head a little bit over why he's been doing the Law and Order thing. One thing that occurs to me reading the reports about the Trump campaign being short on cash is that maybe he still feels like he needs to scare his base into donating more, and he'll go back to the economy in the last few weeks, which also leaves a bit more time for people's personal financial situations to get better. If the strategy is indeed "leave the swing voter persuasion until last", that's a reason to think his situation will improve in the final stretch.

    As always with Trump, you can never quite tell if there's some brilliant cunning strategy at work or if it's just a confused old man reacting to what he sees on the telly.
    Trump will mobilise more votes campaigning on the economy, but he will mobilise more gun-wielding supporters campaigning on law and order.
    That Trump campaign: "Why risk a break down of law and order with Sleepy Joe when the economy is going great?"

    Doesn't look to be enough right now, but....
    Doesn't make sense either. Will there be more rioting under Trump or Biden? The answer is fairly obvious.
  • tlg86tlg86 Posts: 15,012
    An excellent thread, thanks Richard.
  • rkrkrkrkrkrk Posts: 6,291

    One thing missing from Richard's excellent analysis is voter suppression, which we've heard less about lately but is still very much a thing. It can take several forms:

    * Make it hard to register. Exclude anyone with a criminal record (which is a lot of people in the US). Make the procedure complicated. Require that you do it in person during working hours at a particular location.

    * Spread targeted rumours. Target strong Dem communities with rumours that postal votes won't be counted, then near polling day more rumours that the pandemic is rampant, there are gunmen at polling stations. This is exactly the sort of thing Russian bot accounts excel at.

    * Have a really short space between when you get your postal vote and when you stop counting them (ideally election day).

    * In swing states with a GOP governor, limit the number of polling stations in strong Dem areas. Spread more rumours about the risks of standing in line.

    It's these factors that have put me off lumping on Biden, rather than the debate (he'll be fine, Trump is relatively incoherent) or the stock market (must be already factored in).

    It's also all very depressing - the sort of behaviour associated with dodgy quasi-democracies run by autocrats. A key point is that with the exception of the rumours, nobody is bothering to deny that the effort is being made.

    Yes - this is why I plan to cash out before the night itself.
    Plus there should be significant in-trade opportunities on the night.

    We should note that most of these tactics were being done in 2016 also, so I guess we are focusing on the marginal voter suppression being done this time. Trump probably is in more of a position to do so, so I'd expect that additional suppression to be considerable.
  • TOPPINGTOPPING Posts: 24,704
    Great piece Richard. And I usually skip all the US-based stuff.
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 21,356
    Good header, Richard. Thanks.
  • MalmesburyMalmesbury Posts: 6,746

    Foxy said:

    Foxy said:

    Pulpstar said:

    Silver's model takes time into account, it should start to firm up for Biden (If the polling remains where it is) as the election approaches. In 2016 there was a latish swing to Trump which yielded his 28 or so % chance with 538.
    Of course if the polling moves that will move other models more.

    So commonsense would say that if nothing changes after the conventions that should have moved the uncertainty down a lot, but apparently there was some good economic data, and that increases the gap between observed reality and hypothesised "fundamentals"...
    I think Silver et al are right to add in volatility based on the economy due to:

    - people in the US much more invested and interested in shares directly
    - a strong correlation between the share indices and the election winner
    - a lot of volatility and momentum in the stock market with QE and the potential for a vaccine
    - Trump good at linking himself with stock market performance

    It is a much better focus for Trump than the culture wars. People have made up their minds on the culture wars already, yes Trumps lot will be motivated but this time so will the anti Trumpers. The few votes that can be shifted will be on the economy.
    Yes, the share price issue is good for Trump, and America is much more invested in domestic equities on an individual basis. Currently this works in Trumps favour.

    One related issue to this though is how peaky it looks, particularly tech stocks. It is arguable that the Amazon rise is justified by a permanent shift in the market, but much less so for Apple for example, yet the rise in Apple shares since Feb is astonishing, and looks very bubbly. There was a correction at the end of last week, but a major crash back to values of just six months ago is very possible. Early autumn is stock market crash season, and that could be very bad for Trump.

    There is a lot of volatility, but stock valuation becomes tricky in the world of mass QE. That QE money has to drive up the prices of some assets, so it becomes a relative game rather than one based on fundamentals. Apple, relatively unimpacted by covid at a multiple of 36 vs residential property vs commercial property vs tech shares that have never made money vs hospitality shares vs travel shares. I think Apple is relatively better value than the others listed.

    Of course the whole market could crash and that would be a nail in the coffin for Trump, but from a presidential betting angle the stock market is the most likely thing that can change the result of the election.
    Of course a lot of Americans are not stock invested too.

    Yes, QE makes a difference but the rise in US exchanges has been much more bubbly than our own, other European and Asian markets, even allowing for the tech heavy nature of the US one. Apple is near double its pre covid valuation, and that looks very peaky to me, as one example among many.
    Apple pre covid didnt have a big safety premium - in the world of covid & QE combined it does. Relatively to other companies its future revenue is less risky to an extent that didnt apply pre covid, and the QE money searches out the safest assets it can find.
    Doesn't Apple sit on tons of cash at the minute?

    Its probably as safe as Government bond right now.
    When 2008 happened, Apple seriously considered opening their own consumer bank. x billions in cash, and no derivatives....

    They were, IIRC, told by various regulators (US, EU etc) - no, you can't. Because if they had gone ahead, the regulators assumed there would be a stampede from the old banks to Apple Bank. Leaving them with an entire dead financial system....
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,254
    This is an interesting thread. The question of the extent to which there is, or rather has been, volatility in the last few months of a Presidential election is of course an empirical one, and one that is difficult to determine without rigorously without advanced statistical methods. Even using such methods, of course, you're taking a judgement based on past experience - no use if there's been a paradigm shift.

  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 21,356
    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,702
    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.
  • FishingFishing Posts: 1,254

    One thing missing from Richard's excellent analysis is voter suppression, which we've heard less about lately but is still very much a thing. It can take several forms:

    * Make it hard to register. Exclude anyone with a criminal record (which is a lot of people in the US). Make the procedure complicated. Require that you do it in person during working hours at a particular location.

    * Spread targeted rumours. Target strong Dem communities with rumours that postal votes won't be counted, then near polling day more rumours that the pandemic is rampant, there are gunmen at polling stations. This is exactly the sort of thing Russian bot accounts excel at.

    * Have a really short space between when you get your postal vote and when you stop counting them (ideally election day).

    * In swing states with a GOP governor, limit the number of polling stations in strong Dem areas. Spread more rumours about the risks of standing in line.

    It's these factors that have put me off lumping on Biden, rather than the debate (he'll be fine, Trump is relatively incoherent) or the stock market (must be already factored in).

    It's also all very depressing - the sort of behaviour associated with dodgy quasi-democracies run by autocrats. A key point is that with the exception of the rumours, nobody is bothering to deny that the effort is being made.

    I listened to an Economist podcast recently which said that studies indicated that dodgy practices made very small, if any, difference to the result in something as huge as the US presidential election. It was just a single comment though - didn't provide any backup.
  • CorrectHorseBatteryCorrectHorseBattery Posts: 9,766
    edited September 8
    Can I just catch up, PB Tories said there was no border in the Irish Sea, Johnson has now acknowledged there is, PB Tories now denying they ever said the first.

    Ok
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 35,647

    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.

    Absolute shambles. Sorry to hear this.

    Meanwhile, the woman in charge of this mess is being put in charge of the whole public health response across England and Wales.

    What could possibly go wrong?
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,702

    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.

    Called 111. It says no home tests, and for anything else “call back later” as “extremely busy”, or go online.

    World-beating.
  • FeersumEnjineeyaFeersumEnjineeya Posts: 1,908
    edited September 8
    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    Surely the efficiency of the NHS is at least as adversely affected as anywhere else by the need for social distancing and protective measures. Why would you expect otherwise?

    My other half works in an NHS lab, and she says that the hassle of anti-Covid measures has pushed productivity through the floor. She would normally be signing off reports; instead she has spent the day trying to work out where the hell put everybody.
  • AlistairAlistair Posts: 16,372
    Fishing said:

    One thing missing from Richard's excellent analysis is voter suppression, which we've heard less about lately but is still very much a thing. It can take several forms:

    * Make it hard to register. Exclude anyone with a criminal record (which is a lot of people in the US). Make the procedure complicated. Require that you do it in person during working hours at a particular location.

    * Spread targeted rumours. Target strong Dem communities with rumours that postal votes won't be counted, then near polling day more rumours that the pandemic is rampant, there are gunmen at polling stations. This is exactly the sort of thing Russian bot accounts excel at.

    * Have a really short space between when you get your postal vote and when you stop counting them (ideally election day).

    * In swing states with a GOP governor, limit the number of polling stations in strong Dem areas. Spread more rumours about the risks of standing in line.

    It's these factors that have put me off lumping on Biden, rather than the debate (he'll be fine, Trump is relatively incoherent) or the stock market (must be already factored in).

    It's also all very depressing - the sort of behaviour associated with dodgy quasi-democracies run by autocrats. A key point is that with the exception of the rumours, nobody is bothering to deny that the effort is being made.

    I listened to an Economist podcast recently which said that studies indicated that dodgy practices made very small, if any, difference to the result in something as huge as the US presidential election. It was just a single comment though - didn't provide any backup.
    3 times as many voters were illegally purged in Georgia than Kemp's margin of victory.

    You don't have to do things at a national level, just at the state level.
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 21,356
    edited September 8

    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.

    But it's world beating? Your experience is fake news, obviously.
  • Wulfrun_PhilWulfrun_Phil Posts: 3,060
    I disagree with the thread. Change just one word in the conclusion and you get this:

    "And if the 538 model is over-estimating the extremes, flattening the distribution so much, it must be under-estimating the central bands, pulling down Clinton’s quoted chances of victory because it takes a large chunk of the probability out of Clinton’s central winning zone of 300 to 370 ECVs into Trump-victory territory of Clinton getting fewer than 270 (and also some into Clinton landslide territory, but that doesn’t alter the headline odds of him winning)."

    The point is that 538 were panned in 2016 for coming up with a model that in the final days gave Trump a possibility of winning of around 30% or so, compared the the consensus in most other models that gave Trump a chance in the range of 10%. I think 538 called Trump's chances correctly based on the evidence then available.

    So I'll stick with 538, thanks, and their current assessment that Trump has a 28% chance. Biden should be the favourite by some margin, but at this point it is not nailed on for him yet, just as it wasn't nailed on for Clinton two months before polling day in 2016. Of course, if the polls in 7 weeks time are where they are now, it would be correct to rate Trump's chances as much lower than 28%, but these are not at the moment eve of poll probability ranges that are being assessed.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690
    We should be aware too that turnout in US elections is low..... 55% last time; low but not historically so ...... but that there are reports that turnout in States which Trump carried possibly unexpectedly had more voters than usual.
  • rottenboroughrottenborough Posts: 35,647
    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    We have an appointment in two weeks time. Usually at the hospital. No idea whether it will be phone only or not and no one has contacted us so far.
  • MaxPBMaxPB Posts: 21,356
    edited September 8

    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    Surely the efficiency of the NHS is at least as adversely affected as anywhere else by the need for social distancing and protective measures. Why would you expect otherwise?

    My other half works in an NHS lab, and she says that the hassle of anti-Covid measures has pushed productivity through the floor.
    She was the only patient when they arrived into A&E. It was completely empty. She's still waiting to be seen 10 hours later.
  • Casino_RoyaleCasino_Royale Posts: 37,075
    Nice to have a header on the betting once again - great thread, Richard.

    It's not impossible Trump performs a miracle and wins (somehow) but on the face of the overwhelming evidence before us Biden is currently a clear buy, and great value at current market prices.
  • CyclefreeCyclefree Posts: 18,387


    Why Trump has to lose.

    I am fearful that he won’t, though.
  • edmundintokyoedmundintokyo Posts: 14,533
    edited September 8

    One thing missing from Richard's excellent analysis is voter suppression, which we've heard less about lately but is still very much a thing. It can take several forms:

    * Make it hard to register. Exclude anyone with a criminal record (which is a lot of people in the US). Make the procedure complicated. Require that you do it in person during working hours at a particular location.

    * Spread targeted rumours. Target strong Dem communities with rumours that postal votes won't be counted, then near polling day more rumours that the pandemic is rampant, there are gunmen at polling stations. This is exactly the sort of thing Russian bot accounts excel at.

    * Have a really short space between when you get your postal vote and when you stop counting them (ideally election day).

    * In swing states with a GOP governor, limit the number of polling stations in strong Dem areas. Spread more rumours about the risks of standing in line.

    It's these factors that have put me off lumping on Biden, rather than the debate (he'll be fine, Trump is relatively incoherent) or the stock market (must be already factored in).

    It's also all very depressing - the sort of behaviour associated with dodgy quasi-democracies run by autocrats. A key point is that with the exception of the rumours, nobody is bothering to deny that the effort is being made.

    Trump is hardly in control of any of these though - nearly all the swing states (exceptions being FL and AZ) have at least Dem governors. The things you mention like making registration hard were generally worse in 2016 than they'll be in 2020.

    Postal votes are already going out, and the Dems have already established that Trump's nefarious Postmaster General is going to try to delay them, so you need to get them in really early.

    Once you've created a situation where Dem votes have overwhelmingly gone in by post already, it gets much harder to run the polling station attacks. Firstly, there will be fewer Dems who need to vote on the day, so it will be harder to create congestion at polling stations. But secondly, since the Dem tribe is saying you should vote by post, and the GOP tribe is saying that postal voting is an evil plot, you risk catching a lot of your own supporters in your attack. You can *partly* mitigate this by focusing very hard on - for example - inner city black precincts, but even there Trump is getting non-zero support. It's easy to spread rumours on social media, but it's much harder to spread *pinpoint* rumours.

    What is true is that the voting situation creates a significant chaos factor, and this could work in either direction. This is something that the 538 model has actually decided not to count, so maybe it will end up offsetting the slightly eccentric things that 538 *is* treating as signs of uncertainty. It could be that Dems will have postal votes rejected en mass because they're missing signatures. But it could also be that differential postal voting in a pandemic provides a huge organizational benefit to the Democrats.

    This chaos factor potentially applies to House and Senate races as well as the presidential race, so maybe they're better places to look for weird upsets.
  • RH1992RH1992 Posts: 241

    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.

    Called 111. It says no home tests, and for anything else “call back later” as “extremely busy”, or go online.

    World-beating.
    Have you tried 119? It's worrying that the testing system seemed to work well for a couple of months (at least in my/anecdotal experience) but seemingly government IT/incompetence has taken over as usual.
  • GallowgateGallowgate Posts: 9,702
    RH1992 said:

    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.

    Called 111. It says no home tests, and for anything else “call back later” as “extremely busy”, or go online.

    World-beating.
    Have you tried 119? It's worrying that the testing system seemed to work well for a couple of months (at least in my/anecdotal experience) but seemingly government IT/incompetence has taken over as usual.
    Yeah, 111 directed me to 119, and it simply says nothing available, call back later.
  • alex_alex_ Posts: 2,279
    MaxPB said:

    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    Surely the efficiency of the NHS is at least as adversely affected as anywhere else by the need for social distancing and protective measures. Why would you expect otherwise?

    My other half works in an NHS lab, and she says that the hassle of anti-Covid measures has pushed productivity through the floor.
    She was the only patient when they arrived into A&E. It was completely empty. She's still waiting to be seen 10 hours later.
    And even if there was some valid COVID related explanation, is anyone doing serious hospital by hospital risk assessments on the harm done by COVID protocols versus the risks of relaxing them?

    Do COVID protocols actually vary by hospitals, or is there just standardised national guidance which must be followed, regardless of the prevalence of COVID in the local area?
  • Andy_CookeAndy_Cooke Posts: 2,415
    I expect Trump to announce, in the last week or last day(s), a covid vaccine rollout.

    The claim only has to last until the votes are cast, after all. Give Trump believers a reason to turn out and rationalise their vote. And afterwards (or, if he did it a bit too soon and it was unmistakeably not going to happen):

    ”The DEMOCRAT-controlled scientists are blocking your SAFETY. It could be all over but they’re INSISTING on POINTLESS extra tests! SLEEPY JOE and PHONY KAMALA are playing politics with your Lives! And they enjoy MUZZLING you and taking away your AMERICAN FREEDOMS! Sad!”
  • MaxPB said:

    Just tried again to get a COVID test. No home tests, no drive-throughs, no walk-throughs.

    Waste of time.

    But it's world beating? Your experience is fake news, obviously.
    Getting worse in Greater Manchester

    At around 7pm on Monday, the M.E.N tried to book a test using a number of postcodes from the remaining six boroughs in Greater Manchester.

    For a variety of different postcodes in Oldham, Rochdale, Trafford, Tameside, Salford and Stockport the website would not load when trying to book a test.

    No matter which options we selected, it was not possible to book a test using any postcode in these boroughs.

    We tried refreshing the page, but no tests were showing as available.

    In a statement, a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said that there is currently 'a high demand for tests'.

    They said areas with outbreaks are being made a priority.

    The statement read: “There is a high demand for tests and to help stop the spread of the virus we are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, as well as prioritising at-risk groups.

    “We have the capacity to test for coronavirus at an unprecedented scale.


    Lucky Greater Manchester isn't a relative hotspot.

    https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/how-easy-book-coronavirus-test-18892002
  • NerysHughesNerysHughes Posts: 1,224
    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    As I have been saying for months on this site, trying to access the NHS whether a Surgery or a Hospital is so difficult, despite hospitals and surgeries being empty. Covid is just being used as an excuse to do nothing. People have not believed me cause they don't think it could possibly be the case. That is until they experience what is going on.
  • On topic, top work as usual Richard.
  • RH1992RH1992 Posts: 241
    edited September 8
    It's Peston so take with a shaker of salt, but this seems like a plausible response.

  • eristdooferistdoof Posts: 3,602
    As Richard Navabi mentions it in passing: The philosophical debate in the field of statistics about the meaning of one-off probabilities has a long history. Briefly put, the classical approach to statistics (called the Frequentist approach) requires repeatability (not falsifiability). Genuine "Frequentists" are squeamish about statements like "the probability that it will rain tomorow is 60%". Because repeating the weather is questionable. Certainly the Trump vs Biden WH election is not a repeatable "event" (I hope).

    There are two other accepted approaches in statistics. One is called Bayesian which does not require repeatability, but now assumes that this probability number is itself random, so the 60% might be the mid-point of a distribution from 50-70%. The Nate Silver models are based on a Bayesian foundation.

    The approach Richard takes is a different but well documented philosophy:
    De Finetti's approach. The argument here is that there is a fair price which determines the probability. A person who is unemotional about the result is prepared to back or lay when the price is not in line with the percieved probability and hold off from betting when the price matches the probability. Of course people who gamble seriously find this approach very natural. My problem with it is that it means that probabilites move from being an external concept (the probabilities remain the same regardless of who is trying to estimate it), to being a belief which can vary from individual to individual.
  • BenpointerBenpointer Posts: 13,639
    Great thread header Richard, many thanks.

    I particularly like the comment that "A philosopher might ask whether a probability for a one-off unrepeatable event means anything at all, since it is inherently impossible to falsify " which makes a point that is so often missed by many people (@Wulfrun_Phil I'm looking at you!)
  • Beibheirli_CBeibheirli_C Posts: 3,953
    MaxPB said:

    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    Surely the efficiency of the NHS is at least as adversely affected as anywhere else by the need for social distancing and protective measures. Why would you expect otherwise?

    My other half works in an NHS lab, and she says that the hassle of anti-Covid measures has pushed productivity through the floor.
    She was the only patient when they arrived into A&E. It was completely empty. She's still waiting to be seen 10 hours later.
    I had a 300 mile round trip this week - for a blood test...

    I combined it with visiting friends and family. My mother has managed to see her GP once since March (she has ongoing health conditions) and my aunt, who lives next door to a hospital, has been told to drive 50 miles, expect to have an invasive procedure with anaesthesia and then drive back. She is 75 and recovering from an ileostomy. The hospital next door simply refuses to see her.
  • alex_alex_ Posts: 2,279

    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    As I have been saying for months on this site, trying to access the NHS whether a Surgery or a Hospital is so difficult, despite hospitals and surgeries being empty. Covid is just being used as an excuse to do nothing. People have not believed me cause they don't think it could possibly be the case. That is until they experience what is going on.
    I've asked this question before. If, in non COVID times, you had shut down 90% of the non-emergency health work in this country for several months or more, what would be the expected affect on public health outcomes? We are surely going to start seeing significant excess deaths figures soon which are nothing whatsoever to do with COVID?
  • MangoMango Posts: 749
    Dura_Ace said:

    Rexel56 said:

    Grant Shapps explains...

    When his career ends in failure and disgrace, as it inevitably must, he should write a political biography entitled: The Road to Wig and Fear.
    Failure and disgrace generally have you back in the cabinet within months. Usually as defence sec.
  • Philip_ThompsonPhilip_Thompson Posts: 40,725
    edited September 8
    Fishing said:

    Ratters said:


    Finally, on the modelling itself I'd observe that the volatility in polling may have been fitted to 2016, where things ebbed and flowed between significant and very small Clinton leads (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-election-forecast/), wheres in 2020 Biden's lead has been much more stable (see here: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/polls/president-general/national/). If I were modelling this, I'd include the volatility of polling to date as one of the predictors of future polling volatility, rather than relying on the factors described by edmundintokyo above.

    538 goes right back decades, there were some much wackier races like Bush-Dukakis.

    And TBF there is polling volatility in there too, I only listed the last three things. But I do think it's notable that basically all the pro-Biden indicators are simple and objective, whereas the ones that bring it back towards Trump are quite wild and conjectural, especially when applie to a pandemic scenario that's never happened before.
    DJ up 50% on its March low and potentially at an all time high on election day despite being in a pandemic is simple and objective imo.
    Not that objective - its quite symptomatic of the incredible US deficit and Quantitative Easing etc rather than the fundamentals of the US economy right now.

    Supposedly the US economy was healthily growing last year but then the US Budget Deficit was nearly 5% of GDP and a trillion dollars. During so-called growth. That is madness, absolutely fiscally incontinent madness.
    Why, when you can borrow at negative real interest rates? Markets are effectively paying the government to borrow.
    Because they're not doing so. The government isn't being paid to borrow that is a myth pure and simple, the US Treasury was not paid to borrow last year - the US Treasury paid an estimated $593.1 billion in 2019 alone and that figure is rising annually. Interest payments as a share of GDP are going up not down.

    Every year the government needs to borrow to roll over old debts as well as borrow for the deficit. If you can borrow at negative interest rates then the government can and should be using that functionality to bring down old interest rates. Osborne did this while he was Chancellor, the Treasury quietly whenever interest rates went low or negative borrowed and used that money to repay old debts that were running at a higher interest rate, thus the burden of debt on UK interest payment made out. As a result the UK government is paying a remarkably low share of interest as a proportion of GDP all things considered.

    Anything that is borrowed, even at a low interest rate, will need to be repaid. Unless that's going to be repaid by a budget surplus (not going to happen) its going to be repaid by rolling over the debt which could be at a much higher interest rate down the line.
  • RH1992 said:

    It's Peston so take with a shaker of salt, but this seems like a plausible response.

    Why are we allowed 30 people in a house at the moment anyway? The limit for weddings is also 30 people but that would be in a typically much greater space with professional staff who can set up a covid secure environment. It is obvious the limit for being in a house should be less than a wedding.

    I had no idea we were allowed 30 people in a house and doubt many other people did either so changing the limit probably wont have that much impact.
  • OldKingColeOldKingCole Posts: 19,690
    MaxPB said:

    MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    Surely the efficiency of the NHS is at least as adversely affected as anywhere else by the need for social distancing and protective measures. Why would you expect otherwise?

    My other half works in an NHS lab, and she says that the hassle of anti-Covid measures has pushed productivity through the floor.
    She was the only patient when they arrived into A&E. It was completely empty. She's still waiting to be seen 10 hours later.
    Might be over-optimistic, but. My wife developed and eye problem over the weekend. Saw the local optician Monday midday; he'd originally said he would be in this location until Thursday, and gave her a couple of alternative colleagues to contact. However, later rang back to say he'd be in at 12.30 and she could come. So she went, and he referred her to a more specialist colleague; we're about to set off for appointment with same.
  • MaxPB said:

    The newest development I've seen is people begin to question why the NHS is still shite at providing normal services. A friend's pregnant wife has just spent the night in hospital waiting to be seen by various experts. They are both sick with worry but no one will see them, they keep getting the same bullshit answers about COVID causing delays but the hospital is completely empty of patients.

    I really don't understand what's going on now, it's never been this bad before.

    As I have been saying for months on this site, trying to access the NHS whether a Surgery or a Hospital is so difficult, despite hospitals and surgeries being empty. Covid is just being used as an excuse to do nothing. People have not believed me cause they don't think it could possibly be the case. That is until they experience what is going on.
    What a bizarre attitude. The NHS is run on a shoestring as it is. Why on Earth would you expect the enormous additional complication of anti-Covid measures not to result in a loss of efficiency?

    I'm sure anyone with first-hand experience of running a business which involves a lot of human interaction will tell you how much extra hassle anti-Covid measures add to their life.
This discussion has been closed.