2020 Election Season Articles

Biden Goes Anti-Riot
September 9, 2020
Three weeks ago, Joe Biden had a commanding lead in the polls and was keeping his mouth shut, and largely staying out of public view -- the traditional strategy of a frontrunner with a wide margin. However, public sentiment rapidly shifted against the ongoing violence taking place in America's urban areas. ANTIFA rioting in Portland entered its 100th consecutive day, there were high profile killings in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon, and the overall death toll from BLM and ANTIFA rioting surpassed 30, with injuries in the thousands, hundreds of businesses burned to the ground, and property losses projected to top $2 billion. As riot-fatigue set in, Joe Biden's poll numbers began to plummet, and the RCP betting-odds average fell right along with them. Just as the betting odds fell to coin-toss territory, Biden finally made public statements against the rioting -- and it seems to have helped.

Biden's public statements that he condemns violence across-the-board "no matter who it is" appear, for now, to have stopped his precipitous fall in the polls. The betting odds are now bouncing back in Biden's favor -- sitting at around 53/47 as of today. There remains a large disconnect between state-by-state wagering on PredictIt and the contract for overall-winner, which technically represents an arbitrage opportunity, but one that is very hard to exploit because market participants can't be sure which states are wrong -- but the current contract on the overall winner signals that they know some of the state-by-state contracts surely are. For example, PredictIt participants believe that Biden has a 65% chance of Winning PA and WI (and AZ!), and a 70% chance of winning MI -- but only a a 59% chance of winning the election. If those state contracts are accurate, Joe Biden's chances of winning the election are closer to 85%. Talk about serious 2016 Déjà vu vibes.

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