Post-Debate Analysis Part 4: Bottom-Tier Candidates Never Had A Chance

By Noah Lieberman

Ballotcraft is a fantasy politics game (think fantasy football, but for politics). Play against your friends and win by best predicting what’s going to happen in upcoming elections. Sign up and play here: www.ballotcraft.com.

 

This is part four of our four-part series analyzing Ballotcraft’s market data during the first Republican Presidential Debate. We’re looking at how a savvy investor could use this information to their advantage in the future.

Our last post on the debate will take a look at all of the candidates who failed to ever really get off of the ground. While it may not be a great surprise that candidates like Mike Huckabee were never really in the running to win this debate, just how poorly the bottom five candidates did in the market was a real shock throughout the night. Just as an investor might jump on a penny stock for a quick boost to their portfolio, many investors (myself included) thought that investing in a low-trading candidate may be the ticket to quick success. And while investments in Donald Trump while he trading below 2 percent earlier in the week proved fruitful, only Rand Paul was able to generate any real upward momentum from the bottom half of the candidate list on his way to finishing with the highest market price.

All of the other low-profile candidates, namely Governor Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson, Governor Chris Christie, Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor John Kasich, failed to create the quick jumps in value that would their low-cost investments worthwhile. Oddly enough, these candidates can’t really be blamed for their lack of success. Each one had their share of lines which sent the crowd into a frenzy, from Christie’s powerful recollections of September 11th to Carson’s insights on race which gave him some of the biggest cheers of the night. These lines generate a bunch of attention on social media, and drive discussion during the commercial breaks in living rooms across America. And yet, the markets were unimpressed, as there were no great jumps of more than one or two points throughout the night for these candidates, and each ended up with a lower value than when they started.

How This Should Impact Your Strategy: Don’t equate crowd reactions to market reactions. These markets measure a candidate’s chance of winnings, not just their standing in the race, and are therefore not as reactionary as the rest of the Internet. This means your chances of striking it rich with the C-list candidates are pretty slim, but, as Senator Paul proved, not non-existent. It will just take a sustained high-quality performance, not just a couple of one-liners, for the candidates to prove a good return on investment.

 

Noah Lieberman is the founder of election forecasting website PollingLab. Click here to see more of his analysis of the 2016 election.

Post-Debate Analysis Part 3: Walker Fails To Seal The Deal

By Noah Lieberman

Ballotcraft is a fantasy politics game (think fantasy football, but for politics). Play against your friends and win by best predicting what’s going to happen in upcoming elections. Sign up and play here: www.ballotcraft.com.

 

This is part three of our four-part series analyzing Ballotcraft’s market data during the first Republican Presidential Debate. We’re looking at how a savvy investor could use this information to their advantage in the future.

This post will take a look at one of the current frontrunners in Iowa, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Walker entered the debate as the closest thing to a favorite on the Ballotcraft market, trading at just over 26 points at 9:00 PM. And for the majority of the debate it appeared as though it would stay that way, as his price stayed between 30 and 35 from 9:20 to 10:20, giving him a healthy margin over his challengers. In fact, Walker maintained at least a double-digit lead over the rest of the pack in that timespan, with his lead topping 20 points several times. However, just before the third commercial break, a chink appeared in Walker’s armor as he fielded a question on Iran. Though his own market value was only slightly decreasing, his lead over the field was dropping dramatically. Most peculiarly, his answer was not any weaker than those which had given him the lead, so his sudden weakness could not be blamed on a serious blunder as Trump’s could have been.

Walker’s Lead Over Next Candidate

Walker’s Lead Over Next Candidate

            Instead, the collapse in Walker’s lead was most likely due to a series of mediocre, tepidly-received answers which failed to distinguish him from the showier candidates on the stage. Walker’s lead was at 16.2 points before his uninspired Iran answer, and it left so little of an impression on the traders that by the time he spoke again his lead was below 7, his lowest of the entire night. Unfortunately for Walker his next few opportunities (questions on the Black Lives Matter movement and the Russian cyber-attack) were largely squandered and his lead completely vanished, culminating in a 4 point deficit to Senator Rand Paul by 10:50. And though a more personal answer on his relationship with God was able to restore Walker’s lead, that too vanished as he delivered yet another “aggressively normal” (his words, not mine) response as his closing statement.

How This Should Impact Your Strategy: Simply put, don’t bet on Walker to win a debate so long as he remains a more or less boring debater. He says all the right things and I’d be pretty darn surprised if stock in his ability to win the nomination ever drop significantly after a debate, but it’s even harder to imagine it jumping up because of his oratorical powers. Keeping your money invested in Walker during a debate will be a sound strategy, but don’t count on it if you need to quickly gain ground in your league.

 

Noah Lieberman is the founder of election forecasting website PollingLab. Click here to see more of his analysis of the 2016 election.

Post-Debate Analysis Part 2: Rubio Fails To Make Waves, Still Comes Out On Top

By Noah Lieberman

Ballotcraft is a fantasy politics game (think fantasy football, but for politics). Play against your friends and win by best predicting what’s going to happen in upcoming elections. Sign up and play here: www.ballotcraft.com.

 

This is part two of our four-part series analyzing Ballotcraft’s market data during the first Republican Presidential Debate. We’re looking at how a savvy investor could use this information to their advantage in the future.

In today’s post, we will turn to the eventual winner of the debate as decided by the Ballotcraft focus group, Florida Senator Marco Rubio. If Senator Rubio had failed to catch your eye during the debate, you would not be alone. The Senator never led the market, and only held second place for a total of five minutes over the course of the debate. After a rough start, Rubio spent the majority of the night in the mid-teens, solidly wedged in with Governor Bush and Senator Paul. Though he had a couple memorable moments, his price barely fluctuated at all, only rising or dropping as he spoke and readjusting after he was done. Of the five candidates who spent time over double-digits, Rubio had by far the smallest range in values, his prices only ranging by 7.6 points, from 10.8 to 18.4, after opening remarks (By comparison, Trump had a post-opening range of 10.4 points, Bush had one of 12.7, Paul 15.9, and Walker 16.2).

Bush, Paul, and Rubio Prices During Debate

Bush, Paul, and Rubio Prices During Debate

            If Rubio had one main strength during the debate, it was his ability to finish the night strongly. Though he trailed his three main competitors by 7.2, 8.5, and 8.9 points with just 15 minutes left in the debate, two strong closing statements touching on the crowd-pleasing subjects of God, veterans, and the American dream brought those margins down to 0.2, 7.4, and 4.9 points respectively. Still, the fact that he won this debate without ever leading in the market may be cause for concern as you try to adjust your strategy for the future.

How This Should Impact Your Strategy: First off, don’t discount Rubio. Even if his message doesn’t resonate with you personally, it certainly has a greater hold over Republican voters than the market ever gave him credit for. Secondly, pay attention to who’s getting applause at the end of night, since they’re more likely to have a lasting impression with viewers.

 

Noah Lieberman is the founder of election forecasting website PollingLab. Click here to see more of his analysis of the 2016 election.

Post-Debate Analysis part 1: Trump a Hot Ticket Until Commercial

By Noah Lieberman

Ballotcraft is a fantasy politics game (think fantasy football, but for politics). Play against your friends and win by best predicting what’s going to happen in upcoming elections. Sign up and play here: www.ballotcraft.com.

 

The first Republican Presidential Debate is in the books, and with it the first market on Ballotcraft’s real-time trading engines. The night was full of surprises, from the opening question to the final focus group votes, and the market certainly reflected that volatility. In this four-part series, we’ll be taking a look at the data behind the prices of the night and see how a savvy investor could use this information to their advantage in the future.

Since every news outlet seems to think this is the top story, let’s follow suit and talk about the man of the hour, Donald Trump. While the real estate mogul failed to earn a single vote from the focus group at the end of the night, there was a period of time in the beginning of the debate where he looked like a serious contender. Though shares in Trump stayed stagnant through the first ten minutes of the debate (including when he was booed for saying he would not rule out running as an independent), as soon as he was asked a direct question his price skyrocketed from 8.7 to 13.3 over the span of two minutes. And though his price had leveled off to 11.9 after every candidate had received their first question, buyers were quick to get back in on Trump the instant the subject of immigration was raised, even though the question was addressed to Jeb Bush. Before Trump even spoke his price had risen all the way to 15.9, the second highest at the time. And though his mishandling of the question caused a momentary dip, Trump went into the first commercial break at 13.7, solidly within the second-tier of candidates.

Trump Stock Price Before First Commercial

Trump Stock Price Before First Commercial

However, as soon as traders had time to think about what had just happened, they quickly departed the Donald Trump bandwagon. His price plummeted back down to 8.9, essentially where he had been before the debate started, and would only break back over 10 twice before the second commercial break, after which point it wouldn’t even rise past 6 points.

Trump Stock Price Until Second Commercial Break

Trump Stock Price Until Second Commercial Break

How This Should Impact Your Strategy: Unless the rest of the traders learn their lesson in regards to Trump, there should be some quick money to be made during the debates if you can time your sales right. Every time he spoke in the first hour of the debate, even after his blunders right before the commercial, his price rose rapidly and dropped in a similar fashion. His message excites the audience at these debates, and we mistook those cheers for a legitimate chance at winning. If you can get in before he opens his mouth and out before the content of his message sinks in, you should be in the clear.

 

Noah Lieberman is the founder of election forecasting website PollingLab. Click here to see more of his analysis of the 2016 election.

Insights from our focus group

Our focus group declared Marco Rubio the winner of the August 6 Republican Debate. We asked members of our focus group for insights into their decision making process. Here’s a selection of their responses:

Marco Rubio’s preemptively pitting himself against Hillary was a great move. “How’s she going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I grew up paycheck to paycheck! How’s she going to lecture me about student loans? I just paid mine off four years ago!” Very powerful.

Jeb Bush demonstrated that he is the most well-prepared and well-spoken of the candidates. In particular, he skillfully articulated why he has earned the credentials to be a strong presidential candidate — apart from his family name.

Biggest winner of the night was actually Carly Fiorina. Against the candidates on stage, Marco Rubio won the second debate, but he wouldn’t have if Fiorina had been a part of the main event.

Marco Rubio’s initial one-liner and final closing statement were phenomenal bookends. He made emotional and broad appeals. He packaged his statements very well.

Trump probably had the worst night, at least if the post-debate focus group on Fox News means anything. Looks like Republicans are starting to realize he’s only in this for himself.

Thanks again to our focus group for their help!

Marco Rubio wins Republican Debate

Marco Rubio is the winner of the August 6 Republican Debate, as he was deemed by our focus group as the candidate to have “best improved his chance of winning the Republican nomination”.

This is the breakdown of our focus group’s voting:

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 8.09.21 PM

We will be regularly updating this blog with commentary from our focus group and analysis of trading behavior during the game, so check back again soon.

Special thanks to our focus group and to all of our players for their participation. Watch out for an announcement of our next fantasy politics game!