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.