Ballotcraft discussion and announcements moving to the Ballotcraft Forum

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to give a heads up that we’re moving all discussion and announcements about Ballotcraft to our Forum. The Ballotcraft Forum is a great place to discuss politics and elections, and also to follow the latest developments with Ballotcraft.

Check it out at:


The Ballotcraft Team


Ballotcraft Proud to Announce Public Launch of its Fantasy Politics Game

We’re excited to announce the public launch of Ballotcraft today.

Ballotcraft is a new way for people to engage with politics in a fun but meaningful way. There’s never been anything quite like it, so we’re excited to launch for the 2016 US elections.

Our goal at Ballotcraft is to boost voter engagement, particularly among millennial voters. Through our fantasy politics game, Ballotcraft helps spark voter interest in the political process. It’s similar to the way that fantasy football has boosted interest in the NFL, particularly among people who previously only had a marginal interest in football. By creating a new way of engaging with politics that is both fun and social, we believe Ballotcraft will have a similarly profound impact on political engagement.

This new version of Ballotcraft builds upon our beta with several new features:

Ballotcraft players are knowledgeable and opinionated about politics, and the Forum is a place for them to connect with one another. Have thoughts on the 2016 election? Post them to our Forum and start a conversation!

We will also be hosting Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with various political figures on our Forum soon. Stay tuned!

Status Tiers
Players now earn a Status Tier of either Gold, Silver, or Bronze based on their performance in Ballotcraft, and they can join “skill” games that consist of only players in the same Status Tier. This makes the games more fun and competitive.

Election Odds Explorer
You can now easily browse the historical odds of events on Ballotcraft.

We’ve completely overhauled the design of Ballotcraft to be cleaner and more intuitive to navigate.

We hope you enjoy Ballotcraft. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear from you. Shoot us an email at

Insights from Our Focus Group

Our focus group declared Bernie Sanders the winner of the January 17 Democratic Debate. We asked members of our focus group for insights into their decision making process. Here’s a selection of their responses:

Bernie effectively attacked Clinton for her ties to Wall Street, making her seem compromised from all the money she’s taken from them. He took the high road several times, particularly when asked about the behavior of Bill Clinton. I think he won himself more fans tonight.

It seemed like Bernie was the frontrunner, brushing off attacks from Hillary. He was at his strongest when he was discussing health care, and it’s clear that he has a lot of momentum that Hillary is looking to quash, based on his surging poll numbers and how he’s faring with the youth vote.

Hillary’s attacks on Bernie’s healthcare proposals came across as calculated and disingenuous. Bernie had a strong defense, that he helped write Obamacare and fully supports it.

The whole debate seemed to revolve around Bernie: what he said, what he proposed, what he thinks about so and so. For voters only tuning in now, that plays to his advantage.

Sanders has really improved his fluency on foreign affairs, which was a weak point for him in the past. Although Clinton sounds more knowledgeable overall, it’s less of an advantage for her now, especially since Sanders can always bring back up the Iraq thing.

Even though much of the debate revolved around issues that Sanders has emphasized prominently throughout his campaign, I think Clinton was effectively able to rebut his arguments, and made her own stance sound more pragmatic and effective in contrast.

I think O’Malley’s chances improved the most because he was able to make pertinent points, and drew on his record as governor in a few key instances that bolstered his credibility. More importantly, though, he had nowhere to go but up. He probably gained a few percentage points in likelihood, but still sits far behind Clinton or Sanders.

Thanks again to our focus group for their help!

Bernie Sanders Wins Jan. 17 Democratic Debate

Bernie Sanders is the winner of the January 17 Democratic Debate, as he was deemed by our focus group as the candidate to have “best improved his or her chance of winning the Democratic nomination”.

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

Jan 17 Dem Debate Result 2

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!

Insights from Our Focus Group

Our focus group declared Ted Cruz the winner of the January 14 Republican Debate. We asked members of our focus group for insights into their decision making process. Here’s a selection of their responses:

Ted wiped the floor with Trump every chance he got. He did it graciously and humorously. He also clearly explained his positions.

Cruz did not shy away from addressing questions directed at him by opponents and was clearly looking to build on his momentum in the polls.

Trump was better and friendlier than in previous debates and his New York answer was probably the most memorable soundbite in this debate. Plus, no one really laid a glove on him.

Trump did well. He better articulated his positions. And scored a few points against Jeb and Rubio.

Rubio did well pretty much every time he opened his mouth.

Marco Rubio appeared much more poised and confident than any of the other candidates in his responses tonight.

Rubio came across as hyper and intense. It was a little too much.

I think Bush’s direct attacks on Trump will help give him support among the anyone but Trump coalition.

Christie appeared to be above the fray and spoke directly on issues.

Thanks again to our focus group for their help!

Ted Cruz Wins Jan. 14 Republican Debate

Ted Cruz is the winner of the January 14 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:

Ted Cruz wins Jan 14 Debate

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!

Debate Preview: Rubio vs Cruz – Round Two

GOP Presidential Debate In Simi Valley

By Noah Lieberman

With just a few hours until the final Republican debate in Iowa, so much is on the line for the candidates. Such high stakes are sure to breed a competitive and interesting debate, so here are the questions you should be asking to make sure it’s also a successful one for you on the Ballotcraft market.

Is it just a two-man race?

Our markets have started to echo the mainstream media’s perceptions of the Republican debates, separating two candidates, Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The two junior senators have risen in various polls over the past month, Cruz in Iowa and Rubio nationally, and much has been made of their oratorical slugfest in the last debate, which our traders gave to Cruz after predicting a Rubio victory for much of the night. Again Rubio heads into the debate with the advantage, up 38 percent to 27 at the time of writing, and his fight against Cruz to become the party’s main opposition to Donald Trump should again manifest itself into a fairly fun debate night. The two senators are fairly equally matched on foreign policy and the economy, each appealing to their own bases rather well, so the real question will be who excels in the other sections of the debate. The debate tonight is in South Carolina, potentially giving the more conservative Cruz the edge should social issues finally make an appearance at a Republican debate. This makes immigration the crucial issue for Rubio, which is exactly where he faltered in the last debate. So depending on which topic comes up first, be prepared to buy or sell these candidates accordingly.

The other question is whether other candidates will play into this at all. We’ll discuss which of the other candidates have the best shot at challenging the established order down below, but not many of them can really change the dynamic. That is except for Donald Trump, who has started to lash out at Senator Cruz as the poll numbers in Iowa start to tilt in the Texan’s favor. This could be a double-edged sword for Rubio, who will certainly enjoy having his opponent derided without getting his own hands dirty, but won’t like seeing Cruz get free facetime as he responds to Donald’s attacks.

Who is the dark horse?

Outside of the two frontrunners, no other candidate in the main stage debate sits below 4 percent or above 6.5 percent in our marketplace. This means that all of the other candidates are low-risk, high-reward gambles for anyone who thinks that they have a chance at winning it all. Trump remains the biggest gamble, as his message continues to resonate with his supporters but not with our focus groups. Perhaps this is the night that changes, but I wouldn’t bet on it (Similar arguments apply to Ben Carson). This leaves Bush, Christie, and Kasich, three governors all desperate for a big push in New Hampshire from the establishment of the party. They all are essentially hopeless candidates with current polling, but one good night could redeem their campaigns. Christie will give you the most memorable moments and has shown the willingness to engage other candidates throughout the night, so he’s probably your best bet, but Bush will likely get the most time out of the three simply due to name recognition. A portfolio with shares in two of these three candidates has the probability to pay off big should Rubio and Cruz falter.

BallotCraft Portfolio:

185 shares of Cruz

88 shares of Rubio

300 shares of Christie