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US Senate Election 2020

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    US Senate Election 2020

    The US will also hold congressional elections this year. Members of the US House of Representatives are up for reelection every 2 years. Members of the US Senate are elected for a 6-year term. This year 35 senate seats are being contested, 23 of these are held by Republicans and 12 by Democrats.

    At present Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate. There are 2 independent senators who are caucusing with the Democrats (one of them is Bernie Sanders).

    Most of the senate seats aren't really competitive since they are safe Democrat or Republican seats. You can see this here:

    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...recast/senate/

    Here is a nice map to visualize it:

    https://www.270towin.com/2020-senate...enate-forecast

    Democrats are currently projected to win Arizona and Colorado while Republicans are likely to win back Alabama which Democrats won in a special election. There really only are a handful of seats that are truly competitive. These states include Iowa, North Carolina, Maine, and Montana.

    The most likely scenario is that Democrats will gain control of the Senate by a narrow margin of 1 or 2 or maybe even just the VP. While Trump's chances have nosedived in the last week, things aren't looking that bad for Republicans in the Senate. The Democratic candidate in North Carolina - Cal Cunningham - who ran a campaign based on his character has been caught up in a sex scandal and will now have to recalibrate his messaging. While he was overperforming Biden in the polls, he will likely end up underperforming him and the state will be very tight on election day.

    In Maine, Susan Collins (Republican) will get the opportunity to showcase her independence when she votes against the Republican Supreme Court nominee. She certainly has a lot of appeal to non-partisan voters and it is too early to write her off.

    In Montana, Democrats are running a strong challenge because they have enlisted a popular Democrat governor but this is a largely rural and conservative state so that I think that Steve Daines (the current senator) may sit this through.

    Betfair Exchange offers a market on this election which you can find here:

    https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plu...et/1.170351353

    There are 3 options:

    - Republican Majority
    - No Majority
    - Democratic Majority

    Technically it is not possible for there to be no majority since the Vice President would cast the deciding vote. But a majority is defined as 51 seats according to the rules. HOWEVER, the rules also state that Independents caucusing with either party will not count for the purposes of this market. :-)

    I think some people that are betting on this market haven't read the rules. Basically, the 2 independents that caucus with the Democrats don't count for the purposes of this market, nor will the independent that is running as a Democrat in Alaska. So for there to be a Democratic Majority, the Senate would have to switch from 53 - 47 in reverse (and even that may not suffice if Al Gross wins in Alaska). This just isn't very likely to happen even if it looks like Biden will comfortably win the presidential election right now.

    Currently, Democratic Majority is trading at 2.3, No Majority is at 3.4, while Republican Majority is at 3.7.

    The odds on a Republican Majority look right to me but No Majority should be trading much lower while Democratic Majority should be far above 3.

    Any odds above 2.5 on No Majority are a real gift! I think No Majority is by far the likeliest of the 3 options on this market.
    Last edited by WiserthantheCrowd; 12-12-20, 01:56.

    #2
    Democrats were only able to net 1 seat so it looks like we will end up with 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats with the 2 senate seats in Georgia headed for a runoff.

    This is tricky. The runoff will be on January 5 and usually, Republicans overperform in such runoffs but that may not be the case this year. I will write more about this latter.

    For now, this bet remains open.

    Comment


      #3
      I've been researching this market and I've come to the opinion that Democrats are going into the runoffs in a much better position than the odds here would seem to suggest.

      I think it is quite likely that one party will win both seats. The reason for that is that most voters that show up for the runoffs are base voters or partisans. It's rather difficult to conceive of a voter that will choose one of the Democrats and one of the Republicans at the same time. In any case, the two Democrats and Republicans are running as a tandem and quite frankly I think the Democrats have a stronger set of candidates. The Republican (Kelly Loeffler) running for the special election seat is a carpetbagger whose husband is the Chairman of the company that owns the NYSE. Basically, the governor (Brian Kemp) appointed her because he's hoping for favors from her hubby down the line. There's no other reasonable explanation of why she was chosen. The other Republican senator running in the regular election is David Perdue who comes from a well-known political clan in Georgia. The two candidates are very similar and both have distinguished themselves by trading in on their political briefings. David Purdue is the most prolific trader in the US senate. He recently skipped a debate with his opponent Ossoff who savaged him in the last debate. Loeffler showed up to debate her opponent, a pastor by the name of Warnock but didn't do well. She made a robot look human. Perdue and Loeffler are not a strong bunch of candidates and they're not running strong campaigns either. Essentially the main thrust of their campaign is to paint Warnock, who is the pastor of the church where Martin Luther King served, as a firebrand radical and some of the ads have used racist overtures. This will surely increase turnout among black voters.

      Looming over the election is Trump who is still griping about his electoral loss. Georgia, of course, is at the heart of all of this because there is no way that Trump would have lost Georgia if he had won the election. (In fact, Trump became the first Republican since 1992 to lose Georgia.) And Trump has tried to get the governor and the legislature in Georgia involved in essentially invalidating the results. Basically, he's trying to steal the election in the name of "election integrity" but the (Republican) governor and secretary of state didn't play along and have drawn his ire as well as that of MAGA world. Prominent MAGA figures such as his lawyers Lin Wood and Sidney Powell have come out and said that the last elections were rigged because of Dominion voting machines and stuffed ballots and there is no point participating in the process before it is fixed. According to the exit polls in Georgia, more than 75% of Republicans trusted the outcome of the election but that has now gone down to 25% in recent opinion polls. In any case, the rules governing the election won't change (it's not possible to do so at this late hour) and this will inevitably suppress turnout among Trump followers. Trump also won't stop whining about his loss. The electoral college will vote on December 14 but Congress will meet to ratify the results on January 6 (1 day after the runoff) and Trump is not going to drop the issue of voter fraud. In any case, Trump only cares about Trump and he's not interested in anything else. I don't think he's worried about the senate. In fact, it would suit him if Perdue and Loeffler lost because it would reinforce the narrative that the election was fraudulent and that he was a strong candidate. If Perdue and Loeffler would perform better than he did, he'd look weak.

      Now it's true that Democrats haven't performed well in runoff elections in Georgia in the past but this year is different. First of all, the election is 2 months later than the regular election which makes it another election rather than a continuation of the last election. To date, all runoffs took place within 3 weeks of the regular election. And you can be sure that Trump isn't going to leave office quietly. He's going to be pardoning everybody he's ever met, the economic data isn't looking good, coronavirus numbers are going up as a result of people traveling during Thanksgiving and there still isn't a stimulus package in place - while Wall Street is reaching record heights and the likes of Perdue and Loeffler are getting richer, it's not looking rosy on Main Street. So the overall political outlook is rather bleak for Republicans. Secondly, there is early voting and mail-in voting which makes it so much easier for people to vote. Traditionally Republican voters skew older and turned out more reliably on election day when runoffs were held in the past but this year Democrats are at an advantage because Trump has vilified the process and particularly absentee ballots - MAGA world largely believes the election was rigged so what's the point of participating in the same faulty process again? Thirdly, Democrats have a reservoir of votes because there was a lot of undervoting in the last election (people who only voted for president but not for senators). And so far 70.000 voters that didn't vote in the presidential election signed up for the runoffs. It is safe to assume that they're mostly Democrats that thought their vote would not make a difference. Democrats are fired up for the runoffs but Republicans are firing at themselves.

      According to the betting odds, a victory for the 2 Democrats which corresponds to No Majority on Betfair is trading at 3 but I think it's looking good for Democrats and I would peg the realistic odds considerably lower.









      Comment


        #4
        The polls are indicated a tight race in which the 2 Democrats are ahead:

        https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...-senate-polls/

        One of the best Republican pollsters - Rich Baris / Big Data polls - confirmed this yesterday:

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...#gid=879585337

        Big Data polls clearly identified voter fatigue, frustration, and demotivation on the Republican side.

        That doesn't surprise me at all.

        Now that the Supreme Court wouldn't even hear the spurious lawsuit with which Trump tried to overturn the election results, will he shut up and go quietly? I don't think so. Technically, of course, he can still hope to overturn the result in Congress when they meet on January 6 to ratify the results of the election. Since Republicans don't have a majority in Congress and not all Republicans have signed on to this lunacy, Trump doesn't stand a shred of a chance, of course, but he'll just keep on whinging and whining anyway and will never ever accept that he is a presidential loser:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xms8iV8ae-c

        (This is from 5 years ago but still holds true today.)

        And, if and when, Trump shows up for another rally in Georgia before election day for the runoffs on January 5, you can be sure that he will spend most of the time complaining about how he got cheated out of the presidency. That will work wonders for Republican turnout even if he sends a mixed message and asks people in the same vein to show up for Loeffler and Perdue (the 2 Republican senators).

        The 2 Republican senators have now hitched their wagon to Trump and supported his spurious lawsuit which attempted to disenfranchise the voters of their own state by overturning the election results and handing it to the legislature. Will that cost them at the polls? I think the Republican vote will be suppressed and am counting on some followers of Trump not to show up on election day because they believe the process to be rigged and therefore meaningless while some other constitutionalist Republicans may be alarmed and disgusted by their senators turning on the Secretary of State of their own party and seeking to usurp power through the courts in a judicial coup.

        Democrats, on the other hand, will be motivated to turn out and hand Biden a very narrow majority with which he can govern. If the Senate splits 50/50, the Vice President casts the deciding vote. Notwithstanding the socialist hallucinations in Republican attack ads, Biden won't govern as a radical, and centrists such as Joe Manchin (who is closer to the Republican party than his own colleagues on many issues) will hold the balance of power.

        I really like Democrats to win the 2 runoffs at odds of 3 or higher. They have much better prospects than the odds would seem to suggest. You can find this market here:

        https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plu...et/1.170351353

        But beware that because of the specific rules on Betfair - "No Majority" would win the bet if the 2 Democrats win Georgia. The reason for that is that according to the rules, the 2 independent senators that caucus with Democrats don't count as Democrats for the purpose of this bet on Betfair although other bookies treat this differently. So you've got to read the rules before making this bet. If your bookie doesn't list the rules then ask for them before betting. So far, I've only found the above interpretation on Betfair while PredictIt and other places seem to follow a more intuitive interpretation where you're only offered two binary choices - Democratic or Republican control of the Senate.

        I think Richard Baris ("the people's pundit" on Twitter) got this totally right. If the election were held tomorrow, Democrats would win. Now, of course, the mood could change in the next few weeks but what won't change is Trump's whinging and whining. It's all part of controlling the narrative and constructing a parallel reality in MAGA universe in which Trump is the eternal hero confronting dark hidden forces in this case involving Dominion voting machines, the deep state, corrupt Democrats, weak RINO (Republican In Name Only) officials such as the governor and secretary of state in Georgia, China, Venezuela, and so on, who all conspired to cheat him out of the presidency with millions of illegal votes. :-) And Georgia, of course, was at the very center of this huge presidential fraud because there is no way that Trump would have won the presidency while losing Georgia. Trump is going to be playing this tune all the way up to January 20 (and beyond) when Biden will be sworn in and he (Trump) will probably be holding his own rally elsewhere (something which would be unprecedented to date but then again is totally in line with Trump breaking of all norms and conventions).

        So if anyone betting on Republicans to win Georga thinks Trump will eventually change his tune for the sake of winning the runoff elections in Georgia, think again. :-) That's just not how Trump thinks and operates. He's only concerned about himself and his legacy, it suits his narrative for Republicans to lose the upcoming runoffs so that he can keep on blaming the rigged system and I think enough hardcore Trumpkins will buy into the notion that it makes no sense to partake in a rigged and fraudulent process to swing the 2 senate elections on January 5 in Georgia to Democrats thus giving Biden a legislative majority (even if is by the slightest of margins) such as Obama and Bill Clinton also attained when they were elected for president.
        Last edited by WiserthantheCrowd; 12-12-20, 13:01.

        Comment


          #5
          Good post!

          What concerns me is that nationally, around 20~30% of votes who voted Biden said they were just voting against Trump. David Predue specifically out performed Trump, meaning that there were significant number of Georgian voters who voted for Biden but also voted for Predue down the ballot.

          Georgia is still a red state, the governor race in 2018 proved that despite record turnout (70%). Biden won Georgia not because Georgia is shifting left, many Republican or Independent voters just stayed away from Trump.

          Republicans just need their base to turn out. On the other hand, it is the Democrats who have to reach out to more of the population and cannot just rely on the metropolitan areas.

          What Trump does in the weeks leading up to Jan 6 will also be influential. Kelly Loeffler basically ran her champagne as a Trump loyalist, proudly touting her perfect voting record with Trump. If Trump continues to disenfranchise the institution, that's not going to help her.



          Comment


            #6
            Thanks, Gwen!

            Georgia doesn't publish the party affiliation of voters but they release other data from which you can glean how things are going such as votes per county, age, gender, ethnicity, etc. And right now things are going badly for Republicans. Turnout is high and more than 2.000.000 people have voted so far. The black vote is up by more than 3% compared to (the same point in) November. Another interesting fact is that white voters with a college degree are turning out but white rural voters without a college degree (Trump's base) aren't showing up to the same extent. As of now, Democrats are performing 3-4% better than they were in November and that would be enough for them to win both races by 1-2%.

            Whenever there have been senate elections in which both seats were contested, the results have tended to correlate. The last time they diverged and both parties each won one of the two seats in play was back in 1962. In this year's polarized political environment with the 2 candidates running as a joint ticket, I am expecting both Democrats to poll within 1% of one another (the same conversely, of course, applies to the two Republicans who also complement one another but with a more narrow appeal than the 2 Democrats). None of the candidates has any crossover appeal so it would be really strange for the results to diverge significantly.

            The 2 Republican candidates are in a real bind. Trump is angry because no Republican senator so far has agreed to challenge the confirmation of the results of the electoral college on January 6. He has been running radio ads contesting the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia and has been pushing his supporters to petition the governor and legislature to overturn the results. Meanwhile, influential figures in MAGA and QAnon circles, such as his lawyers Lin Wood (who is based in Georgia) and Sidney Powell, have been actively discouraging people from voting in the runoff election in which the same rules will apply and the same technology will be employed as in the "stolen" presidential election. Lin Wood has actually suggested that there is an algorithm in the Dominion voting machines that allocates Republican votes to Democrats and, if enough Republican voters stay away, could result in a negative vote for Republicans thus making it easier to prove that the presidential election was also rigged. :-))))))))

            Trump isn't exactly saying that and while he will be attending a rally for the 2 Republican candidates on January 4 in which he will exhort people to vote for them, he is also continuously asserting that the election was stolen from him, particularly in Georgia, and that the system is broken. This mixed messaging will inevitably depress turnout among his supporters, and we see that reflected in the early voting data.

            Trump has also turned against the COVID economic relief bill that his Secretary of the Treasury negotiated with Congress (and that Senator David Purdue has been touting as a great accomplishment) because it only includes 600 dollar stimulus checks. Now that Trump realizes that his time is up and the game is almost over, he's playing the populist card (with a view toward his legacy as an "outsider" fighting the "swamp" in Washington) and asking for more money (2.000 dollar checks). This has resulted in more mixed messaging and set up a conflict between himself and the Republican Congress that clearly does not benefit the 2 Republican senators on the eve of the election on January 5. As I wrote before, Trump is not really concerned about winning the Senate elections in Georgia. If he's going to have to leave office because Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate refused to come to his aid, they should also feel the pain. If he's going to have to go, they might as well crash and burn.

            So to summarize, Republicans are currently behind in the early voting relative to where they were in November and the outlook really isn't bright. I'd now make the 2 Democrats favorites to win their respective races and since the results of the two races will likely correlate to also win a majority in Congress. Fortunately, betting markets haven't caught on to this yet and I've been buying as many shares as I can for them to win both runoff elections at current prices.

            You can bet on this here:

            https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plu...et/1.170351353

            Due to the wording of the bet on Betfair in which the 2 independent senators who caucus with the Democrats don't count as Democrats, this would be "No Majority."

            Alternatively, you can also bet on Republicans to end up with 50 seats here:

            https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plu...et/1.170918120

            Or you can bet on Democrats to finish at 48 seats here:

            https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plu...et/1.170918115

            (Elsewhere it would be 50 seats but because of the Betfair rules the 2 independent senators don't count toward this particular bet.)

            There also are other companies offering this bet but you need to read the rules before placing the bet.

            If you have any questions, I'd be glad to answer. Right now things are looking very good for Democrats (and the pundits betting on them). The odds are great since betting markets are still behind the curve!
            Last edited by WiserthantheCrowd; 28-12-20, 20:19.

            Comment


              #7
              Odds dropping for the Dems

              Good video from Let's Talk Elections as always
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwT9kyWdoPQ

              Last edited by gwen; 03-01-21, 06:54.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by gwen View Post
                Odds dropping for the Dems

                Good video from Let's Talk Elections as always
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwT9kyWdoPQ

                Well yes. That's what to be expected.

                I've read estimates by Republican analysts who think that they're behind by 125-150.000 votes in the early voting and that they can close the gap on election day. But I've read other analyses that show him further behind. Based on the available data, I believe that they're behind by at least 250.000 votes so far. Nate Cohn from the NYT has done a fine-grained analysis. It turns out that 73% of early voters have previously participated in the primaries and if you take account of that party ID, you come up with an electorate that skews Democrat by approximately 12% so far (thus significantly overperforming relative to where they were in the presidential election). Since more than 3.000.000 people have already voted that would mean that Democrats have built up a lead of more than 350.000 votes going into election day. In the presidential election just under 1.000.000 people voted on election day and I'm not expecting that number to be significantly higher this time.

                The data also shows that marginally more Republicans that voted on election day have voted so far so it's really not a case of Democrats having cannibalized their election day vote. Thus it's really looking very good for Democrats. By this estimate, Republicans would need a turnout of almost 1.500.000 million on election day to overcome the Democrat lead if voters on election day split similarly to the presidential election (62% Republican vs. 38% Democrat). I really don't think that we'll see much more than 1.000.000 voters on election day or that more than 60-62% of them will be Republican.

                Republicans need a real turnaround and a tremendous turnout. They hope that Trump's rally in Dalton on the eve of the election on Monday night will be a game-changer. The two Republican senators have also tried to assuage their base by gathering more than 8.000 election observers which will presumably ensure that Democrats won't be able to cheat in the runoff (even if the same voting machines will be used). But Trump, Giuliani, and others are still going on and on about how the presidential election was "stolen" from them. Just a few days ago Trump tweeted that the presidential election in Georgia was "illegal" and should be nullified. I can't see him changing that message at the upcoming rally. Moreover, Trump has attacked the (Republican) Senate for not passing his proposed 2.000 dollars per person stimulus which I think will further suppress enthusiasm among Republican voters.

                What is really interesting is that the exit polls for the presidential election indicated that more than 80% of Republican voters (but a far lower share of Democrats) at the time thought that the (presidential) election would be free and fair but now polls show that upwards of 80% of Republicans think that the election was rigged. I still think that this will fundamentally suppress Republican turnout. I have never seen anything like that. Even if Republicans try to get out the message that this election won't be stolen from them again because of the many election observers, I don't think that they will be able to catch up anymore - the damage has been done and Trump won't change his tune in the upcoming rally. So right now I'd say that Democrats are on track to win the runoff elections in Georgia by 2-3% respectively. And as I mentioned previously, I'd be surprised if the 2 candidates don't end up within a 1% range of each other since we should not expect much crossover voting.
                Last edited by WiserthantheCrowd; 04-01-21, 06:34.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Since I wrote my last post, a tape has surfaced in which Trump tries to pressure the Republican Secretary of State "to find votes" to overturn the results of the presidential election. You can listen to an abridged version here:

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTzWEkbTs7w

                  I've listened to the entire version. It shows that Trump has created his own reality and actually believes some of the gossip, hearsay, and rumors spread on social media by his supporters which he takes to be as factual evidence. This tape is not the game-changer the Republican candidates need - it clearly shows that Trump is still intending to use the upcoming rally as a platform to deride his own party in Georgia and to keep on complaining about a stolen election. He himself acknowledges that this talk will likely suppress Republican turnout in the upcoming election but that's not what he's primarily concerned about - he's still fighting the last election (in vain) and it's all about creating and controlling the narrative.
                  Last edited by WiserthantheCrowd; 04-01-21, 07:00.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Survey USA was one of the most accurate pollsters in the 2020 General Election in Georgia for both the POTUS and Senate elections. They released a poll on Dec 22 (the only "A" rated pollster who are still doing polling in Georgia":
                    http://www.surveyusa.com/client/Poll...4-dbdb743cae4e

                    This is the breakdown of voters who intend to vote on Election day (similar results for Predue vs Ossoff)
                    Leoffler 54%
                    Warnock 41%
                    Undecided 5%

                    That means if there is a 1 million voter turn out on Election day and assuming all undecided voters goes to Leoffler, she would gain 180,000 votes

                    The numbers that really stood out were (Questions 2 and 3):
                    • Of the 5% who said they will not be voting, there were twice as many Republicans than Democrats
                    • 42% of those Republicans won't be voting was because they think the election is rigged, so that probably made up the difference above
                    Last edited by gwen; 05-01-21, 00:23.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      And another winner. As predicted the Democrats win the runoffs and both Democrats end up polling within 1% of each other. :-)

                      Comment


                        #12
                        good job

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Thanks Gwen!

                          I think in hindsight one can clearly say that the division among Republicans and Trump's talk spoilt the chances for the 2 senators.

                          There was another Republican on the ballot namely the state public service commissioner who also just failed to reach the 50% threshold in the first election - he was reelected.

                          The only difference between the public service commissioner and the 2 senators was Trump. Trump's attack on his own party backfired and clearly suppressed turnout among some of his supporters. At the same time, it turned some voters off the 2 senators who awkwardly tried to navigate this situation by half-heartedly endorsing Trump. (Loeffler announced at her rally on Monday that she would support Trump and object to electors from the electoral college but today she was one of 7 senators who change their minds.)

                          Apparently, Trump was telling people today "that he was happy Loeffler and Perdue lost" because "they didn't defend him enough". Trump never gave a rat's behind about the senate races, it was all just about himself and the narrative of a stolen election...

                          As a sequel to this bet there is a market on Betfair as to whether Trump will leave office before the end of his term:

                          https://www.betfair.com/exchange/plu...et/1.129133401

                          This market is currently trading at odds between 7 - 8 which implies a probability of approx. 15%. I have taken my winnings from this market and laid that proposition. There is talk of another impeachment, or of Pence invoking the 25th amendment to assume the presidency. Those are completely fanciful scenarios that will never happen. There is no time or will for another impeachment and Pence won't engage in such a legally dubious maneuver that would divide the Republican party and encourage Trump to start a third party. Realistically I think this proposition should be trading far beyond 1000/1. This is practically free money which will pay 15% in 2 weeks.













                          Comment


                            #14
                            Unformulated Betfair is no longer available in Canada

                            The only futures market offered by Pinnacle now is "Will consensus be that earth is flat by 1/1/2025?"

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