. . . Friday November 5, 2004

Let’s Hear it for the Crowd

Bill Bennett wasn’t the only bettor celebrating on Tuesday.

So which election models, bets, predictions and gimmicks turned to be right and which turned out to be wrong?

- The Guamanian’s have it. In just about every presidential election (Carter/Reagan the exception) the Guam straw poll has accurately predicted the outcome of the election. And so it was this year.

- Those who complain that parity and unpredictability have forever changed (and/or ruined) the NFL have a new arrow in their arsenal. Anytime the Redskins win a home game before a presidential election, the incumbent wins. If the Skins lose, the incumbent loses. It’s like clockwork. This year, the Skins lost and so did the challenger. There are two morals of this story. First, you should never bet on football. Second, the Skins really suck.

- The pollsters had somewhat mixed results. Zogby went out on a limb and voters happened to have a chainsaw. Pew and the Tarrence were dead-on. Newsweek was decent, but over-estimated the spread. While the exit polls were way off, give the regular pollsters some credit. All major pollsters were within the margin of error.

- Jacqueline Stallone (Sly’s mom) and her psychic dogs got it right. India’s astrologers got it wrong.

- What about the kids? Scholastic’s kids got it right. Nickelodeon’s got it wrong. Too much TV?

- According to the way the Dow was trending during October, Bush should’ve lost. I haven’t heard of a stock prediction being this far off since Bud Fox was in his prime.

- My own outlandish prediction was miles off. That explains why I just sent off a check for 100 bucks to another blogger who saw things differently.

- The big winners were those who believe in the wisdom of the crowds (recently made famous by James Surowiecki). Those who put their money where their bets almost always average out at the right spread for a game or winner in an election. And so it was this time. At Tradesports.com, bettors accurately predicted the overall winner and the electoral winner in every state. Turns out the smart money can’t be spun.

Concentration is important!