• pshinnok

BAPB No. 6: Elections, universal basic income, college football predictions

Updated: Nov 10


Updated Nov. 10, 2022 to reveal my continuing failure to accurately predict meaningless things like college football and elections.


I guess there's an election coming?


Yes, yes, there is. It's the season of breathless (and largely uninformative) media coverage and endless texts asking for money, volunteers, and several things which, if we do not do, will bring about the end of the world.


And...I'm as bad as anyone about paying more attention to these rituals than they deserve. Earlier I predicted that Republicans would gain about 30 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, giving them a 50-vote advantage, compared to the Democrats' current 10-seat advantage. (Note I called this a 60-seat loss but then the ghost of my dad the math teacher reminded me that one seat change is a 2-vote swing, so 30 seats=60 votes. Zero-sum game, blah, blah, blah.) Then I predicted the Republicans would also gain control of the Senate, winning 4 additional seats for a 54-46 advantage.


With lots of votes still being counted, it looks like I missed the House by 15 or so and the Senate by 3-5. There will be analysis later, but Republicans clearly underperformed against any measure, just as Democrats did in 1994 and 2010. So lesson learned (temporarily, I guarantee it) that history can inform the present, but it doesn't always determine it.


While both of those seemed pretty extreme when I made them, they are looking a lot more realistic now. Real Clear Politics now has the Republicans picking up 4 in the Senate and 31 in the House, and FiveThirtyEight gives Republicans an 85 percent chance of controlling the House and 55 percent in the Senate. I still agree with these folks (and myself) that the House isn't in doubt and won't be close. If anything, it could be worse. There are somewhere between two and five Senate races still too close to call, according to Sabato's Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report.


The other day, Facebook reminded me of the predictions I made in 2010, the year of President Obama's first midterm. I think I didn't crunch any numbers but just went on feel and my understanding of history, some of which is accurate.




In the Oklahoma governor election, Republican Mary Fallin did beat Democrat Jari Askins, 60.45 to 39.55 percent. In the Senate I had Dems holding a four-seat lead and it ended up being just that. But I did significantly under-estimate the Democrats' losses. I had Republicans with a six-seat margin in the House and it turned out to be 49 seats. On those other people and places I mentioned, I don't even know or care who/where they are, which is a lesson on taking this stuff so seriously.


On a related note, Elaine Kamarck at Brookings has an interesting idea, which is to cancel election night. I get her point, that partial voting results can help feed conspiracy theories, but I also get that elections are obscenely profitable for the media (and for donations to places like Brookings) that nothing is going to happen anytime soon.


Universal basic income is working in the United States, just like it does everywhere else


This article in The Guardian gives a good overview of current programs in the U.S. and stories of how they work. Still a long ways to go before we can even have a serious discussion about this, but it's good to see groundwork.


College football predictions for week 10


Well, this wasn't my best week, either, which I hope means my best work is yet to come!? In the table below, correct is underlined and incorrect is italicized. Did manage to get Clemson's loss to Notre Dame and Oklahoma's to Kansas. Picked the winner correctly on 14 of 22 games (still worse than the oddsmakers did) but just 9 of 22 against the line, which is embarrassing as hell!


Last week's predictions were by far the worst I've made this year, but I'm sure I can do worse, so let's give it a try! Looks like a good weekend to bet on the underdog. And I expect Clemson to drop out of the undefeated against Notre Dame. Clemson wins over good teams have been really close and those streaks don't last forever.


The College Football Playoffs Top 25 was released for the first time this week, with Tennessee, Ohio State, Georgia, and Clemson as the top 4, putting them in line for the 4-team playoff. My top teams now are Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Alabama looks out of place but among the potential playoff teams, only Alabama and Ohio State have among the 50 toughest schedules and Alabama has done far better against those tough teams than anyone else who's played them. Regardless of how good I think Alabama is, they'll have to beat LSU this week and beat Georgia or Tennessee to even get considered. But it would not surprise me if they do!




Away

Home

Line

Winner

Bet on

#1 Tennessee

# 3 Georgia

Georgia by 8

Georgia

Tennessee

#2 Ohio State

Northwestern

Ohio St. by 38

Ohio St.

Northwestern

#4 Clemson

Notre Dame

Clemson by 3.5

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

#5 Michigan

Rutgers

Michigan by 26

Michigan

Rutgers

#6 Alabama

#10 LSU

Alabama by 13.5

Alabama

LSU

Texas Tech

#7 TCU

TCU by 9.5

TCU

Texas Tech

#8 Oregon

Colorado

Oregon by 31.5

Oregon

Colorado

#9 Southern Cal

California

USC by 21.5

USC

Cal

#12 UCLA

Arizona St.

UCLA by 10.5

UCLA

Ariz. St.

#24 Texas

#13 Kansas St.

Kansas St. by 2.5

Kansas St.

Kansas St.

Arizona

#14 Utah

Utah by 17.5

Utah

Arizona

#15 Penn State

Indiana

Penn St. by 14

Penn St.

Indiana

Michigan St.

#16 Illinois

Illinois by 16

Illinois

Michigan St.

#17 N. Carolina

Virginia

UNC by 7.5

UNC

Virginia

#18 Okla. St

Kansas

Okla. St. by 2

Okla. St.

Kansas

#19 Tulane

Tulsa

Tulane by 7.5

Tulane

Tulsa

#20 Syracuse

Pittsburgh

Pitt by 3.5

Syracuse

Syracuse

#21 Wake Forest

#22 NC State

Wake by 4.5

Wake Forest

NC State

#23 Oregon St. (!)

Washington

Washington by 3.5

Oregon St.

Oregon St.


Visitor

Home

Line

Winner

Bet on

#25 Central Fla.

Memphis

UCF by 3.5

UCF

Memphis

Baylor

Oklahoma

Okla by 3.5

Baylor

Baylor

West Virginia

Iowa State

Iowa St. by 7

Iowa St.

Iowa St.

Washington St.

Stanford

Wash. St. by 5

Stanford

Stanford







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