From Oddsmakers To AI, The Democratic Race Is Still Anyone's Guess

I’ve been covering political media and marketing -- of and on -- for about 40 years and there was a time when I considered myself relatively expert. Not anymore. The spin cycles have grown too compressed and the volatility of voter sentiment too erratic for me to even guess at the near- and long-term outcomes. Add data, technology and a variety of actors -- both transparent and not-so-transparent -- and I can honestly say the outcomes for 2020 are anyone’s guess.

In recent months, I’ve started receiving a variety of predictive analyses offering various handicaps -- everything from Las Vegas oddsmakers to AI technologists -- and I would say they’re interesting to follow, but, if you ask me, they’re no more reliable an indicator than the latest polls.



Here’s one I just received from an outfit called Advanced Symbolics Inc. predicting outcomes for the redistribution of Democratic votes for scenarios in which either/or both Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer drop out of the race.

 It predicts the net winner is Mike Bloomberg, followed by Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden.

I predict it’s wrong, and not just because the last AI-powered prediction I got from Advanced Symbolics on the eve of the Nevada Caucus predicted that, after Sanders, the ranking of the caucus would be (in this order) Buttigieg, Warren, Klobuchar, Biden and Steyer (see table at the bottom.

I predict it’s wrong, because we’re still too early in this process for any clear-cut patterns to emerge other than what the press and the pundits spin and what the pollsters track. As Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada have proven so far, it’s still anyone’s race.

Let’s talk after Super Tuesday.

Meanwhile, if you're a betting man or woman, here are the odds for various presidential race scenarios, according to the head oddsmaker at Bovada.

South Carolina Democratic Primary Winner

  • Joe Biden 20/33
  • Bernie Sanders 5/4
  • Amy Klobuchar 100/1
  • Elizabeth Warren 100/1
  • Pete Buttigieg 100/1
  • Tom Steyer 100/1

US Presidential Election 2020 - Democratic Candidate

  • Bernie Sanders 2/3
  • Michael Bloomberg 4/1
  • Joe Biden 9/1
  • Pete Buttigieg 19/2
  • Hillary Clinton 25/1
  • Elizabeth Warren 60/1
  • Amy Klobuchar 100/1
  • Michelle Obama 100/1
  • Tom Steyer 250/1
  • Tulsi Gabbard 250/1

Which Democratic Candidate For President Will Drop Out Next?

  • Tulsi Gabbard 43/20
  • Amy Klobuchar 47/20
  • Tom Steyer 13/5
  • Elizabeth Warren 9/1
  • Joe Biden 10/1
  • Pete Buttigieg 16/1
  • Michael Bloomberg 20/1
  • Bernie Sanders 100/1

2020 US Presidential Election Winner

  • Donald Trump 4/7
  • Bernie Sanders 11/4
  • Michael Bloomberg 17/2
  • Joe Biden 20/1
  • Pete Buttigieg 25/1
  • Hillary Clinton 80/1
  • Elizabeth Warren 125/1
  • Mike Pence 125/1
  • Amy Klobuchar 250/1
  • Michelle Obama 250/1
  • Nikki Haley 300/1
  • Deval Patrick 500/1
  • John Kasich 500/1
  • Tom Steyer 500/1
  • Tulsi Gabbard 500/1
  • William (Bill) Weld 500/1

AI-Predicted Outcome Of The Nevada Caucus

Source: Advanced Symbolics Inc.

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