Augur Weekly - How Fox & Tom Steyer Made a Lucky Few 4900% Returns

A Look at the Week in Political Betting, Augur News, and More


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Election Betting Roundup

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Massive swings to the upside (or downside) such as the one in the Steyer | Debate | Qualification market evoke a wide range of emotions. Bystanders experience a wave of excitement, there’s major euphoria for the non-consensus and right, and startling disappointment for those who were ‘playing it safe’.

Prediction market prices plotted on a chart can tell compelling tales of volatile shifts in sentiment as a result of information becoming more complete. In the above Steyer-Debate chart, one can see the various phases of this story. After falling to as low as 2c/share in the afternoon, the market began to adapt to changes in information. The initial stir began picking up steam at ~3:30pm, presumably influenced by insiders privy to the results of a Fox poll that would have surprising implications for Tom Steyer’s eligibility in the January Democratic debate.

The next wave and biggest candle forms at 4pm; as the poll is made public, the price for yes/qualification scaled from 10c/share to 80c/share in a matter of minutes. A frenzy of activity occurs between 4pm-5pm, and amidst the surprise and confusion the price is briefly bid down to nearly 40c/share before rallying all the way to a virtual certainty at 99c/share shortly after 5pm. That’s it, folks. Less than two hours of madness left many shocked, those that capitalized on the 4900% rise ecstatic, and those that were on the other side bewildered.

More examples of huge swings in recent political betting history:

Brexit, 2016
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Clinton/Trump, 2016
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Trump Impeachment, 2019
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A lot has changed since we last checked in on the DemNom market. Elizabeth Warren completed her plunge from pole sentiment position in the Fall to well behind the two current frontrunners, Sanders and Biden. Buttigieg, likewise, saw a reversal in the momentum he was establishing.

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The market is currently giving one of Biden or Sanders a 71% probability of winning the race. It remains to be seen whether these two will continue their separation from the field, if Mayor Pete or Warren have one last push, or if a long-shot can begin a swing like Steyer and the debate qualification market.


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