Blog Posts by David Rothschild, Yahoo! News

  • Romney hoping to regain footing in markets

    Update, 10:14 p.m. ET: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum slugged it out tonight in Arizona, but the importance was all about Michigan. Santorum, as the frontrunner in the polls, was on the defensive for most of the night. Romney, as the actual frontrunner, was playing it safe. The strategy paid off for Romney. During the course of the debate, his likelihood of carrying Michigan rose from 66.2 percent, 15 minutes before the debate, to 73.6 percent, at the close of the debate. And, in correlation, Romney's likelihood of gaining the GOP nomination is up over 3 points on the day to 75.7 percent.

    Likelihood of Winning Michigan Primary During Arizona Debate1

    Sources: Betfair and Intrade

    Since we last convened for a good old Republican debate, Mitt Romney was convalescing from his loss in South Carolina and Newt Gingrich was quickly squandering his momentum. A month later, Romney's onetime death grip on the nomination has slackened, and he now faces a non-negligible threat to the nomination.

    The chart shows the progress of the likelihood of gaining the

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  • Election hinges on New Hampshire, where Obama has 59.4 percent chance of victory: The Signal Forecast

    As though New Hampshire wasn't already overprivileged enough in the broken primary system, the state may be the one to tip the scales in the general election to either party. According to The Signal's elections model, which orders the states from most to least likely to go to the Republican candidate, a GOP win in New Hampshire gives the challenger 270 votes to Obama's 268. If the president wins, he carries the election with 272 votes to his opponent's 266.

    Our model, which I developed with Yahoo Labs economist Patrick Hummel by analyzing data from the past 10 elections, gives Obama a 59.4 percent likelihood of winning in the Granite State. This number is slightly higher than our prediction in our first post about our equations last week because the Real Clear Politics average of presidential approval polls has increased from 48 to 49 percent. The most likely outcome is still that Obama will win by 303 votes, carrying Ohio and Virginia as well as New Hampshire. As we noted before,

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  • Polls now favor Santorum, the ninth flip of the nomination

    Rick Santorum has slipped ahead of the Mitt Romney in the polls, marking an ignominious milestone in the Republican nomination: Since last summer, when Romney was at the top of the early polls, the lead has switched nine times. In order, it's gone to Rick Perry, Romney, Herman Cain, Romney, Gingrich, Romney, Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum, who now leads the Real Clear Politics' aggregated trend with 30.2 percent to Romney's 28.6 percent. Notice a pattern?

    The Signal continues to predict that Romney will win the nomination. According to the prediction markets, he has a 72.8 percent likelihood to win the nomination, followed by Santorum at a non-negligible 17.8 percent. That's a far more vulnerable position for the former Massachusetts governor than he found himself in a few weeks ago, but it's still an uphill battle for Santorum. On the following chart, the vertical line represents when the first polls closed on Tuesday, February 7, when Santorum won three primary states (two for

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  • Markets still lukewarm on Santorum after candidate’s three-state sweep

    Rick Santorum pulled off a huge upset yesterday in Colorado. Just before the returns were announced, our model had Mitt Romney as high as 96 percent likely to win the contest, giving Santorum just 4 percent for his upset. As there was just a 1 in 25 chance and Santorum pulled off our first Election Day surprise, expect something like that to happen about in about 1 in 25 races. These numbers are derived with prediction market data.

    Santorum also converted his expected victory in Minnesota and the "beauty contest" primary in Missouri, with no delegates. Romney slipped all the way to third in Minnesota, where he won in 2008.

    But the markets are far from convinced that Santorum can sustain his good fortunes. His odds of winning the nomination rose slightly, to a non-negligible 11.3 percent likelihood to Romney's 79.5, followed by Newt Gingrich at 3.1 percent likelihood, and Ron Paul at 2.8 percent likelihood.

    The real damage to Romney is not that he is at serious risk of losing the

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  • Santorum surging in Minnesota, but Romney’s biggest worry is now Obama

    Update, 9:07 p.m. ET: This post has been updated with the most recently prediction data for the likelihood that the candidates will win, place, or show in Minnesota. Preliminary results show Rick Santorum off to a strong start with Ron Paul also doing well, but Mitt Romney still clinging to a likely second place finish:
    Win,Place,Show FL_Update1
    Sources: Betfair and Intrade, Real-Time Data

    There are three primary contests tonight and, for the first time since Iowa, one of them is looking close. First, in the not-interesting department, is the Colorado caucuses; Mitt Romney won there by 41 percentage points in 2008 and he is poised for an easy victory in 2012. Rick Santorum is 95 percent likely to come in second and Newt Gingrich is 90 percent likely to come in third. In the even less-interesting department, Missouri is holding a "beauty contest" primary in which no delegates will be allotted to the winner.

    In Minnesota, however, we could see a reversal of fortunes for Romney. He won the caucuses in 2008 by 18

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  • The Twitter users who drove the furor over Komen and Planned Parenthood

    Last Tuesday, the Susan G. Komen Foundation announced it would no longer fund clinical breast exams and mammograms through Planned Parenthood. The $680,000 per year that was going to Planned Parenthood helped provide exams for 170,000 mainly low-income and minority women. The organization claimed that they were tightening their rules for grant recipients and denying grants to any organization under investigation. (A pro-life Congressman from Florida is leading a Congressional inquiry into whether Planned Parenthood uses public money to fund abortions--an initiative many see as politically motivated.)

    On Friday, February 3 the organization abruptly reversed its decision amid a firestorm of criticism on Twitter, Facebook, and many blogs.There is little doubt that social and media pressure forced Komen to reverse its plan. The Figure shows the representative Twitter hashtags associated with Komen during the controversy, from January 31-February 3.

    Representative Twitter Hashtags for Komen During Planned Parenthood Controversy

    Sorting through over 100,000 tweets that

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  • Mormon vote boosts Romney’s comfortable odds in Nevada

    Mitt Romney coasted to victory in the Nevada caucuses in 2008 with over 50 percent of the vote, more than his six opponents combined. He's poised to make it two straight on Saturday. Newt Gingrich is heavily favored to take second place with about 80 percent likelihood to Ron Paul's 20 percent chance, according to the prediction markets.

    The first thing that most people associate with Nevada is Vegas. About 70 percent of the population lives in Clark County, home to Las Vegas and the surrounding metro area. In 2008, Barack Obama won the county by nearly 20 percentage points. But Nevada's primary contest is closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote. In 2008, about 50 percent of the Republican caucus goers were from outside of Clark County. And, most importantly for Romney, roughly 1 in 5 were Mormons, who voted 9 in 10 for Romney.

    Mormons are 74 percent Republican and they have proven extremely loyal in voting for Romney, who is a leader in the Church. Thus, even relatively

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  • Florida preview: Romney is going to win

    Mitt Romney holds a commanding lead in Florida's primary, with a 98.6 percent likelihood of victory, according to the political prediction markets. Newt Gingrich is 99.9 percent likely to place (i.e., first or second place--almost certainly the latter). Rick Santorum is 85 percent likely to take the bronze from Ron Paul, who holds the remaining 15 percent for third.

    It was not all smooth for Romney following Gingrich's domination in South Carolina. There was brief window of time when Gingrich was slightly more likely than Romney to win Florida. This window corresponds to when several polls showed Gingrich with a commanding lead in Florida for about 2 days, but our skepticism in Gingrich holding onto his lead was justified when the same polls quickly reversed themselves.

    Likelihoodsof Winning Florida Primary_Jan31

    Gingrich is still leading the Republican national polls; RealClearPolitics' aggregated poll trend has him leading by 2.5 percentage points over Romney. Romney has just 27.8 percentage points compared to Gingrich's 30.3

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  • Gingrich faltering as markets reconsider Romney (again)

    Just after the South Carolina primary, where Newt Gingrich won a dominating victory, the former speaker inched up to an almost 30 percent likelihood of winning the nomination, according to prediction market data. At the time, it was a major foray in Romney territory; the markets had given the former Massachusetts governor as high as a 90 percent chance of snagging the nomination in mid-January. Now it appears that Gingrich's surge is dying. As of Thursday afternoon, he was back down to a 10.9 percent chance in the markets heading into the Florida primaries this Tuesday.

    Gingrich's plummeting odds correlate with a drop in the polls in Florida. Shortly after South Carolina, several polls gave him a meaningful lead of 9 points, 8 points, and 5 points. (And of course, like South Carolina, Florida borders Gingrich's former home state of Georgia.) But more recent polls look increasingly promising for Romney, showing leads of 2 points, 8 points, and 8 points. The two large leads come from the same organizations that gave Gingrich 8 and 9 point leads just a few days prior. The markets also now favor a Romney victory in Florida, as the follow graph demonstrates:

    Likelihood of Winning Florida Primary_Jan26

    Sources: Betfair and Intrade

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  • As Gingrich’s fate rises, so does Obama’s

    As he prepares for his third State of the Union address--and, he hopes, not his last--Barack Obama's likelihood of reelection has soared in the last few days to 56.8 percent, the highest it has been since last July. This movement correlates with Newt Gingrich's increased likelihood of gaining the Republican nomination, now at 29.7 percent, up from about 5 percent. This upward trend also correlates with a simultaneous downward movement of Mitt Romney's likelihood of winning the presidency if he wins the nomination, now at 44.0, down from about 48 percent. We utilize prediction market data for these likelihoods.

    Likelihoods from 2012 Presidential Election

    Sources: Betfair and Intrade

    In short, the markets think Obama is more likely to defeat Gingrich than Romney, so when the former speaker's fortunes elevate, so do the president's. Over the last week, Gingrich's likelihood of winning the nomination has climbed from about 5 percent to about 30 percent. Currently, Gingrich is about 39 percent likely to defeat Obama if he makes it

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