The Paradox of Political Polls
The more people learned about polling techniques and were exposed to the results, the more biased the results became. Why?
Despite their long history, pre-election polls have one major flaw: Respondents have free will to lie, change their minds and cheat on past ballots. Recent examples from the United Kingdom and the United States show that a large part of the population is either not represented in the surveyed sample and therefore difficult to correct, or changes its voting intentions at the last minute depending on factors direct or voluntary (a fact based on a statistical sample surveys makes it difficult to track the cause of this change). What is very clearly the case during this election the number of voters is a record!
What if too many polls make them obsolete? And if we were faced with a paradox, which I would define as follows: The more people understand polling techniques and are exposed to the results, the more biased the results are” ?
Which is not the case with bookmakers for example Unibet, Bwin, Betclic…
Political polls versus opinions and information bubble
Moreover, the continued publication and national exposure of public opinion research comes up against two interacting psychological phenomena: confirmation bias means that one tends to prefer information in the direction of his thoughts and assumptions; at the same time, filtered bubbles of information lead to prefer He has similar sources of information and therefore tends to agree with him (whether friends on social networks, or choose sources of traditional information, known to the public with their editorial lines).
In the face of uncertainty and biased samples, forecasting tools other than Surveys can emerge, and I think the most relevant is the one that seemed incongruous to me a year ago: online gambling with sites like Unibet, Bwin, Betclic.
The Presidential Elections are like the PMU
The first bet on the election looks like what you see on a racetrack. Each candidate has a rank, which constantly changes. This is calculated by experts using computers, who can incorporate opinion polls, socio-economic factors, recent events, results of previous consultations and issues already recorded in their calculations.
For example, if a bettor bets the amount that night, he will be elected on the evening of April 10 and he will restore his initial bet, increasing his amount by approximately (from 5/6 to 11/10, depending on the site). Obviously, if he does not become president, he will definitely lose the initial bet. Given this table, if Nicolas Dupont-Aignan wins, a very lucky or very visionary person can win up to 1000 times his bet.
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As a result, bookmakers will have to arbitrate between raising the odds to attract potential bettors to their sites and lowering the odds so as not to overpay the winner and keep their winnings. The mechanism therefore tends to self-regulate, which is why there is a consensus on the ratings on this table, the difference between the three best-rated candidates is negligible, thus the bookmakers Unibet, Bwin, Betclic compete in advertising offers and promotions between them.
A good bettor is a good trader
The second bet I found is similar to how the stock market works. The site is a marketplace for trading commodities that function like stocks. A Yes product will be paid 1 $ on election night if the candidate it represents wins the election, and 0 otherwise. Conversely, a No product will be paid 1 $ if it loses and worthless if he wins. Therefore, its price can fluctuate between 0 $ and 1 $, expressed in cents. Here, it is up to the bettor to set the price himself. If an investor owns the shares of a candidate and thinks that he will not be elected, he can sell them to another person as long as their sale and purchase prices are comparable. But if all the sellers want a price that the buyers are unwilling to pay, then the deal won't happen. Thus, the odds displayed are the price of the last trade, and therefore represent the market consensus on the probability of winning for this or that candidate.
As a result, bettors can register profits or losses long before the election. Buying this candidate's Yes shares on Feb. 5 and selling them back on Feb. 21 would get me about twice the initial stake, even ignoring the May 7 result. So we can play games either by predicting the end result or simply by predicting trends over a period of time.
Better than the polls wanting to win his Paris allows to find the final winner of the presidential election
In both cases, the psychological biases associated with the poll and its results were weighted because the participants were not interested in betting on the outcome they wanted, but on the outcome they thought would happen. Therefore, the greed-based prediction system seems to be less susceptible to manipulation, whether intentional or unintentional, and bettors have no interest in playing the game. But this raises the difficult question ethics to pay for his opinion….
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