A Simple Guide to Understanding Election Craps
Craps Do Happen in Dice and Elections
Assuming the odds are accurate, by definition the answer is precisely 10%.
Nate Silver says I’m Here To Remind You That Trump Can Still Win
"A 10 percent chance isn’t zero. And there’s a chance of a recount, too," Silver accurately added.
Understanding Neither Elections Nor Math
Those comments (and thousands of similar ones by others) come from people who understand neither elections nor probabilities.
Math Lesson 101
- 10% is Not 0%
- 90% is not 100%
No one is backpedaling on anything.
Craps are a 2, 12, or 3 total on two dice. That is 4 chances in 36 (1-1, 6-6, 1-2, 2-1) or 1 chance in 9.
The true odds are 8-1, but the payout is only 7-1 giving the house an 11.1% advantage.
Silver has the odds of Trump winning as 1 time in 10, quite similar to placing a 1 time in 9 bet on "any craps".
People expect of Silver to be 100% accurate on a 90% bet.
Reflections on Wasted Votes
A discussion of wasted votes came up in numerous Tweets.
I was accused of wasting my vote on Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen.
There are hundreds more similar to these.
Expect a Crappy Outcome
Too many people wasted their votes by voting for party over policy.
A crappy outcome is guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Trump's hopes are down to two things.
- A far bigger polling error than in 2016
- Stealing the election by not counting votes
The odds of those are about 1 time in 10, quite similar to a 1 time in 9 bet on "any craps".
This is not 2016 so don't expect a repeat. For discussion, please see Eight Reasons This is Not 2016
Moreover, pollsters may have overcorrected weightings and errors they made in 2016.
Thus, any errors are just as likely to towards a Biden blowout not a Trump win.