Protests: How to Bet When Polls Don’t Tell You Jack

It has been just a total head-scratcher of a year. I am 99 percent sure that if back in January, you had told your boys that the entire world economy would shut down due to a virus people get from eating bats and that there would be social justice riots throughout the Western World, people would just assume that you were mental. But the coronavirus is here, George Floyd’s death has caused a huge awakening in social consciousness, and now we political bettors are left to pick up the pieces in order to predict the future. Specifically, I am fascinated with how Americans are responding to the recent demonstrations for racial justice. It is just bonkers how inconsistent the public’s response is and I am going to go out on a limb and make some bettable predictions based on the mixed signals that voters are giving.

It’s not easy, because the data points are crazy. Listen to this:

YouGov and Yahoo! conducted a mind-boggling poll from May 29-30. It should blow your mind that:

  • 57 percent of Americans think that race relations in the country are generally bad, but 56 percent of them also think that race relations in their own community are generally good.
  • 67 percent of respondents think that police treat blacks worse than whites; but 65 percent think that in their own communities, only a few (28%), almost none (20%), and none (17%) of their police are prejudiced against African Americans.
  • 77 percent of respondents thought Officer Derek Chauvin should have been arrested and charged sooner; and 47 percent think he should be charged with a more serious crime…
  • But 51 percent of respondents perceived protests to be “mostly violent riots” and only 16 percent said they favored cutting funding for police departments.

So I guess that most people believe that cops and Americans are generally racist, except the cops and Americans who they know personally.


This past week NBC and The Wall Street Journal conducted a poll that found that 80 percent of Americans feel like things are “out of control” in the country. But 59 percent of those surveyed said they’re more worried about police brutality towards black men than “protests that have turned violent.”

But I guess they are not that shook over police brutality. Because compared to previous audiences, this panel did not register any meaningful uptick in respondents’ belief that the government should do “more to help solve problems and meet the needs of the people.” In 2018, 58 percent of respondents replied yes to this, compared to 55 percent in 2019, and 57 percent this past week.

So a majority of Americans thinks the country is out of control, supports social justice protesters, thinks that black men are targeted by police, but doesn’t really feel an increased sense of urgency for the government to act.

Talk about confusing.

And in the world of the written word, Senator Tom Cotton recently published an article in The New York Times, which is one of the most famous establishments in the Fake News Media (FNM). In the article, the Arkansas hardo, who eats a slice of birthday cake every day, laid out the case for using the military to restore order in the country. Cotton’s take triggered liberals massively and The New York Times’s Opinion page editor, James Bennet, resigned after his bosses stuck a heavy retraction onto Cotton’s op-ed.

I personally think this is the funniest thing that I have ever heard in my life. This is due to the fact that Cotton’s piece actually had the opposite effect of what he intended. The piece clearly helped turn Americans against using the military against protestors. In the past week, public support for Cotton’s position has dropped from 55 to 42 percent, according to Morning Consult. Despite this, the NYT received a record number of subscription cancellations in wake of his piece’s publication.

In journalism, as with polls, Americans are sending some mixed signals.


As far as I can tell, the only thing that the polls agree on is that Donald Trump is going to get absolutely nuked this November. RCP has Trump down badly to Biden in their national average (-8) and in job approval (-11), and losing ground in basically every state that matters. I personally think that Trump is in deep trouble and we are headed towards an election that could be a total wipeout. A more disciplined Republican would turn massive civil disobedience to his advantage, but Trump is just doing some insane stuff. In response to his latest conspiracy theory dump, I tweeted that:

Even right wing trolls agree on this point:

The point is that it is just not enough for the President to lean on conspiracy theories and trolling to beat Joe Biden. He needs to actually offer something to voters as a response to wildly unpopular like “defunding the police.” Zoltar and I got into it about this on our recent podcast:

So based on all of this, I am making a few predictions:

(1) Trump will lose in November

(2) It might be a worse massacre than the entire history of the Cleveland Browns in the NFL postseason.

(3) No matter who wins, Alzheimers/mental illness research is going to get a huge boost in funding in 2021:

I guess we’ve all got dementia now.


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