Pretty near every leader on earth, in business, government, or any other realm, has something riding on who will become the world’s most important leader, the U.S. president. Now that the debates are over, let’s review the ways we might foretell the outcome. They reveal not only what’s likely to happen, but also something about how we got here.
Nationwide preference polls: These get all the attention, but of course they mean little. We elect presidents by electoral votes, not by a majority of votes cast. So while the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by a wide margin, 45.2% to 39.2%, let’s acknowledge it and then forget it. We have better tools available.
Electoral maps based on state polls: These give us a more precise understanding. The latest RCP map shows Clinton with 260 electoral votes vs. 170 for Trump – a big lead for Clinton, but neither candidate has the 270 needed to win. That’s because RCP says nine states are toss-ups, including three of this election’s battlegrounds – Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. The fourth battleground state, Pennsylvania, is classified only as “leans Clinton,” not “likely Clinton.” When RCP assigns each of those states to Clinton or Trump, even by a tiny margin, then Clinton is a big winner, 333 to 205.
Prediction markets: People betting real money by trading contracts that pay off according to an election’s winner have a strong record of accurate forecasting. The Predictwise site maintained by Microsoft Research economist David Rothschild amalgamates activity in these markets. It’s favoring Clinton 91% to 9%, and the most recent debate did not noticeably affect the numbers. On the contrary, this indicator reveals that the most significant turning point in the whole campaign was the first debate, on September 26. Before that event, traders gave Clinton only a 68% chance, but her numbers jumped sharply as soon as the debate ended and have climbed steadily since, plateauing around 90% a week ago.
The peso’s price: Trump’s vocal hostility toward immigrants from Mexico and trade with Mexico has made the dollar-peso exchange rate a sensitive barometer of his chances. When he looks strong, traders flee the peso; when he looks weak, the peso appreciates. The peso’s value plunged after the party conventions last summer and was hitting new all-time lows until – guess when – September 26. It’s value jumped after that debate and has continued to climb.
So here’s the bottom line: Ignore the national polls. Based on the electoral map, Clinton indeed looks overwhelmingly likely to win; Trump would win only if he could take virtually all the toss-up states, most of which are trending against him. Probably the most trustworthy indicators are the odds derived from real people betting real money on the outcome, which show Clinton extremely likely to win. And a message to all pundits: Please stop parsing the transcripts of each debate; the bigger story is clear. Before the debates, Trump at least had a chance; the tide turned after the first debate, and it has never turned back.
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What We’re Reading Today
British American Tobacco offers to buy Reynolds American
The $47 billion offer would purchase the remaining 58% of shares that BAT doesn’t already own. For Nicandro Durante‘s BAT, the deal would create the world’s largest tobacco company in terms of profits and revenue. Susan Cameron‘s Reynolds American has yet to indicate whether it’s interested in merging. The Guardian
Google’s TV play moves closer to reality
With the news that CBS will make its programming available for Google’s cable-TV style streaming service, it’s more likely that Google TV may be nearing launch. Disney (which would include ESPN) and 21st Century Fox also are reportedly close to making deals. Tim Cook‘s Apple and Sundar Pichai‘s Google have both been in a race to provide this cable-TV style service. Fortune
What’s next for Twitter
Potential buyers, such as Marc Benioff‘s Salesforce and Larry Page‘s Alphabet, both declined to bid for the social media site. Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, will need to take action to address Twitter’s lack of growth in users, or activist investors could step in to force a more dramatic change. Reuters
Hacked emails show Clinton team’s struggle with TPP
Hillary Clinton first approved of the Trans-Pacific Partnership before saying she was against it once she entered the presidential race. Hacked emails just released by WikiLeaks show the internal debate the campaign team had before announcing her stance. According to the emails, her advisors feared her new position would look like a “huge flip-flop.” WSJ
Building a Better Leader
When facing organizational change…
….use the fear of more radical changes to convince the moderates in the company to join forces and collaborate. INSEAD Knowledge
Procrastination isn’t a time management problem
It has more to do with emotional regulation. The answer? Address the emotions underlying the resistance. Fortune
The SEC is considering proposing new rules…
…that would make it easier for shareholders to vote on board candidates nominated by investors. Reuters
Trump to accept “clear” election results
At the last presidential debate, Donald Trump refused to say if he’d accept the election outcome, but a day after, Trump said he’d accept them if they were “clear.” He added that he wanted to reserve the right to contest, if he deemed the results questionable. Trump, who has repeatedly claimed that the election could be “rigged,” added that he wouldn’t contest, if he wins. New York Magazine
Russia offered to monitor the U.S. election
In an obvious attempt to jab the U.S., Russia offered to send election monitors for the presidential election. The State Department rejected the request, and one state election official threatened criminal action if Russian officials showed up, according to reports from Russia. USA Today
Trump gets booed at charity dinner
The annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner is usually a time for presidential candidates to dine and poke fun at themselves and each other. But Trump made some not-so-funny jokes at Hillary Clinton‘s expense. The audience responded with jeers. Washington Post
Up or Out
Sequoia Capital has hired former Polyvore CEO Jess Lee as an investing partner. She is the first woman to hold that role at the venture capital firm. Fortune
BHP Billiton Chairman Jac Nasser will retire at next year’s shareholder meeting. WSJ
Lyft has hired Raj Kapoor as chief strategy officer and Melissa Waters as head of marketing. Re/code
Fortune Reads and Videos
Venmo on track to process $20 billion in payments in one year
The payment app owned by PayPal processed nearly $5 billion in payments during the third quarter. Fortune
The NBA will broadcast one game a week…
…in virtual reality. The first game will air on October 27, and offer 180-degree views of the action. Fortune
Walmart pours $50 million into a food delivery service in China
The investment is part a strategy to align with JD.com, which is trying to fend off competition from Alibaba. Fortune
You can dress your iPhone up for Halloween…
…as an exploding Galaxy Note 7. Spooky. Fortune
Quote of the Day
“I think it’s a gigantic missed opportunity…This is, I think, the generation-defining challenge for the United States. So the idea that it wouldn’t be brought up shows a complete failure by the moderators…If it’s the No. 1 issue for young people, and there are no questions about climate and then people in D.C. wring their hands about, ‘why don’t millennials participate,’ it’s sort of like, ‘excuse me?’ It seems to me to be very clear.” — Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, discussing the lack of attention climate change received in the debates. Fortune