Buy, Sell, or Hold?: Pre-Debate Stock Update

It’s been a couple months since I last offered my expert polito-financial advice on whether to buy, sell, or hold each candidates’ campaign “stock.” Heading into the Democratic Primary’s first debate feels like the last chance to take advantage of current share prices before potentially massive market fluctuations.

If you’re already a little lost, you’ll probably want to read the last version. In short, I’m going to find out where the candidates rank in the following categories, and assign a dollar value to those rankings.

  1. National polls,
  2. Oddsmakers, and
  3. PredictIt.

I’ll only rank the 20 candidates participating in the debates, so if a candidate ranks first in one of the above categories, that will give them a value of $20 in that category. If they rank second, it’s a value of $19. If they rank last, it’s $1. If a candidate ranks first in all three categories (as Joe Biden does), then he has a total of $20 X 3 for a $60 stock. (Importantly, only ten candidates have more than the minimum value at PredictIt. Therefore, the ten candidates ranked at the minimum value will have a value of $5, halfway between 0 and 10. I promise that makes sense in my head.)

I’ll go in reverse order of stock value (with the previous stock rank in parentheses). Let’s do it!


20. Eric Swalwell (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: 20 –> $1
Oddsmakers ranking: T18 –> $2.50
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $8.50

In some adjacent parallel universe, Swalwell is running without Pete Buttigieg stealing all his under-40 thunder. In that universe, Swalwell is still polling at 0 percent. Advice: Sell

19. Marianne Williamson (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: Five-way tie at 16 –> $3
Oddsmakers ranking: 20 –> $1
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $9.00

For someone who’s running on a platform of “healing” the country, her recent comments on vaccines collapses under their own irony. It’s a particularly dubious position in the self-proclaimed “pro-science” Democratic Party. It’s as if she never read about the eighth most influential figure in Western historyAdvice: Sell

18. Jay Inslee (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: Five-way tie at 16 –> $3
Oddsmakers ranking: 15 –> $6
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $11.00

This is a shockingly low price for a progressive governor who will make sure everyone who watches the debate knows he’s the “Climate Change Guy.” I expect a bit of a post-debate bump for the state of Washington’s chief executive. Advice: Buy

T16. Bill de Blasio (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: Five-way tie at 16 –> $3
Oddsmakers ranking: 14 –> $7
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $15.00

Who dislikes him more — his country or his city? Although he is one of the few people on here who was progressive before progressivism was cool, he’s also the least popular guy on the list among constituents and Democrats at large. On the bright side, a PPFA reader had an exquisite recommendation for how New York’s 6′ 5″ Mayor should be reflected in my debate art:

Debate 1

Advice: Sell.

T16. John Delaney (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: T12 –> $7.50
Oddsmakers ranking: T18 –> $2.50
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $15.00

Of the 20 names today, I’d rank him as the least likely nominee. In fact, I rank two people who didn’t make the debates (Seth Moulton and Steve Bullock) higher than him. You can’t sell this stock fast enough.

15. Michael Bennet (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: 14 –> $7
Oddsmakers ranking: 17 –> $4
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $16.00

There’s enough to like about Bennet, but I don’t see how a white, male, not young DC insider who’s relying on crossover appeal will win the Democratic nomination — unless it’s Biden. If Biden loses, it will be because the party decided to go young and/or female and/or minority and/or progressive. Bennet is 0 for 4. He’s also not a terribly compelling speaker, so make that 0 for 5. Advice: Sell

14. John Hickenlooper (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: Five-way tie at 16 –> $3
Oddsmakers ranking: 12 –> $9
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $17.00

They’re not saying “boooo,” they’re saying “Hickenloooooooooooooooooper!” Advice: Holdenlooper

13. Tim Ryan (last time: unranked)
National polling ranking: 11 –> $10
Oddsmakers ranking: 16 –> $5
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $20.00

When this field whittles, there is a place for Ohio’s Tim Ryan, the closest thing we’re getting to Sherrod Brown. No one has been more focused on the working class and how the current economy is leaving them behind. I don’t see how he wins the nomination, but he’s been among the more impressive candidates on the trail. I can see a post-debate climb. Advice: Buy

12. Kirsten Gillibrand (last time: Tied for 10th)
National polling ranking: 12 –> $9
Oddsmakers ranking: 13 –> $8
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $22.00

If there ever were a time for New York’s junior Senator to turn around her wayward campaign, it’d be in a debate. With 10 people on stage, however, she won’t have much time to do it, and she’s currently in terrible shape to meet the third debate requirements. Still, the price is a reasonable buy-low option for a candidate who was expected to be more of a player. Advice: Buy just a share or two.

11. Julian Castro (last time: 12)
National polling ranking: 10 –> $11
Oddsmakers ranking: 11 –> $10
PredictIt ranking: T11 (basement 1 cent price) –> $5
Share price: $26.00

Meh. Advice: Hold

10. Tulsi Gabbard (Tied for 10th)
National polling ranking: T12 –> $7.50
Oddsmakers ranking: 8 –> $13
PredictIt ranking: 10 –> $11
Share price: $31.50

What an artificially high value, thanks to just a marginally better PredictIt value than the ten-way tie at the 1 cent minimum. I’ve said it a million times: she can’t win while Sanders is in the race, and Sanders isn’t going anywhere. Cash out while there’s still some value. Advice: Sell.

9. Amy Klobuchar (9)
National polling ranking: 9 –> $12
Oddsmakers ranking: T9 –> $11.50
PredictIt ranking: 9 –> $12
Share price: $35.50

Buy! (And hope.)

8. Cory Booker (8)
National polling ranking: 7 –> $14
Oddsmakers ranking: T9 –> $11.50
PredictIt ranking: 8 –> $13
Share price: $38.50

Three bargains remain. This is one of them. I think a debate, when a candidate needs to convey their enthusiasm with relatively little time or opportunity to get comfortable, is a great venue for Cory Booker. He still has a surge in him. Advice: Buy

T6. Andrew Yang (7)
National polling ranking: 8 –> $13
Oddsmakers ranking: T6 –> $14.50
PredictIt ranking: 5 –> $16
Share price: $43.50

I really, really can’t wait to see what America thinks of Andrew Yang. It could laugh him out of the room — or launch him into the top tier. Advice: Hold

T6. Beto O’Rourke (5)
National polling ranking: 6 –> $15
Oddsmakers ranking: T6 –> $14.50
PredictIt ranking: 7 –> $14
Share price: $43.50

Another bargain, I still think he’s among the candidates that will most benefit if the Biden Campaign topples over. Like Booker, O’Rourke’s vigor should connect in a debate. Advice: Buy

5. Kamala Harris (3)
National polling ranking: T4 –> $16.50
Oddsmakers ranking: T4 –> $16.50
PredictIt ranking: 6 –> $15
Share price: $48.00

The best bargain of this entire slate, Harris is making her way into my top three again. I told you to sell last time around, and true to form she dropped two spots since then. Now, however, she’s well-poised in this primary, despite stagnant polling numbers. Like O’Rourke, she’ll likely inherit a lot of Biden’s support if his voters, particularly African Americans, ditch him. Advice: Buy

4. Pete Buttigieg (4)
National polling ranking: T4 –> $16.50
Oddsmakers ranking: T4 –> $16.50
PredictIt ranking: 4 –> $17.00
Share price: $50.00

He looks awesome in Iowa and he’s going to have a great debate. However, his struggles with minority voters is a warning sign, considering he seeks the nomination of a party that’s about 40 percent minority. Advice: Buy pre-first debate, sell by the third debate.

T2. Elizabeth Warren (6)
National polling ranking: 3 –> $18
Oddsmakers ranking: T2 –> $18.50
PredictIt ranking: 2 –> $19
Share price: $55.50

The candidate of the hour! Back when she was struggling (note her sixth place ranking in the last Stock column), I advised “to BUY the nicely priced, high-upside stock for now.” I hope you listened. However, I also warned you to be ready to sell once the President resumed his attacks on her. I still don’t think she’s figured out how to beat him. Advice: Buy a bit more, but have your stock broker on speed dial.

T2. Bernie Sanders (Tied for 1st)
National polling ranking: 2 –> $19
Oddsmakers ranking: T2 –> $18.50
PredictIt ranking: 3 –> $18
Share price: $55.50

From the beginning of this campaign cycle, my instinct has been that 2016 would remain the height of his popularity. He’s now four years older, there exists progressive alternatives, and neither he nor his supporters have shown an inclination to grow a coalition of voters when Hillary Clinton isn’t the sole alternative. Though it’s early, his slow decline in 2019 supports my assumption. This stock is way too pricey for his trajectory. Advice: Sell

1. Joe Biden (Tied for 1st)
National polling ranking: 1 –> $20
Oddsmakers ranking: 1 –> $20
PredictIt ranking: 1 –> $20
Share price: $60.00

Biden is getting hit with so many jabs that his teetering candidacy might be a left hook away from falling to the mat. The next ten days will reveal a lot about the direction of his campaign. Did a week of bad press after his Eastman gaffe affect his numbers? Or is he as impervious to the post-gaffe media pile-on as Trump was four years ago? And can his off-the-cuff, return-to-the-good-ole-days approach work in the debate, or do Democratic voters demand forward-looking specifics from their nominee? By the middle of next week, polls will tell us if his campaign is destined for failure or if he’s a strong favorite. One way or another, I expect I’ll be moving his odds. Advice: Hold

5 thoughts on “Buy, Sell, or Hold?: Pre-Debate Stock Update

  1. I was trying to explain to my boys (and parents) why some of these ‘not a chance’ candidates were running. The effort to campaign and raise $–even at this early date–is overwhelming for a small chance at a job in a new administration. What would your response be?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s pretty weird. So many people at 0 or 1 percent think they have a chance. (Another former Congressman, Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, jumped in yesterday.) They probably think this is the field that gives them hope. Four years ago, for example, was hopeless. Now three percent support never looked so good.

      Like

  2. As much as I want to see de Blasio in all debate artwork for the next 18 months, I agree he’s a big sell. Was talking to a city employee last week and she was like, “He can’t even run the city, how’s he gunna run the country?”

    Like

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