Monday, November 2, 2020

Russian Roulette Odds

I hate assigning subjective probability’s, particularly in chaotic times, but if I had to I would say that when you add in all the possibilities of variation in polls and plans to steal the election, we are looking at something on the low end of Russian roulette odds. I’ve found this is a useful framing when talking with nervous friends about the election.  

On one hand it captures that a Trump victory, even with extensive cheating, appears unlikely. On the other hand, it also reinforces the fact that we are generally more concerned with expected value than we are with probabilities.

With a six shot revolver, your odds of a bad outcome are in the mid teens. Unfortunately, a bad outcome in that game is really, really bad.

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