Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Bets are on Hillary Clinton after debate
- Sewer deal is ratty
- Presidential prediction turns into a scare tactic
Still in the sewer
Despite previous rebuffs from the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the county legislature’s Rules Committee approved yet another attempt by County Executive Edward Mangano to contract with financial adviser KPMG to evaluate a potential $1 billion “lease” of the county’s sewer system. This time, the contract is for $198,000.
Now, it must be reviewed by NIFA, which has twice killed similar contracts. Under a complicated plan, investors would pay the county a huge sum up front in return for decades of Nassau’s sewer revenues. Such an arrangement is somehow supposed to translate into lower sewer rates for customers than the county would impose if no such deal is done.
KPMG would get paid nearly $200,000 to figure out whether ratepayers and the county can both win with a sewer system in which the operations were already privatized with no cost savings yet appearing. This is really about manipulating money. So the question is not whether the financial watchdog will OK an exploratory contract. The question is whether there’s any chance NIFA will eventually OK a huge deal that strikes many as a boondoggle.
Luck be a lady
Donald Trump fans say their candidate won Monday night’s debate, but money talks louder than partisanship. The betting markets say Hillary Clinton carried the night.
In the hours right after the debate, a Clinton contract on the website PredictIt shot up from 63 cents to 69 cents, while Trump’s price fell seven cents to 31 cents. The winning contracts are worth $1 after the election is final, so the price of each contract as it moves is meant to correspond to that candidate’s percentage chances of winning the race.
The swing toward Clinton was generally true across betting sites that cover the election and reflected a change in the momentum. Trump had been trending upward for several weeks, rising to 38 cents Sunday from just 28 cents last month. As the action continued Tuesday, it looked as if Trump might make up a penny or two from early morning lows. But the big post-debate move remained Clinton’s.
DCCC’s new villain
Stony Brook University professor Helmut Norpoth, predictor of presidential elections, has received the attention of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It is using Norpoth’s prediction that Donald Trump has an overwhelming chance to win in November to raise money for Hillary Clinton.
“Are you scared? We are,” reads a DCCC email solicitation from Monday. “Because a professor who correctly predicted every president for the last 30 years says Trump’s going to win.”
Norpoth, a political science professor, explained his forecasting model in a Newsday op-ed in July. In part, it focuses on how well a candidate did in the first two primaries. Trump won both New Hampshire and South Carolina, while Clinton lost New Hampshire but won South Carolina. The second factor is the swing of the electoral pendulum away from another term for Democrats, based on Barack Obama’s lower vote total in 2012.
The professor made his prediction back in the winter. Surveying the race now, he says traditional polls have been lagging in capturing Trump’s appeal.
Made Our Points
We debated Monday night, too
The Newsday editorial board hosted our first-ever live chat Monday night during the presidential debate. Did you miss it? Read our analysis and insights here.