Robert Gehrke: Election oddsmakers (me) predict what will happen

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Robert Gehrke.

Every political pundit and data nerd worth his or her salt is making their final election night predictions and placing their bets.

Here’s the safest wager: I’m not going to miss out on that action.

The money, right now, leans toward Joe Biden and there are those who argue that the money is a better predictor than the polls. So in that vein, rather than doing boring old predictions, I’m laying odds on a series of prop bets (those are side bets on specific things happening, for those not versed in the gambling vernacular).

But please, keep in mind, the Utah Constitution explicitly prohibits gambling, so this is for entertainment purposes only. Please, no wagering.

OK, with that setup out of the way, here are the current odds of the following things happening on election night:

• Odds that one of those seven constitutional amendments nobody actually paid attention to legalizes gambling in Utah: 1 in 12.

• President Donald Trump declares a tremendous victory on election night: 2 in 3.

Odds of Trump actually winning: 1 in 9.

• If he loses, the odds Trump will undermine the legitimacy of the election using a sketchy dossier presented to the news media by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani: 1 in 4.

• The chance Giuliani will touch himself inappropriately at some point during the presentation: 1 in 2.

• Probability we’ll know the winner of the presidential election Tuesday night: 3 in 8.

• Probability we will know the winner once the rubble of our cities stops smoldering: 5 in 8.

• Biden wins the election: 4 in 5.

• Biden’s victory speech is nothing but long excerpts from Hunter Biden’s emails read aloud: 1 in 7.

• Chances that Sen. Mike Lee and other right-wing critics will accuse the media of not reporting on it: 2 in 5.

• Odds that Rep. Ben McAdams’ election night speech opens politely: 1 in 2.

• Likelihood he goes on to politely trash opponent Burgess Owens as a deadbeat carpetbagger who wants to drop a nuclear bomb on Utah: 1 in 3.

• Probability that Owens responds in his speech by saying he only wants to drop a nuclear bomb on the God-hating socialist Democrats in Salt Lake County: 1 in 5.

• Odds of Owens blaming the liberal media if he loses: 99 in 100.

• The chance Utahns get their first glimpse of Spencer Cox since he won the Republican primary this summer: 3 in 5.

• Probability that Cox sees his shadow and we have eight more weeks of winter: 2 in 7.

• Chance that Cox and Democrat Chris Peterson give a joint victory/defeat speech calling for civility and announcing they’re new best pals: 1 in 4.

• Chance their call for civility actual works: 1 in 824.

• Likelihood that Attorney General Sean Reyes will rap at his victory party: 5 in 6.

• If he raps, the likelihood it will be bad: 999 in 1,000.

• Odds that Utah House Democratic candidates will end up paying a price for the wildly unpopular tax bill that Republicans passed: 2 in 7.

• Probability that the next governor will get serious about stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Utah: 1 in 11.

• If the next governor does get serious about COVID, probability that the Utah Legislature will cut him off at the knees: 4 in 5.

• Chances that the coronavirus will actually disappear Nov. 4, as Trump has promised: 1 in 1,000,000,000.

• Proportion of Utah voters who will celebrate this election being over: 1 in 1.

Here are some actual predictions:

Utahns will shatter voter turnout records and Republicans win up and down the ticket in Utah, with a few notable exceptions.

McAdams wins reelection by about 2%, helped by the fact that Trump loses the 4th Congressional District — the first time a Republican will lose a Utah congressional district in decades.

Republicans lose three state House seats, with Reps. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, and Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan, being the likeliest to fall, and Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, and the vacant seat in Heber currently held by Tim Quinn, who is retiring, being the other possible flips.

At this point I think there’s a better-than-even chance that Democrats win the U.S. Senate and keep the House. And the Big Kahuna? The pivotal presidential fight? Most indicators are looking good, but I’m not saying any more. I don’t want to jinx it.