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Results: Shut. It. Down.

Published 5 months ago • 2 min read

Welcome to Nonrival, the newsletter where readers make predictions about business, tech, and politics.

Thanks for forecasting. Send feedback to newsletter@nonrival.pub.

In this issue

Results: Will there be a shutdown of the US federal government in the first week of October?

  • Average reader forecast: 63%

  • Your forecast: [092423 GOES HERE]%

A telling response

Most readers think a government shutdown is likely. But here’s an even more telling data point: Of the 20% of readers who said a shutdown was unlikely, precisely zero of you provided a rationale this week.

I don’t mean that as a knock—it points to a very real dynamic in this case. We know shutdowns are rare. We know somehow the government does eventually get funded. And the most common forecast this week was 70%—which means most readers think there’s a considerable chance of no shutdown. But collectively we can't seem to describe how the no-shutdown scenario would go. And that speaks volumes.

Before getting to reader rationales, here’s a quick comparison of forecasts from different platforms. These are as of Tuesday afternoon. By the time you're reading this, the Senate and House may both have taken votes related to the likelihood of a shutdown so the forecasts may have shifted.

Will there be a shutdown?

63% chance of shutdown in the first week of October (Nonrival)

71% chance of shutdown on Oct. 2 (Kalshi)

75% chance of government shutdown by end of 2023 (Good Judgment Open)

75%: chance of government shutdown by end of 2023 (Metaculus)

72%: chance of government shutdown by end of 2023 (Manifold)

82% chance of a shutdown before Nov. 2024 (Good Judgment pro forecasters)

How long would a shutdown last?

Kalshi also has a real-money prediction market on the length of the shutdown. Prices are implied probabilities. As of Monday, the market suggested an 18% chance of no shutdown in 2023; a 17% chance of a shutdown lasting less than a week; and a 65% chance of a shutdown lasting one week or more. (It appears the probability of a long shutdown has increased slightly since then.)

Reader rationales

70%: The House of Reps is just too dysfunctional. I think McCarthy is trying but seems to value speakership over bipartisanship. The chaos wing of the party wants a shutdown to get to whatever their goal of the shifting winds is.
70%: I don't see enough downside for the red team here that they're gonna threaten the freedom caucus with something severe enough to get them to back off.
70%: Based on my read of the extremists. They seem to like this game.
70%: Hardliners will push to shut down to provide re-election fodder. Speaker McCarthy will give them a few days to score the point and then do a deal, possibly bi-partisan.
90%: Trump is still the Republican front runner, and the extreme wing of the Republicans is immovable. They will block any attempt to avoid a shutdown to demonstrate their importance. The house needs to change the funding rules to remove the shutdown option, and I doubt that will occur before another shutdown.
90%: The moderate Republicans haven’t bolted against McCarthy yet, and McCarthy hasn’t bolted from the hard right yet. It’s possible it will happen this time (and would be in their interest to do so), but there isn’t any evidence anyone is willing to cut a deal so far.

Trivia: 62% of you answered correctly. Members of Congress still get paid during a shutdown.

See you on Sunday.

Nonrival

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