Here’s what will happen in 2018 election (POLL)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do you think Democrats will retake the House, the Senate, or both in the 2018 election?

Now that you’ve answered, let’s consider the limits of data science in 2018.

The best data scientists in the world agreed with nearly absolute certainty. These scientists determined, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States. That was in 2016.

Those scientists were wrong.

Many of those same scientists applied their advanced degrees and supercomputers to the next problem: how would a Trump presidency affect the US economy. Joined by several Nobel-winning economists, the data scientists came to one conclusion with absolute certainty: Trump will sink the US economy, and smart people should sell 100% of their stock immediately following Trump’s win.

Those scientists and economists were all wrong.

It’s easy to blame partisanship and bias for these huge errors by the best data scientists and economists in the world. And it’s likely that bias played a role in their embarrassing failures to predict the future. But bias wasn’t the only problem. Nor was it the primary error.

The primary error in data science is its confidence in data.

Now, I’m a huge proponent of data science. I work with big companies who under-invest in analyzing their own data and in studying publicly available data. Data analysis and lightweight artificial intelligence and machine learning can greatly improve business results. I’ve helped smart companies achieve amazing growth through a combination of data science and human behavioral science. It’s what I do for a living.

(Find out how I used data science to predict that Trump had a good chance of winning.)

But I also know the limits of data science. And those limits are far more humbling than many data scientists admit. The biggest limit comes from unknowns. Scientists call these “confounding variables.” While eventually knowable, in our present limits of knowledge, the effect of an unknown, confounding variable cannot be measured or accounted for. I’ll give you an example.

Say I want to test a hypothesis. My hypothesis is that trees begin to change colors as a result of temperature changes in the fall. I also want to factor out some variables I know could affect the trees: humidity, cloud cover, rainfall, and heat stress. Then I run my test over 3 years.

In the end, I discover a perfect correlation between temperature change and leaf color change.

Only later do I learn that I missed one other variable: sunlight hours. In the fall in subtropical zones, the hours of daylight decrease and the hours of darkness grow. In October, trees in my part of North America receive several hours less sunlight than they did in June.

Upon further investigation, I learn that scientists had long ago determined that hours of sunlight, not temperature, cause trees to hibernate in the winter. Their transition from active growth to dormancy causes their leaves to change color. An oak tree in coastal California where fall temperatures are often warmer than in mid-summer turns colors just as it does in St. Louis. Here’s the science, according to the United States National Arboretum:

In late summer or early autumn, the days begin to get shorter, and nights are longer. Like most plants, deciduous trees and shrubs are rather sensitive to length of the dark period each day. When nights reach a threshold value and are long enough, the cells near the juncture of the leaf and the stem divide rapidly, but they do not expand. This abscission layer is a corky layer of cells that slowly begins to block transport of materials such as carbohydrates from the leaf to the branch. It also blocks the flow of minerals from the roots into the leaves. Because the starting time of the whole process is dependent on night length, fall colors appear at about the same time each year in a given location, whether temperatures are cooler or warmer than normal.

It took science a long time to figure that out. While a pretty simple problem that’s easily tested in both the laboratory and in the wild, trees are subject to many variables: wind, moisture, cloud cover, heat stress, terrain, parasites, deer, beavers, etc. But people have been studying trees for many, many years. And trees are less complex than the human brain.

Now, let’s go back to the problem of modern data science. Data scientists are mostly concerned with how people will behave at some point in the future. These scientists don’t care why leaves change colors in the fall. They care about how people (consumers) will respond to the leaves changing.

People are more complicated than trees, at least when it comes to their behavior. The factors that influence human behavior have also been studied for centuries. But our understanding of the factors that influence our behaviors is limited. And even the variables we know about are so varied and numerous that predicting how one variable affects all the others is as much art as science. (For example, shoppers who receive a free sample of luxury chocolate candy at a kiosk in a mall are more likely to make a purchase from a luxury retailer in the mall than the same shoppers in a mall that doesn’t give away free luxury candy.)

Which brings us back to the 2018 election.

It’s very possible that Democrats will take over the House and the Senate. It’s also possible that Republicans could increase their majorities in both houses. It’s also possible that something in between will happen. I don’t know. Neither do you. And neither do the greatest data scientists alive.

That’s the point. When you hear predictions, don’t be fooled by the math and science used to bolster those predictions. The scientists who did the work, usually in good faith, don’t know the variable they don’t know. Nor do they know the likelihood of a new variable creeping into the equation. Nor can they factor the influence of those infinite unknown variables. Take all predictions about elections with a grain of salt, and be especially circumspect if the prediction comes with a lot of easy-to-understand charts and graphs. And, if you have a strong belief in science, you are actually more susceptible to believing in charts and graphs.

In a study published in 2014, researchers showed how influential charts and graphs can be. From their abstract:

The appearance of being scientific can increase persuasiveness. Even trivial cues can create such an appearance of a scientific basis. In our studies, including simple elements, such as graphs (Studies 1–2) or a chemical formula (Study 3), increased belief in a medication’s efficacy. This appears to be due to the association of such elements with science, rather than increased comprehensibility, use of visuals, or recall.

And people who believe in science are most gullible:

Belief in science moderates the persuasive effect of graphs, such that people who have a greater belief in science are more affected by the presence of graphs (Study 2). Overall, the studies contribute to past research by demonstrating that even trivial elements can increase public persuasion despite their not truly indicating scientific expertise or objective support.

When you see scientific-looking studies predicting with 98% confidence how the 2018 election will turn out, remember this study and this blog. In fact, check out this chart which shows you are more likely than others to share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook. You’re also slightly more likely than others to remember this blog post when the actual results of the election are announced in November.

How the Washington Post Radicalizes Murderers (video)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

To liberals, the murder of a Republican is like the swatting of a mosquito. They oppose violence in theory, but they also want the pest dead. They’re just too lazy to get out of their easy chairs to do it themselves.

Cass Sunstein, a leftist who’s happy whenever a conservative dies early, wrote a book called Nudge. It’s a good psychology book. Nudge is about persuasion, which is my chief interest. Sunstein teaches people how to get others to swat mosquitoes for us.

The mainstream media revere Sunstein. The right hates Sunstein. The left applies Sunstein’s science to manipulate people from a distance. Like swatting mosquitoes without leaving your easy chair. Conservatives, on the other hand, pooh-pooh psychology and neuroscience. They think it’s voodoo or witchery.

Because the leftist media like CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, and MSNBC use psychology, they can influence their fringe to attack and kill conservatives. They’re very good at psychology.

Today, we saw a fringe leftist shoot at 30 Republican members of Congress and their staffers. It happened on a baseball field in Virginia. The shooter was a 66-year-old man from Belleville, Illinois. His name was James T. Hodgkinson. Hodgkinson was radicalized by the mainstream media. And I think they radicalized him on purpose.

See Scott Adams explain his brilliant “radicalized” meme.

The media actually celebrated Hodgkinson’s attack on the unarmed Republicans, until they tried to erase the incident with a lie. For example, The Gateway Pundit noticed that a Washington Post reporter justified the shooting on Twitter.

 

And

Cass Sunstein would be proud. Sunstein probably shot (no pun) Harris a note congratulating him on great persuasion technique. Malcolm Harris radicalized the next James T. Hodgkinson.

Earlier, The Gateway Pundit pointed out how Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas programmed his minions to believe Republican deserve to be shot.

Finally, as I predicted at about 1:00 this afternoon, the Washington Post invented five unnamed, anonymous sources to smear Trump and knock the radicalized James T. Hodgkinson off the front page. WaPo posted a mostly fabricated story about Robert Mueller shifting his investigation from Russian election tampering to obstruction of justice.

That’s another Sunstein move: waving shiny objects to distract the gullible.

I’m not that gullible. I know their game because it’s a game I study and play in a different way.

Unlike Washington Post and the left’s mainstream murder advocates, I use persuasion to help get what they want. Like a personal trainer. But the techniques are the same whether they’re used for good or evil.

The left uses psychology for manipulation, to radicalize its fringe.

Just thought you should know.

This is what it looks like when the MSM succeeds in radicalizing leftists.

Mark Steyn explains just how vile and hateful the left has become.

False Flag or Not

Reading Time: 8 minutes

The contemporary term false flag describes covert operations that are designed to deceive in such a way that activities appear as though they are being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them. [Wikipedia]

Think of a time when you acted on false information. You knew it might be false, but you acted as if it was true. Why did you do that?

As absurd as it seems, people do this all the time. People behave as if something were true even though it might not be true.

Think about runaway stocks. Remember the Iomega Zip Drive stock surge of the 1990s?

A lot of people thought Iomega would become bigger than Apple or Microsoft. I know of a man who sold all of his investments in 1995 to buy Iomega and only Iomega. He said at the time, “this will be the most valuable company of all time.”

Was he right?

From a technology standpoint, no. I was a techie back then, and I knew that Iomega Zip Drives would have a short life expectancy. Maybe two or three years tops. Rewritable CD-ROMs and massive online storage would soon make the Zip Drive a clunky burden. The Zip Drive would die fast.

But in 1995, everybody knew Iomega was the king. In fact, the Zip Drive remains to this day the number one selling computer peripheral of all time.

Because the mid-90s were the peak of nerd-worship, anyone in the tech business learned what everyone thought about technology. At family gatherings, everybody wanted to talk to me about computers. People wanted to know more, and they saw me as an expert. They also wanted to share with me their knowledge. So I learned what people were thinking.

That’s how I learned that a senior vice president at a very large corporation, a man with an MBA from a school you’ve heard of, took his life savings and bought Iomega.

Well, Motley Fool also bought a lot of IOM in 1995. And the value of their Iomega stock rose 1,500% in the next 13 months.

I ask again, did my acquaintance make the right move on IOM?

To answer the question, you need more information. You also need an understanding of the game theory concept of “common knowledge.” For that, I’ll let genius Ben Hunt of Salient Partners explain:

Your feelings about a stock, as opposed to your feelings about a company, should be completely determined by your beliefs about other investors and their feelings about the stock. In the lingo … your preference functions for stocks qua stocks are entirely exogenously derived and epiphenomenal. There is no rational internally-developed preference for one stock versus another stock, any more than I prefer a $5 chip from Harrah’s to a $5 chip from Caesar’s Palace. The only thing I care about is whether other investors, for whatever reason, will value the Harrah’s chip at $6 tomorrow.

Common knowledge is something everyone knows and everyone knows everyone knows. It’s information on which you can expect other people to act a certain way.

For example, imagine that on a Thursday NOAA and the local weather fearmongers bombard St. Louis with news of the “winter storm of the millennium” scheduled to begin the following Tuesday. You can bet store shelves will be devoid of bread, milk, eggs, and rock salt by midday next Monday. It doesn’t matter whether the prediction is right. What matters is that most people will behave as if it’s right. If you need bread or milk, you better get it on Sunday.

Except . . . other people will also think ahead, so you better beat them by shopping on Saturday. But what if a lot of people also think about shopping on Saturday? So you decide to shop on Friday.

Until . . . you think of all the other people who might be reasoning backward like you are. So, you stop at Schnuck’s on your way home from work Thursday and find bread, milk, and salt already running low. You buy three gallons of milk, three loaves of bread, and 100 pounds of rock salt. The perishables will go bad before you finish them, but that doesn’t matter. You beat both the storms and the common knowledge game. And if worse comes to worst, you can always sell your excess milk and bread to desperate, short-sighted neighbors at a high price.

That’s common knowledge. Again, it doesn’t matter whether the forecast is right. What matters is what everyone else will do in response to the forecast.

Now, back to Dr. Hunt and the old newspaper beauty queen contests:

[The 1930s was] the heyday of the Miss America contest and “bathing beauty” pageants everywhere), less so to us. Here’s how it works.

A newspaper would run a page of photographs of pretty girls, and readers were invited to mail in a ballot with their choice of the prettiest. If you picked the girl who got the most votes, you were entered into a drawing for some sort of prize. Voting for the girl you think is the prettiest is what Keynes would call the first degree of decision-making.

Now it doesn’t take a lot of thought before you realize that choosing the girl who you truly believe is the prettiest is probably not a winning strategy. To win, you need to choose the girl who gets the most votes as the prettiest, and your personal preferences aren’t nearly as useful in that task as figuring out who everyone else is going to vote for as the prettiest. Voting for the girl you anticipate more people will consider to be the prettiest is what Keynes would call the second degree of decision-making.

But there’s a big problem with the second degree. It assumes that everyone else is making a first degree decision, that everyone else is making a choice “on the merits” of the photographs and you’re the only one smart enough to think about the average preference of the group. As a result, you quickly realize that everyone will be thinking exactly like you are, so you need to make a third-degree decision – who will get the most votes when all the voters are basing their votes on who they think will get the most votes? This is the Sentiment game!

Note that this third-level decision probably has nothing to do with the relative or objective prettiness of the girls. If “everyone knows” that the brunette with the biggest smile tends to win, then that’s where you should place your vote regardless of your personal preference or your knowledge of everyone else’s personal preferences. It’s the “everyone knows” component of the contest – regardless of what the contest is fundamentally supposed to be about – that determines voting behavior and contest winners. To get beyond the third degree of decision-making requires a superior identification of whatever it is that “everyone knows”. As Keynes wrote, “We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be. And there are some, I believe, who practice the fourth, fifth and higher degrees.”

Just like shopping for staples before the snow storm, winning these beauty pageant contests required knowing what everyone else knows and anticipating their behavior.

My friend with all the Iomega stock was smart to buy when he did. If he sold near the peak, he was brilliant. If not, he might have lost a lot. Either way, though, he bought Iomega for the wrong reason. He bought Iomega because he loved the company, not because he expected everyone else to buy the stock. He wasn’t playing the common knowledge game. He was playing the corporate strategy game. My guess is he held onto the stock all the way to bottom. Unless he learned about game theory before the crash.

When you’re in a game like stocks, shopping for stables, or geopolitics (and geopolitics is a formal game), common knowledge must determine your moves. And common knowledge means you must behave as if everyone else will behave as if the key information were true even if it’s not.

Which brings us to Michael Savage and the Syrian sarin gas attack.

Dr. Savage has determined that the sarin gas attack was a false flag. Dr. Savage is not alone.

Now, let’s pretend Dr. Savage is right. Let’s just pretend that the sarin gas attack was a false flag. In other words, let’s pretend the Russians were right and there was no gas attack. Instead, anti-Assad forces staged the whole thing.

Remember, this is just make-believe, so don’t assume I’m a false-flagger. And don’t believe I’m not, either. Instead, ask yourself this: should the US response be different if Savage is right?

Your immediate answer will probably be, “Yes, of course.” You will probably tell yourself that, if the sarin attack was a false flag perpetrated by the rebels, then we should punish the rebels instead of Assad. That’s the logical and moral answer.

But is that the game theory answer?

Well, how many people besides Michael Savage and a few others believe the sarin attack was a false flag? Of those people who believe in the false-flag theory, what is their role in the game of geopolitics? Are they heads of state or of government? Do they have armies? Are they in the mass media, broadcasting into billions of brains 24/7?

Dr. Hunt reminds us what’s most important in the common knowledge game:

But the more precise answer is that the role of the Missionary is served by any signal that is propagated widely enough and publicly enough so that everyone thinks that everyone has heard the signal. The important thing is NOT that lots of people actually hear the signal. The important thing is that lots of people believe that lots of people heard the signal. The power source of Common Knowledge is not the crowd seeing an announcement or a press conference. The power source of Common Knowledge is the crowd seeing the crowd seeing an announcement or a press conference. This is why sitcom laugh tracks exist. This is why American Idol is filmed in front of an audience. This is why the Chinese government still bans any media mention of the Tiananmen Square protests more than 20 years after they occurred. The power of a crowd seeing a crowd is one of the most awesome forces in human society. It topples governments. It launches Crusades. It builds cathedrals. And it darn sure moves markets.

Geopolitics is a different game than national or local politics. But it’s still a game like stock markets. Geopolitics influences local politics, and vice versa. But it’s not a direct influence. And it’s imbalanced. Geopolitics has an immediate and ubiquitous effect on local politics, while local politics has a very slow, very gradual, and muted effect on geopolitics. Until those local events reach a tipping point.

WWII was a geopolitical event that affected the local politics of just about every country in the world. But WWII resulted from local political developments over the previous 30 years. It took a long time for local events in Germany and Japan to hit the world stage. And those local events in two countries had little influence on local politics in the USA. Until December 7, 1941, of course. Then everything changed.

Just as we stipulated that Savage was right about the false flag, let’s stipulate that all of the players in the geopolitical game will behave as if Savage was wrong. They might all know he’s right, but they also know that all the other players will behave as if he’s wrong. Like the beauty contest players, picking the prettiest girl isn’t the game. Picking the girl who will get the most votes is the game.

In Syria, the crowd saw the crowd seeing Bashar al-Assad gas babies, little babies. And that’s all that matters.

The US response, then, must be appropriate to a game in which all the other players will behave as if Assad gassed his own people. Who actually did it, if it was done at all, matters morally but not strategically.

If this story leaves you feeling dissatisfied. I’ll give you a thought experiment. What would happen if Trump had acted as if the Savage was right? How might that game unfold?

You may have your say in the comments below.

P.S. Even if you’re not interested in stocks, markets, and investments, Ben Hunt’s Epsilon Theory is a must-read site for anyone who likes to learn and think.

 

What Do I Mean By “Narrative”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“I don’t agree.”

Some folks disagreed with my instant assessment of the Syrian strike. My assessment: Trump’s surprise military attack will shift four narratives in Trump’s favor:

  • Trump is Hitler: dead
  • Trump is a Russian agent: dead
  • Trump is incompetent: dying
  • Trump is a lightweight among world leaders: dead

In other words, it took 59 cruise missiles to blow up the left’s anti-Trump narratives.

But my friends disagree. That’s okay. I don’t hang around with “yes” people.

Still, I figured I should at least explain what I mean by “narrative.”

Narrative, in this context, is the story we tell ourselves. It’s not the stories we are told. And the narratives develop from information that reaches the brain, often without awareness. (See the video below to learn just open you are to suggestion.)

Check this out first.

Right now, I am sitting in a cafe. One end of this cafe is huge atrium with glass on three sides and above your head. Looking out through the glass I see blooming trees. Those budding leaves are laboring to blot out the bright blue sky beyond. Those leaves want all that sunlight to themselves.

That’s the narrative in my head about what I see outside. Thirty or so other people can see the same world beyond that atrium. But I am pretty confident no one else sees the leaves conspiring to block my view of the sky (what color is the sky?). Each person has a slightly different narrative about those leaves.

If I were to stand up and announce my narrative, some people would adopt it as-is.

But most of those people would, instead, become aware of the view beyond the atrium. Their minds would conjure up a story about that they see. Their stories would be influenced by my bizarre outburst. They would not simply adopt my narrative. They would form their own narratives under my influence. And their narratives would influence everything they see through the atrium’s glass.

Until something else happens—some new influence—alters that narrative.

Now, back to the Syrian air strike.

Here you are reading my blog. You pay more attention to politics than most people do. You are more informed than many people, don’t you agree?

So think about the people who pay only slight attention to politics and world events. How do they fill their days? How do their brains craft narratives about the world?

Those people’s narratives form just like the people in the cafe looking out the atrium. Their brains pick up bits and pieces of someone else’s narrative to form their own.

CNN is on everywhere. In airports, restaurants, doctors offices, and even in this cafe where I’m writing. For months, those people have picked up narratives about “Hitler,” “Russia,” “clown,” and “isolationist.” Even without people knowing it, they’d formed a narrative in their own minds about President Trump. However they voted, if they voted at all, those narratives were influenced by CNN’s words. That’s simply how the brain works.

And those narratives got stronger and stronger every day. Until something caused people to re-evaluate their won private narratives. Something big enough, emotional enough, to make people pay attention for a moment.

Dying babies—babies!—gets their attention. Now, they’re listening.

And this is what they’re hearing:

“No child of God should ever suffer such horrors.”

“When you kill innocent children, innocent babies — babies! — little babies, … that crosses many, many lines. Beyond a red line, many, many lines.”

“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike . . . “

These are the words of President Trump. Trump’s biggest enemies—the people who have helped shape those scary narratives—repeat these words. They repeat Trump’s humanitarian, decisive words again and again. That’s high information density combined with high emotional intensity. The recipe for narrative change.

Imagine sitting in this atrium with your narrative about the trees. You’re not aware of that narrative. It’s deep inside your brain. You only recall it when you need it for some reason. As you sip your coffee, you don’t need your narrative. Then . . .

CRASH! A tree branch the length of a telephone pole crashes through the atrium.

The danger alerts your attention. Your brain pulls that old narrative out of cold storage. Then your brain updates that narrative. The shattering glass is new information. Whatever your old narrative might have been, it’s different now, guaranteed. It’s a different narrative now.

When President Trump crashed Assad’s slaughter party with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, he shattered a lot of atriums. Today, people are writing new narratives. And most of those new narratives involve a bold and decisive leader who can’t stand seeing babies slaughtered.

Everything has changed.

Now for that video I promised.

 

BACKFIRE: Psychological Tricks Used to Advance Russian Conspiracy Theory

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Newspapers lie. And by “newspapers,” I mean the whole mainstream media.

Yesterday I told you how Donald Trump punked the media by pulling a Crazy Ivan maneuver. A critic on Twitter thinks I’m lying. He thinks I’m lying because he read a news article. He read it in the New York Times.

This Twitter critic thinks it’s okay for the New York Times to lie (“Wiretapped Data Used In Inquiry of Trump Aides”), as long as they only lie in their headlines. If the body of the story contradicts the lie, then my Twitter critic says all’s well. A lot of people probably agree with him. People know that headlines are written to pull people in. To pull people in, sometimes you have to stretch the truth. Sometimes you have to stretch the truth until it snaps like a snow pea.

My Twitter critic is unusual. An odd duck. He reads news stories. Sometimes he reads them twice. But 60 percent to 80 percent of people read only the headline.

People can easily remember snappy headlines because they’re repeatable. And people repeat what they remember. Especially if it’s sensational and snappy.

When the New York Times wrote its sensational, snappy “wiretapped data” headline, it hoped to plant a snappy thought in millions of minds. A thought that people would find themselves repeating to others throughout the day. Which day? Inauguration Day.

Psychologically, the New  York Times did a great job. People are still repeating that January 19th headline. Even Donald Trump.

So maybe the story under that snappy headline cast doubt on the headline’s assertion. I don’t know. I didn’t read it. I didn’t read the article because I don’t want to give the New York Times a click count. Screw them. Besides, that headline told me everything I needed to know: Obama wiretapped Trump’s people.

Like the vast majority of people, I read the headline and remembered it. There’s an 80 percent chance you read only that headline, too. Most of us are not like my Twitter critic.

Since most people read only the headline, most people believe that Trump’s aides were questioned based on information obtained through secret wiretaps. Which is exactly what Trump said in his Twitter storm last Saturday. He said that Obama wiretapped his people. His source was the New York Times.

Maybe that New York Times headline was a lie. Maybe not. If it was a lie, then the whole Russian conspiracy theory was a lie. Can you fault President Trump for believing the newspaper of record?

But if that headline was accurate, if Obama really did wiretap Trump’s people, then Obama re-enacted Watergate and should be in jail.

And it all happened because the media used psychological tricks to convince people that the government wiretapped Trump’s people.

There’s no third avenue here since no one is required to read the whole story. No one.

 

How ObamaCare Benefits from the Scarcity Heuristic

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Concorde was a supersonic passenger plane. It shuttled people between New York and Paris very quickly.

When commercial Concorde flights began in 1976, the novelty and excitement of flying at twice the speed of sound led people to line up to take the flights. But after 27 years and several safety mishaps, the Concorde’s popularity waned. Flights were often less than half full, so British Airways, the operator, was losing money. Bigly.

In 2002, the company that operated the service announced the Concorde’s last flight would be in 2003.

Every flight sold out immediately. The impending death of the Concorde made the flight more popular than ever. Why?

There’s no rational explanation for this surge in popularity. If you didn’t need to get to Paris in an hour before the announcement, you didn’t need to after the announcement.

So why did the failing jet service become popular?

It’s called the scarcity heuristic. People value things that are rare, hard to get, or about to expire. My persuasion hero, Robert Cialdini, names scarcity as one of just six principles of persuasion. According to Behavioral Economics:

When an object or resource is less readily available (e.g, due to limited quantity or time), we tend to perceive it as more valuable (Cialdini, 2008). Scarcity appeals are often used in marketing to induce purchases. An experiment (Lee & Seidle, 2012) that used wristwatch advertisements as stimuli exposed participants to one of two different product descriptions “Exclusive limited edition. Hurry, limited stocks” or “New edition. Many items in stock”. They then had to indicate how much they would be willing to pay for the product. The average consumer was willing to pay an additional 50% if the watch was advertised as scarce.

We’re seeing the scarcity heuristic benefit Obamacare’s popularity right now. Fox News reports that support for Obamacare is surging just as Republicans prepare to kill it:

According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll, there is an even split betweenregistered voters who support the law and those who oppose it. Currently, 45 percent approve of the legislation compared to a poll back in January—before President Trump took office—that showed 41 percent of voters approved of the bill.

This surge in popularity frightens a lot of our weak Republican members of Congress. It shouldn’t.

The only reason for the surge is scarcity. Were President Trump and Paul Ryan to announce that they’re leaving Obamacare alone, support for the program would wane because people don’t value what’s abundant.

Urge your lawmakers to ignore the scarcity-driven polls and kill Obamacare because it’s the right thing to do.