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Hillary Clinton slumps, Donald Trump jumps

Clinton and Trump
The odds that Donald Trump will be elected president rose from its slump on the Iowa Electronic Markets, presumably due to reports about Hillary Clinton’s emails. (GeekWire graphic)

How much of a game-changer is the report that the FBI is looking into emails linked to an aide to Hillary Clinton, less than two weeks before the election? It’s a shocker, based on news reports as well as a sharp drop in Clinton’s stock on the Iowa Electronic Markets.

The IEM is one of the few places in the U.S. where traders can legally put down real money on the chances that a candidate will be elected president. It’s been weighing presidential campaigns – and doing at least as well as traditional polls – since 1988.

The market was set up by the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business as an educational project to study whether market-based mechanisms could anticipate real-world outcomes in realms outside the business world.

Other political prediction markets, ranging from PredictWise to FiveThirtyEight to Bing, have followed in the IEM’s footsteps. Those markets, however, generally aren’t as quick to reflect sudden changes in how traders see the campaign shaping up.

Before today, the IEM’s traders were assessing Clinton’s chances of election at around 90 percent. After the FBI news broke, those chances plunged to around 68 percent. GOP candidate Donald Trump’s chances rose correspondingly, from 10 to around 32 percent.

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ScienceDebate.org quiz challenges candidates

Image: U.S. flag on space station
The U.S. flag is unfurled for Flag Day 2015 inside the International Space Station. (Credit: Scott Kelly / NASA)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she loves science. GOP candidate Donald Trump says he loves NASA. The Green Party says it’s bizarre to claim that its nominee, Jill Stein, is anti-science. And Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has talked about making decisions on “scientifically based” criteria.

But where exactly do they stand on the key issues relating to science and technology?

ScienceDebate.org and more than 50 other nonpartisan organizations want to find out, and today they’re urging all four of those presidential campaigns to provide answers to questions about 20 issues.

“Taken together, these 20 issues have at least a profound an impact on voters’ lives as those more frequently covered by journalists, including candidates’ views on economic policy, foreign policy, and faith and values,” Shawn Otto, ScienceDebate.org’s chair, said in a news release.

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Donald Trump disses America’s space program

Image: Donald Trump
GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump looks upward as he discusses his policy agenda at a town hall meeting in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Credit: Donald Trump Speeches & Events via YouTube)

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been going through a series of reversals this week, and today’s highlights include the dissing of America’s space program.

“Someone just asked me backstage, ‘Mr. Trump, will you get involved in the space program?’” he said during a town hall in Daytona Beach. Fla. “Look what’s happened with your employment. Look what’s happened with our whole history of space and leadership. Look what’s going on, folks. We’re like a Third World nation.”

The rare reference to space policy was sandwiched within nearly an hour’s worth of campaign rhetoric, and the comments catered to a Florida crowd. Employment on the Space Coast was hit hard by the space shuttle fleet’s retirement in 2011. Thousands of jobs were lost.

Now Florida’s aerospace jobs are starting to come back, thanks to SpaceX’s launches and landings, NASA’s commercial crew program, the development of the Orion crew vehicle, Blue Origin’s orbital space program and other ventures. Nevertheless, complaints about jobs resonate with Floridians who suffered through the post-shuttle blues and the Obama administration’s cancellation of the Constellation back-to-the-moon program.

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Hillary Clinton goes after the ‘X-Files’ vote

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Hillary Clinton addressed the UFO issue during a meeting with editors. (Credit: @HillaryClinton)

If the truth about UFOs is out there, Hillary Clinton says she’ll be on it as president.

When the Democratic presidential front-runner vowed to “get to the bottom” of the alien-visitation issue, she just might have locked up the “X-Files” vote – while giving her critics one more thing to taunt her with.

Clinton’s comment came at the end of a recent chat with the editorial board of the Conway Daily Sun in New Hampshire, which holds its first-in-the-nation presidential primary on Feb. 9. Reporter Daymond Steer reminded her about a conversation they had about UFOs in 2007, and that perked up the candidate.

“Yes, I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” Clinton reportedly replied.

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