Thingish Things

What are the Odds?

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Mar• 22•11

What are the odds that Muammar Gaddafi will no longer be the leader of Libya by year’s end?

It’s not a rhetorical question.  You can bet on it.  The line out of Dublin today is 72.4% on the Libyan dictator being gone by then.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the InTrade market, it provides a fascinating glimpse into predictions on hundreds of world events as set by the globe’s greatest experts – people willing to wage money on the outcomes.

Will Sarah Palin formally announce a run for President before midnight on December 31, 2011? There is a 41% chance according to InTrade today.

Will Mitch Daniels be the GOP presidential nominee in 2012?  Bettors say there’s an 8.8% chance.

They put the odds of Charlie Sheen being back in rehab or prison by the end of June at an even 40%  (That’s a gimme.)

The University of Iowa began a similar market, The Iowa Political Stock Market , two decades ago to test the accuracy of political predictions when money was an incentive.  For a while – I don’t if this is still true – the markets proved to be more effective than traditional polling.  When people predict with their wallets rather than their hearts, they tend to be more precise, the Iowa market showed.

These markets swing back and forth as world events unfold.  That’s what makes them interesting – and educational – to watch.

In the five minutes since beginning this post, the odds of Gaddafi being ousted by the end of the year went up to 75%.

Could be someone at NATO weighing in.






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  1. […] reported.  But it’s still interesting to see how recent events have manifested themselves in the InTrade Market, the Irish-based stock market for political predictions.  InTrade is where people wager real money […]

  2. […] than half of bettors on the Dublin-based InTrade Predictions Market are waging that a deal to raise the U.S. Federal Debt Limit will not be penned […]

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