Thingish Things

Reality Check with Intrade

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Sep• 26•11

Obama Intrade Re-Election Graph

I like to check in from time to time with Dublin’s Intrade prediction market to see what bettors are thinking about U.S. elections.  Intrade (presumably) is a for-profit version of the Iowa Futures Market created some years ago by the University of Iowa to test the accuracy of political predictions when money is at stake. Those predictions have proved to be dead on in most cases.

Intrade often lags U.S. polling, which serves as a snapshot in time. Bettors weigh long-term factors.  President Obama’s drop in the polls, for example, had not been exactly reflected in the Intrade market.  But today, for the first time, I noticed that President Obama is given less than a 50% chance by bettors of being re-elected.  That’s a big development. The President is now given 47.7% odds of winning office again in 2012.

Another interesting tidbit is that Intrade bettors vastly prefer Mitt Romney over Rick Perry, $44.2% to 24.9%, where most U.S. polls have Perry several points ahead of Romney. Bettors clearly see Romney as more electable and they are wagering he can make it through the primary.  These numbers can all change at the drop of a hat, of course.  President Obama had a 70% re-election prediction when Osama bin Laden was dispatched to the deep, but, like bin Laden, his numbers quickly sank. 

One more thing.  What are the odds that Governor Chris Christie announces for President before the end of the year?  I’ll tell you exactly.  They are 21% as of today.  Dublin says so. 



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