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My Two Cents

The Intrade bettors

Chris Farrell Oct 14, 2008

Bloomberg has a good story on what the bettors at Intrade are predicting when it comes to the presidential election:

Barack Obama is likely to pick up 364 Electoral College votes, far surpassing the 270 needed to claim the presidency, by winning battleground states including Virginia, Ohio, Florida, and Colorado, online traders say.

Bettors on the Dublin-based Intrade’s political futures market believe Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate, will prevail in all the states won by party nominee John Kerry in 2004, in addition to picking up other previously Republican strongholds such as Nevada and Missouri. Arizona Senator John McCain, the Republican nominee, would pick up 174 Electoral votes, winning states such as Texas, Indiana and West Virginia.

The bettors are speculating that Obama has a nearly 78% chance of winning the White House come November.

I tend to follow the Iowa political futures market more than Intrade because it’s much harder for U.S. investors to place their bets with the Dublin based company. (It’s considered offshore betting.) The big advantage of Intrade, however, is that its based on Electoral College votes. Either way, I don’t understand why political coverage doesn’t pay at least as much attention to both futures markets as they do to the polls–if not more.

Such markets have been more accurate than polls in past elections. In part, that’s because people are placing money on what they expect to happen as opposed to what they would like to happen and who they plan to support.

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