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Super Tuesday Viewer’s Guide: A Guest Post

I have heard from plenty of nervous friends around the country, anticipating the results from Super Tuesday. Truth is, I haven’t a clue who will win. But I thought it worth offering up my own forecast:

My key forecast for tonight is that the televised pundits will reveal all sorts of confusion. Tracking results across more than twenty states, and interpreting both general trends, and also their broader implications for states that are yet to vote is simply too hard for any individual brain.

And this is why I will spend tonight watching the ticker from political prediction markets a lot more closely than I’ll be watching the talking heads. Think of the market as distributed computing: Traders around the country (and around the world) will be working jointly to make sense of the numbers as they come in-early reports of turnout, leaked exit polls, demographic splits, and incomplete vote tallies from around the nation. The markets, in turn, aggregate these alternative streams of data into a useful summary of the overall trend.

I recall watching the 2006 midterm elections this way, and just as the networks were telling me at around midnight that the Senate would likely stay Republican, the prediction markets (correctly) pointed to a likely Democratic takeover. An hour later, the networks started to come to terms with the same data that the distributed computing provided by the market had already crunched.

Read the full column here.

And if you have been watching the markets, you will likely have noticed the recent Obama surge. As I write this at approximately 5 pm today, Obama has drawn level with Clinton, and is rated a 50 percent chance to win the Democratic nomination, just ahead of Clinton at 49 percent. So it’s a coin flip on the Democratic side.