McCain Pulls Ahead Where It Really Matters

For those of you who put more stock in betting/prediction markets than in electoral polling, here’s what you’ve been waiting to hear: John McCain has just narrowly pulled ahead of Barack Obama on InTrade.

This is news. It is perhaps not so surprising to see McCain/Palin get a big convention/Palin-novelty bump in opinion polls, for such polls merely mirror the public’s short-term attention span. But people who bet this market for real money, even if the sums aren’t great, are necessarily longer-term bettors.

FWIW, InTrade also shows that the chances of Palin being removed from the ticket have fallen to about 6 percent. Interestingly (to me at least), InTrade has Joe Biden more likely than Palin to be removed from the ticket, at nearly 8 percent. (Keep in mind, however, that the volume is so low as to be almost meaningless.)

D J Schlenker

There is something suspicious about the Intrade-dot-net site. It shows a blue/red colored map depicting a VERY LIKELY state-level outcome . . . but the numbers at the top (McCain 272, Obama 266) do not total out correctly if you add up the colored states). Punch the "first past the post" button that sits majestically atop Lake Superior, and the ACTUAL electoral college totals that really would correspond to this scenario are revealed (Obama 273, McCain 265). [Hit the "Info" button and read the comments there for the explanation]. Perhaps people on Intrade are speculating based on some faulty/mis-leading information . . .


Interesting to hear people say Obama is going to lose. I live in liberalville, USA (Santa Cruz, CA) and everyone is all for Obama. They're a little discouraged by the poll numbers, but I they think, as I do, that this will pass.

It is rather sad that McCain is doing so well given Bush's really low approval rating. I have always believed his approval rating to be artificially low, however. Many don't like Bush and outright hate him, but many people still agree with the fundamental principles that he espouses (e.g. conservative economic principles--which he doesn't really act upon ironically, conservative moral values, and pro-american security).

But, tides shift and it's probably going to be the dem's day in the sun.

However, I think if McCain did become president he'd stick it to the GOP and pass bi-partisan legislation, forsaking conservative principles for pragmatic purposes. If the type of change people want is cooperation in Washington, McCain is the man to vote for. If the type of change people want is liberal policy as opposed to conservative policy, Obama is the man to vote for.



its quite depressing for the rest of the world to see obama slip behind mccain, america wake up! no one in their right mind will vote for mccain


This too shall pass.

Jared D

All Barack Obama had to do to build on his tremendous groundswell was slowly present solid and somewhat specific ideas on pertinent issues. To date he has failed to find the opportunities to do such. The general public and even a few of his more ardent supporters I know are growing tired of the (undefined) CHANGE message. The lipstick comments have also made him seem like an old-school politician vice agent-of-change. McCain's stock rising has as much to do with Obama's lack of decisive action as anything McCain has done himself in the last 30 days.

tia e

as a democrat we must dump BO, it's over for that loser, and worry about hanging onto congress


Go for it, Barb. Didn't Alex Baldwin promise much the same thing about George Bush in 2000?


Palin is great. McCain is a hero. I am glad that he is winning. I will actually vote Republican. Who woulda thought?

Clay C

It is not necessarily correct that "people who bet this market for real money, even if the sums aren’t great, are necessarily longer-term bettors." I do not think I have ever held an InTrade contract until the event actually occurs, I always take my profits (or losses) during the continuing pre- (or during-) event trading.

Seth Burn

The largest political market in terms of volume seems to be Matchbook. It only allows for betting on individual states and the presidential election (no Senate races, etc), but the offers there are simply far larger than most of what I am seeing on Intrade right now. I should add there is an arbitrage opportunity to bet on Obama at Intrade and McCain at Matchbook.

Actually, I should be more specific. There are some very large offers, generally in the afternoon on which side wins, the GOP or the Democrats, whereas Intrade has most of its volume on McCain or Obama.


Barb, I hope that's a promise! It would be great news for America!


My Sportsbook is still paying $1.61 to 1 on Obama, and $2.20 to $1 on McCain.


I think I will probably leave the country if McCain/Palin end up in office.


Joe Biden said a few days ago that Hillary would be a better VEEP candidate. I'm surprised the markets didn't act more strongly on his potential removal from the ticket.


I think the worn and weak msg that McCain is Bush has really hurt Obama. It's not a msg of change it's a leap of reasoning, and McCain has shown already that he's nobody's lapdog. Obama made a poor choice in Biden - not that he's bad, but it wasn't a good choice from a strategic perspective when your msg is only change. Like it or not Hillary would have been that choice, and now Biden's saying that as well. That's what I'm hearing on the ground, and it's getting up into the markets and the polls.

Johnny Disaster


I think Ben meant she looked bad as in 'she looked like an idiot'... like not knowing what the Bush Doctrine was. You can turn down the artificial umbrage now.


Ben: Who cares what your vice presedent looks like? Talk about all women need to look "great" to be taken seriously?


Can we please keep this discussion about the political markets, and not about the politics themselves?


This is not news. Look at where the prediction markets were a day or two before the republican VP selection -- not even close.

Since becoming popular in the last couple of years, these markets are frequented more by the online poker/blackjack crowd than the wall-street call-it-like-it-is crowd.


Commenter #7 has it right. As in all markets, there are people who try to be ahead of the herd. They bought McCain when they saw that things were going his way post-RNC convention. They may be looking for signs to sell him now.