Day After the Debate: Intrade Odds of Republican Candidates Securing Presidential Nomination

Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Image

Today, it seems that everyone has their own opinion on who helped themselves and who didn’t in last night’s Republican presidential candidates’ debate. And consensus is hard to come by, even in the same news room.

Take the Washington Post, for example. On its PostPartisan blog, first Richard Cohen wants us to think that Rick Perry was the “Big Loser” of the night. But then 90 minutes later, his colleague Marc Thiessen weighs in saying that Perry “had a very good night.” Rather than relying on Beltway journalists to decide who won and who lost, I figured: why not see what the market is saying? So I headed over to Intrade to take a look at the odds for who will wind up as the 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee.

It does appear that Perry is slipping after last night’s debate. Even in the time it took me to put this blog post together, he’s lost a percentage point, going from 37.5% to 36.4%. While Mitt Romney has remained even so far today at 36.3%. These markets are of course fluid, but here’s a snapshot of the current Intrade odds for each candidate from last night’s debate, and how they’ve moved over the last week.

Rick Perry: 36.4%


Mitt Romney: 36.3%


Jon Huntsman: 7%


Ron Paul: 2.8%


Michele Bachmann: 2.6%


Newt Gingrich: 1.3%


Herman Cain: .6%


Rick Santorum: .2%


If you just buy them all that only sums to an 87.2% chance to get the nomination which would amount to a 14.6% return if anyone in this list gets the nomination. Arbitrage opportunity?

Erik Jensen

I'm guessing that the 14.6% represents the implicit probability of a late entrant winning.

Brandon Griffin

Not bad, but these graphs tell a lie. You see, the first thing a viewer wants to do is compare at a glance the magnitudes of the lines on each graph. However, the scale of the price is not consistent between the graphs, even though the graphs are all the same size. The lie, then, is the appearance that Rick Santorum generally had better odds than anyone else, which, once you look at the numbers, is clearly untrue.

The point here, everyone, is that graphs are meant to ease the interpretation of numbers and give them context. It is therefore vital that they are consistent and truthful in their representations, particularly when presented comparatively as these are. I just gave MSNBC a similar lecture for the horrible lie that is the graph they present on


Seriously, if you have problem reading above graphs, you got issues.
What you want t do, make the graph for Perry and Romney 3 pages high?

Brandon Griffin

Dear YX,

Thanks for trying to flame me without identifying yourself. That's very bold of you. I'm sure your political opinions are well-informed and intelligent.

The presenter is responsible for accurate and truthful presentation, period. Do I want a graph 3 pages high? No. I want presentation that tells the truth. For example, the magnitude of the graph in Santorum's case is unnecessary, and the change from .2% and .3% is irrelevant in the overall data, except as a joke (which I realize is a theme on this site).

I also realize that these graphs are screen shots from another Web site. Still, they tell a lie.
Given that this is a Web site, a distinctly interactive medium, the presenter might consider showing one graph with everyone's data, and then using fly-outs for the tighter details.

Do yourself a favor and read anything from this list of books:



Brandon, gotta love a Tufte reference! You are so right about the scale mismatch making it difficult to read the intended message. I don't think it is intentional. Probably just an ignorance of good data presentation techniques.

dave gant

Who ever the GOP nominee is, if you care about your money, you won't vote for him.

NOTE THIS FROM FORBES earlier this year before the tea party came to DC.

What a difference their negative, unrealistic views have made: lower debt rating,
trouble in market, tho bit better now.

Top 50 Financial Advisors: Methodology
Forbes staff, 01.13.11, 06:00 PM EST
The last 12 months have been good to financial advisors. .
- Hide quoted text -

Dow Jones Close 1/20/09 - Stock Market Closing Prices

Dow Jones Industrial Average ( DJIA ) Close - 7949.09 Down 332.13
Nasdaq Stock Market Close - 1440.86 Down 88.47
S&P 500 Close - 805.23 Down 44.89


As of today, with DJIA at 11469 there has been a 44% increase in the Dow
since Obama took office.

That is an unprecedented creation of wealth. When has this occurred under any
other president.

If the Dow was down 44% since Obama took office, investors and other Americans
might have just cause for complaint.

DJIA went from about 10000 down to 7949 for tad over 20% loss during gw bush's
8 year term, which is not the way investors and others want their money to grow or
in this case not grow.

What we want our money to do: DJIA was about 3300 when Clinton came to office
and 10000 when he left for about 203% increae.

That's the way to grow wealth and GDP, and remember Clinton gave gw bush a
surplus and bush gave Obama a trillion dollar deficit.

Is there any question Democrats make more money for you and the country than GOP?



I'm a Democrat, but I mean, correlation vs causation.

Chris Reed

Why hasn't this blog or another one with similar interests and resources looked into what happened to the Intrade odds on whether Dominique Strauss-Kahn would be convicted of a felony in the hotel case? In glancing at the site on the Friday that the New York Times broke the story that investigators had severe doubts about the credibility of the accuser, it looked like betting swang heavily toward the against bet hours before the first NYT report. It went from 4 to 1 he'd be convicted to 4 to 1 he'd be acquitted in short order.

Which suggests insider trading of a most unique kind by people at the NYT, NYPD or NY District Attorney's Office. This is super juicy. Please pursue!