Mitt Romney [or Sarah Palin] will be the Republican vice presidential nominee.

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Tim Pawlenty won’-t go in Dayton, Ohio. So, it’-s Mitt Romney.

The play-money and real-money prediction markets were easily fooled with the Pawlenty rumors, yesterday.

That vindicates my message that the VP prediction markets feed on unreliable primary indicators.

I said from day one to be careful with the VP prediction markets.

I told you so.

UPDATE: It’-s probably Sarah Palin.

The vetting of the many potential Democratic vice president nominees was not as secretive as I thought. – Bo Cowgill was right, in hindsight.

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The New York Times has a recount on how Barack Obama reached his decision on Joe Biden. The final decision was probably made 10 days ago, while Barack Obama was vacationing in Hawaii.

[...] Mr. Obama’s decision had as much to do with Mr. Biden’s appeal among white working-class voters and compelling personal story, and his conclusion that the Delaware senator was “-a worker.”-

The important information in the NYT piece is that Barack Obama personally called governor Bill Richardson “-late last week”- to announce him that he was not considered anymore. That’-s around the time the Joe Biden rumor began to have more weight in the media circles —-see the InTrade chart below.

Bo Cowgill, back in May 2008 (when I started to act as a prophet of doom):

This is dumb. Cover them if something interesting happens. Maybe your theory will turn out to be wrong. Anyhow: Although the decision is made in secrecy, the Presidential nominees have a number incentives which we have plenty of information about. Specifically:
* They want someone who will balance their tickets in terms of geography, race and class.
* They want someone who will help with weak areas of their campaigns.
* They want someone who will be a good campaign surrogate — giving good speeches and attacking the opponents effectively.
* They want to avoid a VP who will de-motivate or offend the base.
* They want to avoid someone with a bunch of skeletons in the closet such as angry ex-wives, out-of-wedlock kids, etc.
* Etc etc.
Anyhow, I don’t see any reason to ignore these markets in case something interesting happens. I read Midas Oracle so that I don’t *have* to read a whole bunch of other websites!

Bo Cowgill was on the right track, now that I think of it —-in a society where everything leaks out.

On the opposite of the spectrum, Tom Snee was too much extreme in his view:

According to Tom Snee of the Iowa Electronic Market, at Iowa University, futures markets need more hard information than they get in the veepstakes, to reliably predict a result.

Markets are very good at predicting elections, he says – but not choices being made inside Barack Obama’-s or John McCain’-s head.

Justin Wolfers was more measured.

So, Bo Cowgill and Justin Wolfers are the winners, on that one.

I was partially wrong. I am a bit too extreme, sometimes. (Did someone else notice that? :-D ) I need to learn more about…- granularity.

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PS: On the Republican side, now…-

Price for 2008 Republican VP Nominee (others upon request)(expired at convention) at intrade.com

Who will be the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee?

Never trust a politician.

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Barack Obama + Joe Biden – THE PREDICTION MARKETS NAILED IT… triple alas (for my reputation as a world-wide prediction market pundit, and for the debate on the different quality of the various primary indicators out there).

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“Friend —- I have some important news that I want to make official. I’ve chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate.”

Some blogger says his wife is fantastic.

New York Times portrait of Joe Biden.

UPDATE: Barack Obama’-s speech + Joe Biden’-s speech

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I think it is the worst pick ever. What a blunder. Joe Biden (a D.C. insider) is unpopular and gaffe prone. Plus, that choice shows that Barack Obama is insecure when it comes to foreign policy. An emphasis on the economy and, thus, on a successful gubernatorial experience would have been better.

Kathleen Sebelius was the one to pick. She is my vice president. (And Ron Paul is my president. :-D )

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I have over-estimated the secretiveness of Barack Obama’-s decision process. The chart above obviously shows that the Joe Biden narrative leaked out to reporters was beamed out for a purpose: testing the Obama-needs-a-VP-who-is-strong-in-foreign-policy argument, and letting the Press do the final vetting on gaffe-prone Joe Biden.

InTrade CEO John Delaney (along with the HubDub and BetFair people) will now brag on his marketing material that his prediction exchange did forecast Joe Biden as the Democratic vice president nominee.

What’-s bad in all that (other than I have an egg on my face [*] ) is that we won’-t have a public debate on the different quality of the various primary indicators, and how that conditions the accuracy of the prediction markets.

[*] I have an egg on my face, but Caveat Bettor has a whole omelet on his. :-D

While InTrade CEO John Delaney is deceiving the journalists to sell his wares, Tom Snee of the Iowa Electronic Markets is telling them the truth: BEWARE THE VP-CANDIDATE PREDICTION MARKETS, THEY JUST AGGREGATE RUMORS.

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BBC News:

According to Tom Snee of the Iowa Electronic Market, at Iowa University, futures markets need more hard information than they get in the veepstakes, to reliably predict a result.

Markets are very good at predicting elections, he says – but not choices being made inside Barack Obama’-s or John McCain’-s head.

Thank God for the BBC.

Thank God for the Iowa Electronic Markets.

Shame on John Delaney —-over 3 generations of Delaneys.

Other than Tom Snee (the IEM spin doctor), Chris Masse and Justin Wolfers are the only prediction market analysts to have sent out warnings about the VP-candidate prediction markets.

VP conditional probabilities

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BetFair is running markets on both who will be the next vice president and who will be nominated by the two parties.

As we’-ve discussed before in other contexts, one can divide two probabilities like these to obtain a conditional probability: e.g., if the Democrats put X on the ticket, they will win the general election Y% of the time (where Y = odds of X becoming VP/odds of X being nominated).

These markets are thin, so the conditional probabilities should be taken with a grain of salt. But they are interesting nonetheless:

The pattern I see here is that conditional probabilities are higher for fresh faces (Webb, Sebelius- and arguably Bayh and Richardson despite their longer tenure) than for the old guard (Clinton, Nunn, Biden).

Of course, these should be viewed as correlations, not necessarily causal effects. For example, two possible explanations are: 1) putting a fresh face on the ticket helps Obama, either because there is less baggage or less of a contrast in national-politics resume length, or 2) Obama will only pick an old guard candidate in the state of the world in which he needs to shore up a weakness (i.e., picking Clinton to end a civil war, or Nunn to add foreign policy experience).
On the GOP side:

Huckabee has the highest conditional probability, and Pawlenty and Jindal are noticeably lower. Interpreting this one is harder: it depends on what aspect of Huckabee one thinks the market is expecting to be appealing (religion, likeability, Southernness, selective economic populism).

Technical note: the bids and asks reported above are actual quotes scrapped this AM- the mids are (bid+ask)/2, rescaled to add to 100 across all candidates.