Bob Barr markets

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Reason, a libertarian periodical, writes that the Bob Barr effect is &#8220-confirmed.&#8221- Because Obama&#8217-s campaign manager says it is.

Yes, pathetically a pro-market publication heeds the remarks of a political operative rather than markets that say Bob Barr will not make an impact.

Admittedly we have very little signal from prediction markets and lots of noise from political operatives, so writing about the latter makes for easier journalism.

There are now Intrade contracts on Barr&#8217-s share of the popular vote. Perhaps they&#8217-ll provide a little more signal, but I don&#8217-t have high hopes for reasonable trading volume &#8212- or for libertarian politicos embracing markets when the message of market prices might not correspond to their hallucinations.

Bob Barr candidacy fails market test.

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Yesterday at about 5:30PM EDT the Libertarian Party (U.S.) nominated ex-Congressperson Bob Barr for U.S. President. Barr’s nomination does not appear to have been certain — it took five rounds of voting, including two rounds where he tied for first and one in which in placed second.

So what do the relevant prediction markets make of this new information? Is Barr a contender, a potential spoiler, or irrelevant?

At Intrade, PRES.FIELD2008 has attracted no trades since May 22, three days before Barr&#8217-s nomination. We didn&#8217-t need a market to tell us a Libertarian Party nominee would not be a contender, nor help the chances of another non-Democrat and non-Republican.

The idea that Barr could be a spoiler is not completely ridiculous on its face (Barr and Wayne Allen Root, his running mate, are both recent ex-Republicans). However, PRES.DEM2008 has attracted no trades since May 24, the day before Barr&#8217-s nomination, while PRES.REP2008 did not trade between 18 hours before the nomination and over 3 hours after.

I think we can conclude that traders believe Barr’s nomination will have no impact on the outcome of the election. And, sadly, that volume on Intrade is pathetic.