2008 US Presidential and Congressional Elections Prediction: The Sarah Palin effect has partially evaporated, but its remains point to a close race, come Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

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#1. Explainer On Prediction Markets

Prediction markets produce dynamic, objective probabilistic predictions on the outcomes of future events by aggregating disparate pieces of information that traders bring when they agree on prices. Prediction markets are meta forecasting tools that feed on the advanced indicators (i.e., the primary sources of information). Garbage in, garbage out&#8230- Intelligence in, intelligence out&#8230-

A prediction market is a market for a contract that yields payments based on the outcome of a partially uncertain future event, such as an election. A contract pays $100 only if candidate X wins the election, and $0 otherwise. When the market price of an X contract is $60, the prediction market believes that candidate X has a 60% chance of winning the election. The price of this event derivative can be interpreted as the objective probability of the future outcome (i.e., its most statistically accurate forecast). A 60% probability means that, in a series of events each with a 60% probability, then 6 times out of 10, the favored outcome will occur- and 4 times out of 10, the unfavored outcome will occur.

Each prediction exchange organizes its own set of real-money and/or play-money markets, using either a CDA or a MSR mechanism.

More Info:

– The Best Resources On Prediction Markets = The Best External Web Links + The Best Midas Oracle Posts

– Prediction Market Science

– The Midas Oracle Explainers On Prediction Markets

– All The Midas Oracle Explainers On Prediction Markets

#2. Objective Probabilistic Predictions = Charts Of Prediction Markets

Put your mouse on your selected chart, right-click, and open the link in another browser tab to get directed to the prediction market page of your favorite exchange.

2008 US Elections


2008 US Electoral College

2008 Electoral Map Prediction = InTrade – Electoral College Prediction Markets = Probabilistic predictions for the 2008 US presidential elections based on market data from InTrade = electoralmarkets.com

– This is a dynamic chart, which is up to date. Click on the image, and open the website in another browser tab to get the bigger version.

Yahoo! Election 2008 Political Dashboard

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(Cross posted from Oddhead Blog.)

I&#8217-m happy to report the launch of the Yahoo! Election &#8216-08 Political Dashboard. Using the dashboard, you can navigate through a wealth of election-related data, including prediction market data from intrade.com, polling data from Real Clear Politics, search buzz data from Yahoo!, and financial contributions data, regional demographic data, and historical voting records from AP. You can view the election landscape from the national level or dive in deeper to investigate trends state by state.

Yiling, Tej, Lance, and I played supporting roles among a cast that includes fantastic teams at Yahoo! News, UI/Design, Ops, Q&amp-A, and more.

We&#8217-ve come a long way since 2006.

See also coverage from TechCrunch and the Yahoo! corporate blog.

Previous: From Chris &#8220-Outrageous Spin&#8221- Masse.

Electability of Hillary Clinton according to InTrade-TradeSports = 65%

Eddy Elfenbein at Crossing Wall Street:

I written about this topic before but one of the things I find fascinating about finance is how you can use markets for two items to create an “implied market” for a third. This idea is at the root of all the complex financial instruments that caused problems for so many hedge funds recently.

I’ll give you a good example. At InTrade.com, the site where you can trade futures on real world events, you can buy contracts on which candidate will win his or her party’s nomination [*] next year. There’s a separate contract for which candidate will win the presidency [**].

Let&#8217-s break out some math, shall we?

If you divide the latter [**] by the former [*], you get an “electability” contract.
For example, according to recent prices, Rudy Giuliani has a 41.5% chance (I&#8217-m using the last price) of getting the GOP nomination and an 18.4% of winning the presidency. Soooo&#8230- the market believes that if he gets the nomination, he has a 44.34% chance of winning (18.4% [**] divided by 41.5% [*]).

(The only minor flaw is that could include a candidate winning but not getting the nomination, however, I’m content with dismissing that possibility as beyond remote.)

What’s interesting is electability in the general election can have little impact on how well a candidate does in the primaries. Some people, myself included, think that Ronald Reagan would have had a better chance of beating Jimmy Carter in 1976 instead of Gerald Ford, even though Ford beat Reagan for the nomination.

I should add that I don’t place a great deal of faith in these real world futures markets. I simply see them as fun games to enjoy, but not to take too seriously.
Also, the markets aren’t very liquid. A minor change could have a big impact on the smaller-priced contracts.

Having said that, here’s a look at some candidates and the market’s take on their electability (sorry Paulites and Edwards fan, your candidates were too low to get a useful meaure).

Candidate………To Get Nomination….To Win&#8230-&#8230-&#8230-&#8230-Electability

Author Profile&nbsp-Editor and Publisher of Midas Oracle .ORG .NET .COM &#8212- Chris Masse&#8217-s mugshot &#8212- Contact Chris Masse &#8212- Chris Masse&#8217-s LinkedIn profile &#8212- Chris Masse&#8217-s FaceBook profile &#8212- Chris Masse&#8217-s Google profile &#8212- Sophia-Antipolis, France, E.U. Read more from this author&#8230-

Read the previous blog posts by Chris. F. Masse:

  • Comments are now completely open on Midas Oracle.
  • Albert Einstein, Chairman of the Midas Oracle Advisory Board
  • Erratic –but not Stochastic– Charts
  • Barack Obama is the 44th US president.
  • We already have prediction markets in future tax rates. It’s called the municipal bond yield curve.
  • O’Reilly – Money-Tech Conference

Could a political campaign use prediction markets?

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This is cross-posted from our Inkling Markets blog where we have far fewer readers than the illustrious Midas Oracle. :)&#8230-


There are several prediction marketplaces out there for the upcoming U.S. election season and probably more to come. All the ones we know of are intended for participation by the general public. But what if a Presidential campaign ran an internal marketplace? How could prediction markets be used to give a campaign a competitive advantage? We put our political operative hats on for a few minutes and came up with some scenarios:

Resource Allocations

Speaking to veterans of previous presidential campaigns, one of the biggest issues mentioned was building consensus internally on resource allocation across the primaries, then for the general election. Conflicting polling data and infighting among advisors often led to the abandonment of several states where post-mortem analysis of actual voting patterns showed the candidate would have had a chance. Using prediction markets as input to resource allocation decisions, questions could be asked that compare performance metrics across different states, i.e. levels of support among certain voter blocs, predicted endorsements, outcomes of local elections that could impact the general election, etc. This type of information is hard to gather through traditional polling mechanisms but could easily be captured across participants from individual states, locales, and the general campaign.

Fundraising Forecasts

We assume existing forecasting methods used by campaigns are fairly accurate at anticipating how much money will be raised on a quarterly basis from a defined donor list. What may not be as well defined, however, is the impact of various campaign maneuvers on donation levels. For example, a campaign could internally test various scenarios with national campaign staff, field workers, even undecided voters to see if certain activities drive increased fundraising. If the campaign goes through with the activity, the campaign could evaluate the market and pay it out. If not, the market could simply be refunded. Of course, a campaign could also use prediction markets as further input to official forecasts across the different fundraising channels, allowing a more diverse group of people who may have additional insight beyond the &#8220-MBA types&#8221- at campaign headquarters crunching numbers.

Risk Management

(Using Inkling,) questions in a prediction market could be generated by the national campaign and staff at the local level. This &#8220-web of questions&#8221- would be especially useful when trying to anticipate risks to the campaign. The prediction market could be a clearing house of the whispers, rumors, and self-perceived weaknesses of the campaign to continuously test their merit or impact on the campaign. For example, someone from the local staff may be aware of a negative perception the candidate suffers from in a particular voting district. They could run a prediction market about its impacts in an upcoming primary, i.e. &#8220-Will the candidate be perceived as weak on X in analysis of post-appearance local media coverage?&#8221- If the stock price remains low, that issue probably does not need to be dealt with specifically. If it&#8217-s high, it may be an issue the campaign chooses to address proactively ahead of the predicted negative coverage.

Policy Predictions

Given the interest shown to any major candidate, a prediction market gives a campaign an outlet for those supporters wishing to participate in a more meaningful way than simply donating money. A market geared towards public policy across a wide range of issues, both national and local, would be an excellent resource to send people to. Currently most candidate&#8217-s online presence is focused largely on networking, information dissemination, event notifications, and fundraising. A broadly available prediction market would allow people to provide input on what they think will happen from a policy perspective, i.e. will a particular bill pass? How much funding will an initiative receive, etc.? The campaign could then take these predictions as input to shape policy. A similar marketplace could also be set up with a more limited audience of dedicated national and local campaign staff. This marketplace could be augmented with policy experts from around the world to provide additional perspective.

Competitive Analysis

Intended for a tightly controlled group of trusted participants, prediction markets could be run on the performance of the other candidates related to their fundraising levels, endorsements, primary performance, etc. to see how one candidate compares to another. This information would be very useful for strategy formulation. Four years ago some of the candidates tapped the blogosphere to drive early campaign participation and fundraising success.

This year most candidates are trying to build up and leverage their online social networks a la Facebook. Will this campaign season also be the year we see a candidate tapping the collective wisdom of his/her sprawling campaign apparatus?