where his mouth is

I’ve said it’s the great thing about prediction markets: either you can accept their implied probabilities as correct, or you can show that your disagreement is not just prattle by trying to make money off their “errors.” A friend of mine, “J.,” has been sulking around complaining that the rest of the world does not appear to apprehend what an especially bad matchup McCain versus Clinton is for the Democrats. Tonight he’s decided to take action, and he is attempting to allocate the entirety of his long-dormant intrade.com account on betting for the by-implication-underpriced Republican candidate to win in 2008.*

“J.” hopes he’s wrong. Indeed, he made money in 2004 on a dual bet that Bush would win the general election but Kerry would win Wisconsin. This did nothing to abate his desolation after Election Day. And, yet, he bets ’em and he sees ’em.

* Technical note: “J.” only disagrees with the market evalution of Clinton’s chances in a Clinton-vs.-McCain general election, and he could make more specific bets to get at this more directly, but is betting the straight Republican victory contract because he doesn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to arrange the bet and the Republican victory market has higher volume and so should be easier for his bet to clear.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

4 thoughts on “where his mouth is”

  1. I agree that it’s a tough matchup, but I think the recession and Iraq are likely to be tougher on the Republicans than the market is factoring in.

    My hope is that “WJC” is as tough on the Republican nominee as he’s been with Obama. Also, if Moveon.org had any sense, they’d run a “Bomb Iran” commercial during the Super Bowl.


  2. Tom — you made me laugh out loud with the MO comment. Especially during the superbowl when the testosterone is flowing, the bombing would probably be done by the end of the game.

    I do agree that McCain is hardest for us to beat – wether the “us” ends up being Obama or Clinton.

    Moment of silence for the Edwards’ campaign. He really gets poverty in a way that the other two don’t, I think. I knew he wasn’t going to be it, but I am still sad.


  3. I almost forgot about the likelihood of graphics during the game showing warplanes blasting through walls of footballs. Maybe the Academy Awards would be a better venue for a hypothetical MO spot.

    The Rovian, and IMHO strategically correct, thing to do would be to go right at McCain’s supposed strengths (his largely undeserved reputation as a Honest Moderate), so that when people hear his name, they think “curved talk Wienermobile” (thank you Jon Stewart).


  4. Tom: I’m not sure WJC will help Hillary’s candidacy if he’s prominent in being tough on McCain. I think the co-presidency specter will go over less well in the general electorate than it does with Dem primary voters.

    LBN: I agree the McCain is the toughest general election matchups for the Dems anyway, but the reason I think he’s an especially bad matchup for Clinton is that I think there are a lot of independent voters who are (1) eager for ‘change’ and (2) discontented about the decision to go war and its early execution, and I think Clinton is going to be a harder sell for sharp contrasts than Obama would be. Plus, many conservatives really dislike McCain in a way where I can see them at least musing that maybe Obama wouldn’t be so bad after all, while they won’t hesitate in donating to and voting for McCain over Clinton.


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