Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008: Bet on It

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2008 at 10:35 AM

One way to predict the outcome of the presidential election is to check in with poll-number-crunching sites like pollster.com and fivethirtyeight.com.

That stuff's for the gearheads. Unreal would rather follow the money -- i.e., to take a look at the thinking of folks who are wagering on the election's outcome.

Here, for example, is a chart from Betfair.com (after the jump):

If the link's working right, that chart will continue to update all day.

For comparison's sake, fivethirtyeight.com currently has the likelihood of an Obama victory at 98.1 percent.

Gets a little more interesting at the state level. Fivethirtyeight.com shows Missouri almost in a dead heat, with McCain/Palin pulling 49.3 percent and Obama 49.0 percent (margin of error is +/- 2.9 percent). For that site's statistical matrix, that translates to a 53 percent likelihood that McCain will carry MO.

Intrade.com, a gambling site that offers a state-by-state breakdown, has Obama ahead in Missouri, w/ a 55 percent likelihood of victory vs. 47 percent for McCain.

Betfair agrees, putting Missouri at 55-48 Obama:

What's the difference between betting stats and polling stats? Ask a gambler and he or she will tell you it's the difference between wanting something to happen and believing it will. Right now, anyway, it appears that a lot of people favor the Obama/Biden ticket in this election -- and a lot of people strongly believe Obama/Biden will win, so much so that they're betting $$ on that very outcome.

Who's right? We'll have to wait and see. The betting sites' numbers might continue to fluctuate as the day wears on.


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