I was never a big fan of Intrade markets — in the past, I have suggested they act as super polls of all the other polls, — they don’t predict the future, rather, they summarize the state of the moment.

Regardless, if I was a strategist in the Romney camp, I would be concerned about this (via Maoxian).

Its the subject of tonite’s Open Thread.


click for bigger charts

Intrade: Obama Contracts

Intrade: Romney Contracts



What say ye ?


Category: Markets, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

61 Responses to “Presidential Futures Make a Big Move: Discuss”

  1. matt wilbert says:

    This just looks like a delayed reaction to the news of the past few days; it is lagging 538, PEC, and IEM. I suspect that the Intrade community has a bit of a Republican bias, but the discrepancy between the Intrade price and everyone else’s estimates just got too big. I don’t think it is providing any new information.

  2. JesseLivermore says:

    I’ve been trading on Intrade since 2004. Every presidential election, there have been swings around the convention. Unsophisticated traders don’t realize that convention bounces are temporary. The current bounce is mostly because Obama is up 5 points in the national polls. There are also other (better) traders who have wanted to go long Obama, but wanted to wait until Romney’s convention bounce to get better odds.

  3. Tim says:

    Neither candidate is very appealing to me. Obummer comes across as academic and naive, Bombney comes across as pretentious and dishonest. We really need a new, dynamic third party — call it the Pragmatic Independents. Please Lord.

    Barry, your (teenage?) picture on your twitter feed is hysterical – and cool.

  4. Clif Brown says:

    It would be interesting to know the profile of Intraders vs voters. I would assume, perhaps incorrectly, that Intraders would be more likely to be Romney supporters and as a result would over-rate his chances.

    I’m amazed that Romney has made it as far as he has considering the thrashing Americans have taken at the hands of the 1% over the past few years, of which Mitt is a perfect example.

  5. MidlifeNocrisis says:

    With or without the charts, for better or worse, whether I like it or not………. my money is on Obama to be re-elected, unless, of course, it comes down to a few hanging chads.

  6. wrongtrade says:

    It would be interesting to know the profile of Big Picture readers vs voters. I would assume, perhaps incorrectly, that Big Picture readers would be more likely to be Obama supporters and as a result would over-rate his chances. As in many media circles, however, this is helpful to their candidate as the adulation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, e.g. now that the media has swooned over some idiot picking up the POTUS in a pizza joint, it’s OK for even Republicans to loooove him.

    I’m amazed that Obama has made it as far as he has considering the thrashing American has taken at the hands of this subversive over the past few years, of which his hatred for America is a perfect example.

  7. Frilton Miedman says:

    JesseLivermore, there was no Romney bounce after the RNC.

    I won’t discount the probability that this Obama bounce comes down, but the only thing supporting Romney right now is the massive negative ads being run, and judging just from my own personal travels – people are sick of it.

    After four years of constant messaging about him being a Socialist, depraved ramblings about birth certificates and the long list of BS…even legitimate negative ads are being treated with desensitized annoyance.

    In other words, after going too far overboard for too long to make Obama a one term president, they wore out their credibility, most people now equate the failures of the past four years to the GOP, justifiably.

  8. Calvin Ross says:

    Romney is falling behind because he can’t keep his lies straight. Jonathan Chait rips him to shreads:


  9. super_trooper says:

    “I’m amazed that Obama has made it as far as he has considering the thrashing American has taken at the hands of this subversive over the past few years, of which his hatred for America is a perfect example.”
    This so rediculus. How can you be amazed for four years? Be prepared to be amazed for another 4 years.

  10. milkman says:

    The only thing Obama is going to thrash is Romney…..

  11. hue says:

    it’s interesting that Bubba gives a speech at the DNC, while dubya, Cheney et. all were not invited or even mentioned at RNC, 8 years down the rabbit hole, and the previous veep candidate also was not mentioned http://bit.ly/4gCYel

  12. CSF says:

    It’s easy to overthink this, but it’s pretty simple. There’s little enthusiasm for either candidate. Obama’s lead is a function of Romney’s weakness as a candidate, along with the incumbent’s natural advantage. Plus everyone knows that Obama inherited a nastier-than-usual recession so he gets a pass on unemployment numbers that typically would cost a president his job. The charts reflect the realization that the conventions have come and gone without Romney doing something to change this logic.

  13. louis says:

    Obama wins, They make it a little more interesting this time but only to remind Obama who is boss.

  14. jaymaster says:

    You’ve said it over and over again.

    Markets are not rational.

    Follow Intrade at your own risk.

  15. whskyjack says:

    In trade is doing what it always does reflecting the obvious. I believed Romney had a chance to defeat Obama up until he selected Ryan. You don’t pick the “put grandma on the iceflow” candidate if you need to carry Florida. Don’t carry Florida , goodby election.
    Join Dole, McCain, Kerry, Gore and Dukakis in the pathetic losers club.


  16. crutcher says:

    The mainstream has them in a statistical dead heat. Check out the volume on these “contracts” – it’s pathetic. The media seems to think that having a billion bucks for a presidential campaign is impressive, but if the presidency is simply something to be bought and sold it’s still undervalued. If intrade had volume, at some point you’d be better off gaming the political system to make money on its contracts based on the outcome (or non-outcomes) of elections. But you well know Wall Street doesn’t need intrade to do that.


    BR: That’s old dope — Its no longer a dead heat.
    Conservative site RealClearPolitics takes an average of all polls. The RCP Average is 48.3 vs 45.4, giving Obama +2.9 lead.

  17. uzer says:

    does it matter who is “elected” president?

  18. DrSandman says:

    One party is the party of adults and uncomfortable truths; the other party is going after the moron vote. Apparently, a new source of unlimited morons have been found to be eligible to vote, increasing the odds of one party to win.

  19. flocktard says:

    I don’t see how Romney beats Obama in this election, and have felt this way for some time, despite several polls showing the race as practically a dead heat, at least up to this week.

    He doesn’t have a majority vote of women.
    He trails woefully (still) with the young.
    He can forget the Hispanic vote.
    He doesn’t even have to think about courting Black voters, since he’s dead to them. And I mean dead.
    He’ll get 20% of the Jewish vote if he’s lucky.

    I don’t see how any candidate can overcome those obstacles. The only segment I know of that he has a clear majority of is elderly white people.

  20. TG Randini says:

    What say ye?

    I say it appears that Intrade says there is a 60% chance a Nazi won’t win the election.

  21. TG Randini says:

    Romney can’t win. Look at the map and you see where the red states are.

    North Dakota south to Oklahoma: farmers
    Kane-tuck-eeee, Tennessee, West Virginny: hillbillies
    The Deep South: “poor white trash:

    So the Fascist Party of America (GOP) appeals to farmers, hillbillies and “poor white trash”.

    And Texans.

  22. ezrasfund says:

    Romney is the perfect model of a modern robber baron, and the KB Toys story is the perfect tale.

    Sure it was obvious that the American toy retailer was in trouble, but how do you operate the company for 4 years, then file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and still make over $80 million in profits for Bain Capital?

    When people understand this story they will understand that these folks should at least pay their fair share of taxes.

  23. Lyle says:

    Re flocktard: Jim Demit said as much the GOP does not have enough angry white men to win, it appears that this was the target group for the primaries. Of course long term the party will crater sticking to this point of view as the US becomes a country where no ethnic or racial group is a majority.

  24. DrSandman says:

    I see what you did now — you cheeky bastach. You showed the plot of a day and a half of trades around the end of the democrat convention and media love-fest (but I repeat myself). The longer-term chart looks a little different.

    If the election were held in 2014, I think Romney would be breathing easier.

  25. James Cameron says:

    “We’re not seeing anything quite that dramatic in the polls right now. Nevertheless, the polling movement that we have seen over the past three days represents the most substantial shift that we’ve seen in the race all year, with the polls moving toward Mr. Obama since his convention.”



    Still, there are the debates and there is more economic news. If Obama wins it will be extraordinary testimony to how little the Republicans had to offer, both in terms of their proposals and their candidate.

  26. howardoark says:

    I voted for Obama last time and will again so that’s my bias.

    The posts above are whistling in the dark. First of all, you don’t have to win the popular vote, so poll numbers don’t mean much since Obama will carry California and NY by large margins. The idea that Intrade favors Romney is also kind of strange (old white people not being famous for their Internet savviness). The idea that someone from the 1% can’t win the presidency this year is also odd given that there is a 100% chance that someone from the 1% is going to win.

    If the economy hasn’t improved by election day, I think Romney has a pretty good shot at it.

  27. mitchw says:

    One wonders if the so called “undecideds” will even be able to hold their heads up and keep their mouths closed through the debates. While I’m uselessly voting Obama in NY, I have some sympathy for Mitt having to pander to this or that little clump of chumps in a particular state.

  28. contrabandista13 says:

    It don’t look good for Mitt…. I think that Edwin Edwards would say, “unless they catch that young man Obama, in bed with a live boy or dead girl, he’s got this whole thing wrapped up….” Yes siree Bob, down here in Louisiana we call what happened to Mitt, a good ol’ fashioned Louisiana corn holing… Administered by the “BIG DOG”….. Know wat I’m talkin bout…?

  29. bear_in_mind says:

    Ladies and Germs:

    By any objective measure, the Democrats clobbered the Republicans at their respective conventions. While neither Romney nor Obama provided very memorable speeches, if you watched more than 60 minutes of each convention, there was a clear thematic divide between the scorched-earth “fear, fear, fear!” based Republicans and the more sane and grounded Democrats.

    The former treated viewers as feedble-minded dunderheads, while the latter left viewers to do their own math and calculations. I therefore assess post-convention polls as evidence that even core conservatives don’t appreciate the message being ‘dumbed-down’ to energize the Sarah/Todd Palin-wing of the party.

    No guarantee that Obama will prevail, but there can be no doubt that Romney/Ryan have to come through with clutch performances at every event from this point forward. Based on their histories, neither of them is going to be mistaken for Derek Jeter, John Elway or Reggie Jackson. So I say, good luck to them changing their stripes, but I don’t think the public is buying it.

  30. VennData says:

    Why would a “subversive” kill bin Laden? Save Chrysler and GM? Cut payroll taxes for Middle class workers?

  31. ezrasfund says:

    And for those who enjoy the intricacies of tax law, review this little nugget. Romney has been claiming that he has no active involvement in Bain Capital, but on his tax returns he claims treatment for those investments as “active investments” which means something very specific to the IRS and affords much more beneficial treatment than passive investments.


    How can the Dems ever squeeze something that slippery into a sound bite?

  32. Chief Tomahawk says:

    Could well be time to buy Romney for a trade.

    These Intrade future things have in the past seen surges based on the flavor-of-the-day (or issue which strikes a chord for a multi-day run with the media) and then the trailing candidate surges on a bounce = opportunity to sell at a gain.

  33. Pantmaker says:

    Romney is going to get smoked. Electing a black president is one thing…but a Scientologist? No freaking way.

  34. diogeron says:

    Look @ Nate Silver’s blog, 538, a much better source than Intrade, IMHO. Nate was the best numbers cruncher in 2008 and 2010 and will likely be the best in 2012. Also, the fact that Obama out raised Romney in $s last month is not good news for Romney. It appears many people watch the Republican convention and decided not to throw good money after bad. Obama will likely be reelected because people like him better. (see George Lakoff’s book, “The Political Mind.”) Let’s face it: Romney has a John Kerry problem. No one can identify with him and he’s, we’ll, just plain weird, not to mention nobody knows what he really believes (see The Economist with Mitt on the cover a few weeks back.)

    Of course, all this could change in a heartbeat. But right now, it’s Obama’s to lose.


    BR: Regarding Romney as John Kerry: The Kerry-ization of Mitt Romney

  35. diogeron says:


    Romney’s a Morman, not a Scientologist, although both mythologies prominently feature planets.

  36. romerjt says:

    “The Republican Party today announced that from this day forward they would be adopting a strategy of blatant lying in their quest to win not only the Presidency but other elective offices as well. “The status of the country demands that we do everything we can to beat anyone opposed to us” said a party spokesperson, and “if that takes lying through our teeth, well we are willing to do that. In fact we see that as the natural evolution of a campaign strategy, or would if we believed in evolution.”

    Think hard about what it says about a person who can trash his greatest political achievement in order to become president. And Ryan, the numbers guy of hard truths abandons this whole approach in his NC speech WTF?. Americans will not be well served by people with this little integrity . . . this is tactic is worse than their policies. It will be a sad day for America is they are rewarded with victory using this strategy.

  37. ilsm says:

    Spent a week or so out of my home (a state up for grabs) in a solid Blue state. Glad to be away from the attack ads, for a while.

    Having lived around the country in places where Romney’s religion is present, I cannot see how any christian preacher could remain silent in conscioning their flock to vote for a Mormon, much less his side kick an amoral objectivist.

    Then there is the fact Mrs. Romney gets the tax deduction for 25 kids for her horse!

  38. wrongtrade says:

    it’s easier to see how a Christian could vote for a Mormon than to see how most every black preacher can somehow justify a vote for Obama. Oh wait, I forgot- over 90% of blacks vote for Obama and it’s not racist at all. They have honestly studied the issues in great detail and there is just this amazing, unprecedented agreement.

  39. frodo1314 says:

    In respomse to VennData’s link:

    It’s not an efort to “restrict voting.” C’mon, are we serious How in the world we can allow people to vote without providing identification is completely mind-bogling. Disenfranchises the poor my arse. It’s common sense folks!

  40. Jim67545 says:

    I am VERY worried. The Republicans have employed outright lies, with no retractions. Heaven help us over the next 4 years if that business strategy bears fruit as a victory. Then there is the Adelson/Koch Bros. bought-and-paid-for issue. Then there is the sometimes deplorable quality of Supreme Court appointments (Thomas/Scalia) under Republicans. Then there are the quagmire wars based on questionable facts/lies with drum beating over Iran, China, Soviet Union. VERY SCARY.

    I am worried that rabid Republican base will turn out and vote, while the moderately disenchanted Democrat base will not. Polls are great but who turns out to vote is all that matters.

  41. AHodge says:

    these are all i watch especially early they far bettr than polls
    and also have the odds precalculated and spit out
    this is what i watch with o up to close to 70%
    bettors have access to the polls as input, and they are not or should not be betting on how they feel now or thier vote. I know i know
    but theyshould be guessing Nov behavior or throwing their money away
    i was wondering if the real bookies like Intrade might be better
    Iowa has a tlot of limitations and rule
    but those Intrade volumes not impressive, maybe no better than iowa
    this closeto november you can start watching polls
    but i just look at swing state and stuff like your excellent yesterday
    oops posted in yestersays reads by mistake

  42. AHodge says:

    romney is beginnin to look just stupid and inept
    you might get awaywith loveable warm stupid and inept these days
    But NOT cold businesman stupid and enept

  43. AHodge says:

    clinton did an apparent stupid, he was not bad upstairs for a recent president
    thats a low standard im an eisenhower man
    W jus basically was stupid in spite of yale and CEO
    and romney is starting to look in his mold

  44. gms777 says:

    It’s much harder today to stick a finger in the media wind and figure out its direction. I’d bet that most of us only get our news from sources we can stomach, just as most of us are more likely to read information that favors things we are invested in.

    I’m an independent who leans GOP. Frankly, the meanness of the comments on both sides is a turn off. My sense is that Mr. Romney’s going to go very soft in his attacks on Mr. Obama, playing up the disappointment angle.

    To me, today feels like 1938, 1860, or 1775. Around the world governments are trying to push resolution of the debt crisis down the line. Woodward’s reporting on the debt talks, if accurate, was jaw dropping. Our government’s solution? No solution. Just delay. I recently finished reading “1776″ by historian David McCullough. It was truly funny to read how King George and his Parliament viewed the colonials…utter disrespect. They couldn’t see the runaway carriage heading right for them.

    Anyway, I live in a very liberal town in North Carolina. Four years ago, Sen. Obama had a major presence here with an office on main street. There was a huge fundraiser in town. Today? Not so much. Real Clear Politics’s summary of NC polls shows Romney leading… http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/nc/north_carolina_romney_vs_obama-1784.html I saw a report elsewhere that Mr. Obama will not be campaigning here.

    I will bet that many people who are polled are literally afraid to say they will not vote for Mr. Obama again for fear of being perceived as being racist. The elderly may be afraid of Mr. Ryan’s views on Medicare, but they also have grandchildren who are unemployed and possibly living at home with them.


    BR: Explain to us how you know what 1860 or 1775 felt like . . .

  45. inthewoods says:

    @wrongtrade I love that you bring up this idea that “Obama hates America” – I’ve always found this such a strange argument. The guy and his family are a story straight out of central casting – here’s a guy that came from relatively modest roots and rises up to be the POTUS. The guy is a classic American story. The fact that his critics choose to attack his policies by arguing that he hates America just shows the shallowness of their critique.

    In terms of the election – I think it will come down to likability – as Maoxian tweeted earlier – the GOP is tone deaf putting up a Wall Street plutocrat right now. The debates will be fun to watch, however!

  46. thomas hudson says:

    the contrarian in me wants to put a dime on romney with these odds, at least as a hedge. buy in while the dnc gets their bounce. poll noise right now is still tough to pin down – you really have to look at the cross tabs, registered vs. likely, sample size, etc.

    let’s see what’s those polls say in mid october, when the pollsters reputations are on the line for accuracy (no one remembers what gallup/ppp/cnn, etc. predicted mid september). in 2008 the two that called it the closest were rasmussen and pew.

    again, it is the electoral college that matters, and even real clear politics is showing romney in the hole, but with a more swing states in play than a month ago. lots of time left on the clock.

  47. AHodge says:

    if you are going to play stupid like th last two
    it probably needs being southern stupid
    northern businessman stupid? not real good
    any regional insult purely collateral :D

  48. AHodge says:

    you can think of obama who even his oppo wont call stupid
    was a readtion to 12 years of southern stupid. i think its a little early for the pendulum to swing again

  49. denim says:

    Making a scientific wildass guess, I would say the profile of an Intrader is that of a naturally pessimistic, politically conservative gambler with a perennial, knee-jerk bias against Obama. So they are betting their ideology and pessimism. If they vote, it would be for Romney… unless there is an October surprise of Watergate significance.

  50. AHodge says:

    make that 16 years of southern stupid.

  51. diogeron says:

    @wrongtrade…As a child of Catholic parents, attending a Catholic high school, I well recall the clan like pride among Catholics when JFK ran in the 1960 election. All the nuns and priests wore JFK buttons and encouraged all of us to wear them and work for JFK, not because was a Democrat, because he was Catholic. JFK got over 90% of the Catholic vote in 1960 because he was the 1st. Didn’t help John Kerry years later among Catholics because it was no longer a major issue among the non-Catholic electorate.

    Ask Alan Keyes what % of the black vote he got when he ran for president or against Obama in the Illinois Senate race. Does anyone in their right mond think Alan Keyes would win the black vote against, say Hillary Clinton? Of course not. To say it’s all about race and nothing about what the candidate stands for is a gross over-simplification, at least in 2012.

  52. diogeron says:

    Wish there was an edit function…typing with thumbs almost assures typos, at least in my case. Apologies to all for the typos.

  53. AHodge says:

    But likeable Southern R stupid is kind of a natural for the US electoral now
    Could well work again in 2016….

  54. 212frawk says:

    reminder on the wisdom of relying on intrade


  55. Pantmaker says:


    I know…just having a bit of fun :)

  56. gordo365 says:

    @mitchw – best comment on this thread…

    “One wonders if the so called “undecideds” will even be able to hold their heads up and keep their mouths closed through the debates…” love it.

  57. rd says:

    Mitt Romney is running on a platform of more tax cuts and deregulation for the wealthy, repeal of RomneyCare, probable reduction of Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid safety nets for middle class, increased intrusion of government into people’s personal lives, and probably another neo-con war with Iran.

    Given the experience with the outcome of similar policies over the past decade, it is surprising that he is running as close to Obama as he is.

    Both candidates are poor, but ultimately the abysmal rulings by the Bush-appointed Supreme
    Court justices over the past few years tips the scale in favor of Obama for me. The massive bombardment of negative PAC ads this election cycle will highlight the importance of the Supreme Court to all voters. 13% income tax rates and unreleased income tax returns will also continue to highlight Romney’s disconnection from the real world that the 99.9% lives in.

  58. peachin says:

    getting worse – Rolling Stone does Romney… in about 4 weeks we’ll be rounding into the finish line – going to be tough – the republicans are just warming up their dishonesty – Who will play “The Joker?”

  59. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    What matters most is who actually turns out to vote.

    The press wants a horse race, the consultants want money for ads and b.s., and everyone that I know just wants it to be over as soon as possible.