Front page
Silflay Hraka?

Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

bigwig AT

Friends of Hraka
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
Fragments from Floyd
The Feces Flinging Monkey
the skwib
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
The Greatest Jeneration
Ipse Dixit
Blog On the Run
Redwood Dragon
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Bo Cowgill
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Northwest Notes
The Blog from the Core
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Sasha Castel
Susskins Central Dispatch
Josh Heit
Aaron's Rantblog
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
Single Southern Guy
Jay Solo's Verbosity
Snooze Button Dreams
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
Geekward Ho
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
The Biomes Blog
See What You Share
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Pajama Pundits
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

July 28, 2004

Place Your Bets

Got the following from a university backdoor into the ScienceNOW paid subscription site, so there's no direct link to the story, but I thought someone besides myself would find this interesting.

Two articles published this month in the Journal of Economic Perspectives suggest that betting markets can out-forecast the polls. In one, Paul Rhode and Koleman Strumpf* of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, relate that from 1884 to 1940, when election wagering was wildly popular, the betting favorite won in every year but 1916, when Woodrow Wilson beat Charles Evans Hughes with a last-minute upset in California. After 1940, because polls were perceived as more scientific, the gambling markets faded from public consciousness, says Strumpf.

But the current betting markets--led by Web sites such as,, and outperform opinion polls. In the last four presidential elections, according to a paper by Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania and Eric Zitzewitz of Stanford University, the University of Iowa's Iowa Electronic Market has averaged an error margin of ±1.5% in the week before the vote, compared with ±2.1% for the Gallup polls. More recently, traders picked John Edwards as John Kerry's running mate 2 months before Kerry did.

Of the three sites listed above, I can only find election data at Tradesports and, and neither show enough information for me to see which candidate the market is predicting will win at the moment--though this graph of Bush's price shows a decline in his relative value. There are also graphs showing the likelihood of each winning the popular vote--though we know from 2003 that doesn't mean that the candidate will also win the election. They also seem to be brand new markets, so their predictive value is low, but for what it's worth Kerry's chances are commanding a higher price than Bush's.

Caveat: Those markets are so new that a couple of trades may render the above information incorrect by the time you see this. Treat it as a description of the markets in their infancy.

However, Bush partisans can take heart from the also mentioned Iowa Electronic Markets 2004 US Presidential Election Winner Takes All Market, which gives Bush a slightly higher price than Kerry at the moment.

They all seem like something worth an obsessive daily check or two on my part. Surely the information displayed is at least as valuable as what I get from Rasmussen.

*Yes, that Koleman Strumpf

Posted by Bigwig at July 28, 2004 11:13 PM | TrackBack
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.

The tradesports/intrade markets prices can be read as the % chance an event will happen. Currently the market is perdicting about a 53% chance that Bush win. It is interesting to note that this is up from around 49% at the time of the convention.

Posted by: Jeremiah at August 2, 2004 12:58 PM

The tradesports/intrade markets prices can be read as the % chance an event will happen. Currently the market is perdicting about a 53% chance that Bush win. It is interesting to note that this is up from around 49% at the time of the convention.

Posted by: Jeremiah at August 2, 2004 12:58 PM

The whole "predictive markets" thing is overblown. The Iowa and Tradesports markets follow the polls instead of lead them. For a long time this spring, they both were undecided as to whether Dean or Clark would be the Democratic nominee. Kerry was in the low single digits.
Anytime anyone tells you about the awesome wisdom of the markets, ask them how their tech stocks are doing.

Posted by: Bamboon at August 2, 2004 03:21 PM

Bamboon, you're absolutely right. Those people putting their own money on the line have no clue who's going to win.

So, why don't you go over there and put some money on Kerry? If you're right, you'll more than double your money.

Or aren't you that confident?

Do markets screw up? Of course they do. Everything run by humans screws up on occasion.

But if you really think you know better than they do, well, they're giving you a chance to prove it. Talk is cheap, proof is not.


Posted by: Greg D at August 2, 2004 05:57 PM

My Amazon stock? Doing pretty well...

People are putting money on the line here instead of just giving an opinion. Their predictive power lays in the fact that gamblers look differently at this election than a voter would, after all no one wants to loose money.

Also note that these "stock" markets are available to anyone in the world, not just US citizens.

Posted by: Berend de Boer at August 2, 2004 06:00 PM

I have watched the Iowa markets for some time. In 2000, I even participated. Those markets are good but not perfect. They beat the polls - they have all the poll information plus things the polls can't measure.

I don't know about the other markets, but the Iowa markets have been around long enough that they have the bugs worked out.

This same idea was one part of the proposed Total Information Awareness, a clever forward-looking set of ideas by Poindexter. Unfortunately, a combination of ridicule, foolish moralizing and privacy fears by people who don't yet know we are at war all combined to kill that program.

Posted by: John Moore (Useful Fools) at August 3, 2004 02:31 AM
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.

Remember personal info?