Friday, September 26, 2008

First Debate Results

The first 2008 Presidential debate appears to have helped John McCain more the Barak Obama. McCain, who has been in a slide for the last week, appears to have helped -- at least temporarily -- provide support for his campaign by his performance tonight.

As seen in the simultaneous trade-by-trade Presidential Futures Market contracts for both McCain and Obama during the course of the debate, it is clear that traders saw McCain's performance as better than Obama. 

Of interest are the two moments during the debate (8:34 CDT and 9:11 CDT) at which there were significant reversals in both candidate's trading positions. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Presidential Race Begins Anew...

With the financial services crisis in full swing, the Republicans bump out of their convention was short-lived. As of close of trading on September 18th, the probability of Obama and McCain winning the November Presidential election is tied -- 50% to 50% -- according to trading on the Presidential Futures market. 

Obama’s return to tie on Intrade comes in the midst of a tumultuous week for the McCain-Palin campaign. McCain has been criticized as being out of touch after claiming the U.S. economy remains fundamentally strong, even as Intrade indicates there is a 50% chance of a recession in 2009.  Palin has been criticized for using private email accounts to circumvent Alaskan freedom of information laws, while key campaign supporter Carly Fiorina criticized her as being unsuited to run a large company.

Finally, the next thirty days could prove critical for each campaign. Given the number of states that allow early voting, and the Obama campaign's targeted voter registration and absentee ballot efforts, the number of voters casting votes prior to Election Day could decide the race as much as three weeks in advance.

Monday, September 15, 2008

September 14th Electoral College Predictions

The 2008 Electoral College Prediction Markets tightened slightly this week according to analysis using State-by-State Presidential Futures Market data. 

1) Montana went from being held by Republicans to to-close-to-call.
2) North Carolina moved into the Republican column.
3) The District of Columbia moved into the Democratic column.

This leaves 14 states with 173 electoral votes up for grabs.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin-mania Spreading to Canada?  

Is Sarah Palin's rousing support from the right-wing electorate spilling over into Canada? Intrade's Political Prediction Markets on the upcoming Canadian Federal election would suggest so.

John McCain has seen his chances surge by 35% from 39.0 on the morning he announced the Palin pick to 52.8 as of 7:00AM EST today.

The Conservative Party of Canada's chances to win the October 14th election have jumped by 25% from 65.0 to 81.5 over the same time. The Liberal Party of Canada is now trading at an election-cycle low of 18.5.



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September 7, 2008 Electoral College Predictions

As the "future next President of the United States" Al Gore learned first-hand, winning the popular vote was great, but you have to win 271 Electoral College votes to receive the keys to the White House.  The 2008 Presidential election again promises to be close, and a look at the Electoral College map suggests the race is more wide open than some people may think.

Many pundits believe the race is coming down to just a few states. Chuck Todd political research director for NBC news has said the race is going to come down to four states. However, an analysis of's state-by-state Presidential futures markets suggests there may be as many as fifteen states in play.

The Obama campaign appears to be cognizant of the importance of winning the Electoral College. Recently, they opened a campaign office in Omaha, Nebraska. Why in Nebraska -- a long-time Republican stronghold? Because Nebraska (in addition to Maine) votes by Congressional District,  as opposed the "winner takes all" method used by the rest of the country. The Obama campaign feels they may be able to win the Congressional District surrounding Omaha -- thus winning them an additional Electoral College vote.

Over the next seven weeks, I'll be revising the Electoral College Prediction map to to and identify the real "battleground" states in the 2008 Presidential election.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A review of's Presidential Futures Market data for the periods surrounding each party's convention revealed some interesting patterns. In order to compare the market strength of each party (the "convention bump"), I used a baseline of the closing price for Obama and McCain on the Thursday prior to the start of each convention. This was done to see the capture the effect of Sarah Palin's nomination for Vice President.

The market did a nice job of forecasting the post-convention tightening of the Presidential race. Obama's strength actually peaked the evening of Hillary Clinton's speech, and declined every subsequent night. Despite all the hoopla, Obama's support prior to the convention was actually higher than after his speech on Thursday night.

In contrast, after an initial bump after Palin's announcement, McCain's support fell below his baseline support. The low point of the Republican convention happened after Joe Lieberman's speech; however, McCain's support increased throughout the rest of the convention. Unlike Obama, McCain's support was higher and increasing at the end of his convention.