Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Iowa Electronic Markets: Obama at New High

Iowa Electronic Markets: Obama at New High

Following last night's Wisconsin win, Barack Obama has jumped to a new high price for a Democratic candidate in the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), topping Hillary Clinton's peak price.

In the University of Iowa business school project, traders buy and sell contracts on political candidates using their own, real money.  As of midnight, Obama shares were trading at 78.7 cents, meaning traders think it's about 79 percent likely he'll be the nominee. That tops Clinton's peak of 74.6 cents on October 22.

Clinton shares dropped to 20.3 cents last night. Withdrawn candidate John Edwards and the generic "rest of field" were trading at less than one cent.

In the Republican market, John McCain has settled into the pattern seen by presumptive nominees like John Kerry in 2004. His price has stabilized at just above 94 cents since last week's wins in the Potomac states.

The nomination markets are winner take all.  Shares for the nominee pay a dollar, and shares for other candidates are worthless. The IEM's general election market, which predicts vote share and pays out proportionally at a penny a percent, is currently anticipating a Democratic win of 51 percent to 47.5 percent.

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