Ron Paul Most Electable Republican For The Last Seven Weeks
November 20, 2007, 02:15 AM
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Dan over at Ron Paul Graphs picked up on my recent blog and published a graph of the electability of Republican candidates the last 7 weeks. Ron Paul has been the clear leader in terms of electability as projected by real-money markets the last 7 weeks(Electability is the conditional probability of winning the presidency if nominated). John McCain did hold that title 2 of the last 7 weeks—and Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson both had brief spurts of electability. However, there is no evidence that the markets consider Huckabee or Romney anything but likely defeat for the GOP.

Electability of Republican Candidates

Now, it is illegal in many states for folks to use foreign betting sites to bet on US elections. Still, I can`t help but wondering if some supporters of some of the "long shot" candidates might not use the existence of these sites to assure that there is lots of money rapidly available to their campaign if they get early and unexpected victories.

For example the odds of someone other than Thompson, Huckabee, Romney, Giuliani, McCain, Hagel or Gingrich winning the New Hampshire primary is currently assessed by Intrade.com at around 11.9%. That means that a Paul supporter could theoretically place a bet of $100 and pledge $840.00(or $633.00 after taxes) to the Paul campaign contingent on the Paul campaign winning New Hampshire at the same cost to themselves as making a $100 donation before the New Hampshire primary. I suspect that would not would be entirely legal under current legislation-but I`m also not sure there are effective enforcement mechanisms that would prevent it.

Election markets theoretically change the "game" of political funding quite a bit. It means that candidates capable of early victories have ways to leverage those victories that didn`t previously exist. I`m also not sure if this entirely a bad thing—it might well reduce the power of campaign financing—and focus more attention on candidates that would be electable if they had adequate funding.

Just the existence of these betting markets is injecting truth into a political discourse dominated by corporate infomercials with pretenses of journalism. Someone with enough money can lie on an election market—but they can do so only by risking their money—and possibly enriching the supporters of other candidates.

For example, Ron Paul supporters could wave the powerful evidence of Ron Paul`s electability in front of the plutocratic Corporate Media, putting the RNC strategists in a double bind: Either let the evidence stand and admit the RNC establishment is neither competent nor inclined to win general election, or buy down the prediction market on Ron Paul to the point Ron Paul supporters have extremely favorable odds to buy in and rake in fast profits early in the primary season.

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