I love Tradesports and the market it represents. Who is more likely to know the odds for any particular event than people who've got money riding on it? They've got a section for betting on politics, and I like tracking the action; when the volume is high enough, I think that these odds give a good representation of reality.
Let's take a look at a few interesting samples. Note that with perfect information, the "Bid" column would add up to 100%, since the contracts for each question are all mutually exclusive. They generally don't, and they usually add up to less than 100%; this reflects that the bettors are conservative with their uncertainty, and are bidding less than they think the contracts are actually worth. (The opposite holds for the "Ask" column.)
[I've never bet on Tradesports, and am not affiliated with them in any way.]
First up, the question on everyone's mind: what's going to happen with the California recall?
For some reason, Bustamante's odds have gone up significantly today -- in anticipation of the debate tonight? Arnold has improved slightly, and the big loser has been the "Recall Fails" contract. High trade volume -- it's not looking good for Davis. Expect some action here after the debate.
Next question: who will be the Democrat nominee for president?
Too bad I didn't get a screenshot of this question last week, because the "Field" contract skyrocketed when Wesley Clark declared his candidacy (and Hillary jumped a bit, too). Both "Field" and Hillary are falling as Clark's shine wears off, but Dean doesn't recover any of the ground he lost when Clark declared. Very high trading volume on all the contracts except McCain.
And finally, will George W. Bush win the 2004 presidential election?
High volume, and no change. In fact, this contract hasn't changed much in value since I've been watching -- it's been around 66% for months. I wonder if this constancy speaks more loudly than his fading poll numbers?
Polls and bets reflect different things, though, and it's important to keep that in mind. A poll shows what percentage of people (for example) want President Bush to win, whereas these contracts show what percentage of people think Bush will win.