Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rick Perry's Intrade Odds Rise, Newt Gingrich Crashes

With the first major primary debate of the season behind us, it's time for another look at Intrade, the betting market where investors can lay wagers on the 2012 Republican nomination. Intrade's page on the primary may be found here.

Since the last time we looked at Intrade, Mitt Romney has solidified his position as the frontrunner. He is given 33.6%, which is almost 20 points higher than the next-highest candidate. Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman remain in the next tier, but they have fallen since last time, to 12.5% and 12.0%, respectively.

There is a newcomer who is quickly rising on Intrade: Rick Perry. Perry barely registered on Intrade just a few weeks ago. Now he's up to 15.0%, slightly ahead of Pawlenty and Huntsman. This is a reaction to the recent speculation about Perry entering the race. It's intensified, especially since some of the key staffers who left Newt Gingrich's campaign are former Perry aides. Intrade gives Perry almost an 80% chance of running for president. That number is unusually high for speculation about a new candidate. It's not inconceivable that someone connected to Perry's campaign is one of the investors, and is making some easy money based off what he knows his boss will do.

Gingrich's numbers crashed last time, but they managed to crash again in the wake of his mass campaign staff resignations. Gingrich is now down to 1.5%, which puts him out of the top-tier or second-tier, into the "miscellaneous" and "probably not running" category. Apparently his debate performance didn't help him much in the eyes of the Intrade investors.

The Tea Party crew--Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain--are all in the single-digits and roughly split, with Bachmann slightly ahead. Intrade investors tend to follow the conventional wisdom of the Washington establishment, and they are skeptical of Tea Partiers' chances. The leading candidates (even including Perry) are in the traditional, "electable" mold.

Previously, we took a look at the past winners of Iowa and New Hampshire. They were almost always traditional, electable candidates, so Intrade investors may be on to something. The question is which electable candidate is likely to win the nomination. So far, Intrade is betting Romney, with Perry, Pawlenty, and Huntsman in a three-way tie for second. They seem to realize the potential for an anti-Romney (after all, Romney's at considerably less than 50%), but they don't know who it will turn out to be.