Intrade odds put Rick Perry in first. But in the wake of Perry's first debate appearance, the Intrade market on the 2012 Republican nomination has shifted considerably.
At Perry's height, he was at roughly 39%, with Romney down to 30%, and everyone else in single-digits. As is usually the case, the Intrade market reflected the latest national primary polls, and the conventional wisdom that the primary was a two-man race with Perry in front. Since the debate, Mitt Romney has retaken the lead. It is interesting to see how the market has changed, even though no new polls have been conducted to show Romney in the lead (yet). Instead, Intrade's reaction was based entirely upon its verdict of who won the debate.
Intrade has Romney in the lead--albeit a very small lead--at 37.7%. Perry is on his heels at 36.4%. It's essentially a coin-flip between the two men. Elephant Watcher is now curious to see how Intrade will react to the next primary debate, to be held in a few days.
All of the other candidates are still in single-digits: Jon Huntsman, despite his poor poll numbers, is at 6.1%. Sarah Palin, not in the race, has teased her way to 5.4%. The biggest change is Michele Bachmann, who had been something of a third wheel by virtue of her strong poll numbers in Iowa. Bachmann has collapsed completely, down to 2.9%. Perry's candidacy, perhaps combined with Bachmann's irrelevance in the September 7th debate, has mortally wounded Bachmann in Intrade's eyes.
Do the Intrade markets on the early primaries reflect these changes? Yes. Before, Bachmann and Perry were approximately tied in the Iowa Caucus market. Now Perry dominates her, 52.0% to 20.0%. And without Iowa, Bachmann is nothing. Intrade's South Carolina market has Perry at 65.0% and Bachmann at merely 4.0%.
That explains Bachmann's fall, but what about Romney's tie with Perry in the odds of winning the nomination? The New Hampshire market has Romney with a huge lead, 60.0% to Perry's 24.5%. Thus, Intrade investors expect Perry to win Iowa and South Carolina, Romney to win New Hampshire, and a completely hazy future following those contests.