Friday, October 7, 2011

Intrade Odds: Mitt Romney Dominates the Competition

Now that Chris Christie and Sarah Palin have finally departed, it's time for another look at the Intrade odds. It has been just over two weeks since the Republican primary debate on September 22nd, after which Rick Perry suffered a tremendous loss in support. There has been ample time for that development to sink in for the Intrade market on the 2012 Republican nomination.

Mitt Romney's lead has grown, especially since Christie's odds vaporized. Romney has climbed to 61.5%. That's more than double what he had prior to the September debates, and actually much higher than any candidate--including Romney himself--posted earlier this year. Before now, frontrunners tended to top out at about 40%.

Intrade investors have experienced no second thoughts about Perry's decline. In fact, Perry's support has eroded several more points since last time we checked: Perry is down to 19.1%. Thus, Romney has more than triple the odds of his nearest competitor. Interestingly, the Intrade odds on the nomination are beginning to look much more like Elephant Watcher's assessment of the odds of each candidate winning the Republican primary.

In third place, Herman Cain has 7.0%, and everyone else is under 5%. Cain has benefited from some good polling recently, but Intrade investors are clearly skeptical about his chances. They still perceive Perry to be in second place. Michele Bachmann is far behind at 1.4%. The investors have little faith in Rick Santorum's ability to break out of the pack: He's at 0.5%. This reflects the Intrade markets' emphasis on polling data. Santorum may have gotten some attention at recent debates, but his poll numbers have gone nowhere--yet.

Finally, a shift has occurred for the first time in the Intrade markets on the individual state contests. In the Iowa Intrade market, Perry's advantage has shrunk to 41% over Romney's 27%. Bachmann, who once dominated the Iowa polls, is down to 18%. Cain has only an 11% chance, which clearly reflects some error in the Intrade market. If Cain has a 7% chance of winning the nomination, surely he should have greater than an 11% chance of winning Iowa, which would be crucial for him?

The New Hampshire Intrade market has Romney dominating with nearly an 80% chance to win. No one else is even in double-digits there.

The news is much better for Perry in the South Carolina Intrade market, where he is given 71% to Romney's 30%. There's also evidence of market inefficiency here, as Cain is given only 12.5%. (The total figures don't always add up to 100% due to the difference between buy and sell orders on low-volume markets.)

The Florida Intrade market is interesting. It has Perry and Romney tied at about 40% each. Florida often serves as a tie-breaker, and surely if Romney had as great a chance at winning the nomination as Intrade believes, Romney ought to be the favorite in Florida. The latest Florida primary polls also show Romney ahead. The Intrade market may reflect an assumption that Perry has an advantage in a Southern state, and perhaps that Romney would prevail in a drawn-out contest, even if Perry wins the tie-breaker.