Wednesday, November 14, 2007

There's Something About Bill :: Richie Rich

A version of this story appeared in this week's Santa Fe Reporter.

SFR's Tips for Cashing in On Bill
By Dave Maass

n a market economy, it’s said, consumers vote with their dollars. Since 2000, that concept has become a literal political phenomenon at’s “prediction market.” The Dublin-based Web site allows politicos to put their money where their savvy is through a stock-market-style gambling system. users choose from a list of possible political events that will have a definitive yes-no outcome, such as Hillary Clinton winning the 2008 general election. uses the term “contract,” but for all practical purposes, Web site subscribers are trading stock in the outcome.

And like the stock market, demand raises a contract’s value, while liquidation sends it slumping. Contract values are measured in points, each worth 10 cents.

Here are SFR’s tips for banking on Richardson:

Bill to win the Democratic nomination
Bill’s chances of winning are at an ultralow at 0.8 points. He’s in fifth place behind Hillary Clinton (70.5), Barack Obama (14.4), Al Gore (6.7) and John Edwards (5.2). In fact, investors predict there’s a doubly better chance that Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will join the race and win the Republican nomination. Yet, Bill is playing to win in the early primary states and running a strong ad campaign. Bill’s a long shot, but the cheap contracts could turn a huge profit if Bill makes last minute gains.

Bill to be tapped for the vice presidential nomination

Bill’s still in the top tier of potential vice presidential candidates with a contract rated at 16 points and rising—perhaps in reaction to Bill’s defense of Hillary during the last debate. Bill’s contract is tied with that of US Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who, as Hillary’s national committee co-chairman, is widely speculated to be her first pick. Barack is currently the best rated at 21.5 points. However, as a byproduct of the widening Hillary-Barack rift, Bill’s contracts could rise slightly in value.

Bill to drop out by Dec. 31, 2007
General speculation that Bill would make a run for the seat of US Sen. Pete Domenici, R-NM, has the governor currently ranked the fourth best bet in both parties for bowing out. But since US Rep. Tom Udall, D-NM, has announced his Senate candidacy, SFR predicts that Bill’s even less likely to make the switch. Instead, SFR recommends investing immediately in “Democrat to win the NM Senate,” currently trading at 44 points.

Bill to win NM Presidential Primary
While this contract isn’t available yet, Intrade
.com spokesman John Delaney says it will soon be offered on the site. SFR’s recommendation: Buy fast, buy in bulk and sell when it tops 90.

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