Predicting the president

Did you know there’s a futures market in predicting political races and other events? Anyone can log on to and buy or sell shares based on what he or she thinks is going to happen down the road. Will Nawaz Sharrif become prime minister of Pakistan? Who will be the next Italian prime minister? And—the biggie these days—who will win the U.S. presidential election? Last week’s primaries in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island gave Hillary Clinton a much-needed predictive boost, but when it comes to delegates Barack Obama is still the frontrunner in the Democratic race. Here are the most recent figures on the Intrade Prediction Market.

Probability of victory

<style type="text/css"> </style>
        2 weeks ago Last week Change % Change
Clinton to be next president 9.0 17.7 +8.7 96.7
Obama to be next president 55.4 48.0 -7.4 13.4
McCain to be next president 34.7 38.0 +3.3 9.5
Clinton to be Dem. nominee 16.5 29.5 +13.0 78.8
Obama to be Dem. nominee 83.5 73.6 -9.9 11.9
Wesley Clark to be Dem. veep nominee 10.0 6.4 -3.6 36.0
Richardson to be Dem. veep nominee 5.5 5.1 -0.4 7.3
Pawlenty to be Rep. veep nominee 20.4 22.7 +2.3 11.1
Next president to be a Republican 35.0 37.7 +2.7 7.7
U.S. to go into recession in 2008 63.5 59.0 -4.5 7.1