Despite Mickey Kaus’s best efforts — and they’ve been pretty good — Democratic panic seems not to be developing. Perhaps that’s because the three major betting markets — the Iowa vote-share market, the Iowa winner-take-all market, and the Tradesports re-election market — all have the race even, or Kerry marginally ahead.
The numbers in each case have been improving steadily; at one point, Bush re-elect was trading at 75 cents on the dollar on the Tradesports market, making the Democrats 3-to-1 underdogs. As recently as a week ago, Bush was up three percentage points in the Iowa vote-share market.
I regard the betting markets as a useful corrective to my refractory optimism. Of course they don’t predict the future, but they encapsulate all the information available in the present. And the people who are putting real money down think that things have been going pretty well for Mr. Kerry.