For what it’s worth …

The betting markets still make Obama and Huckabee the odds-on favorites in Iowa.

In the Intrade betting market, the bid price for Obama to win Iowa is now 72%; he’s been heading steadily up. HRC and Edwards both have bid prices between 10 and 15 cents.

Despite what seems to be a pundit consensus that Romney has been surging and Huckabee slipping in Iowa, the bettors still give the Huckster a two-in-three chance of winning; that number has been holding steady.

Looking out further, HRC is now rated just under 60% likely to be the nominee, with Obama just over 30%.

Update The Obama price just spiked to 85.

Live results here: currently

Obama 35

Edwards 31.1

Clinton 30.8 in terms of delegate count, with about 72% of the precincts reporting.

Apparently at the end the Bidenites went with HRC in order to keep things close to prevent Obama from winning a convincing victory.

Winning beats losing, but this doesn’t look to me like an especially good result for Obama. I had hopes that all the enthusiasm would translate into a flood of caucus-goers. And neither Edwards nor Clinton suffered a real body-blow; the Zogby report about a last-minute collapse in support for HRC turned out to be wrong. If Edwards had finished third, that might have done for him, and a this point Obama is probably best served by getting this down to a two-way race as soon as possible.

On the other hand, the result is pretty catastrophic for Richardson, Biden, and especially Dodd. Anything that shrinks the number of debate participants is presumably good for Obama.

Second update Looking better for Obama as more precincts come in, though supposedly the very last precincts to report (in rural Western Iowa) tend to favor Edwards.

Senator Barack Obama : 36.37%

Senator John Edwards : 30.47%

Senator Hillary Clinton : 30.15%

Governor Bill Richardson : 1.96%

Senator Joe Biden : 0.93%

Uncommitted : 0.09%

(1448 if 1781 precincts reporting: about 81%)


With 88% of precincts in, Obama’s lead continues to widen, and HRC is now just below 30%.

Senator Barack Obama : 36.86%

Senator John Edwards : 30.15%

Senator Hillary Clinton : 29.84%

Governor Bill Richardson : 2.11%

Senator Joe Biden : 0.91%

Uncommitted : 0.10%

Senator Chris Dodd : 0.03%

Precincts Reporting: 1568 of 1781

This is looking much more convincing.

The news on the Republican side is about as good as it could be: a convincing win for the Mayberry Mullah over the Mittster, and Thompson edges out McCain for third. That keeps Thompson in the race. Bad for McCain, which is good for the Democratic nominee. (That’s my view: the Intrade market has the opposite view, pegging McCain as the day’s big winner and Romney as the big loser.) Meantime, the Iowa result was convincing enough to move Obama’s Intrade bid price for taking the nomination up 10 points, to 36%.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: