More un-panic

Kerry catches up to Bush in the betting markets.

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.

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: