See change

Following up from yesterday’s “Jefferson climate change strategy” post it is interesting to see Slate magazine’s useful summary of the results of the electronic markets for voting intentions. Both political predictors the Iowa Electronic Markets & Intrade.com data are based on actual bets.

For example here are recent values for the runners in the democratic race, with the graph below showing the suddenness in Mr.Obama’s upturn in fortune:

markets11.png

markets2.png

Obama supports a cap-and-trade approach based on the auction of permits (essentially a carbon tax, without calling it such). The increasingly likely prospect of a new president favouring concerted action on climate change is a challenge to voters and punters (betting folk and columnists) alike. The Economist’s Free Exchange makes the point that voters in areas with higher per capita emission rates might be expected to vote differently to those in lower per capita emission constituencies. Perhaps someone could adjust the data in the prediction markets? Free Exchange consistently comes off the fence on this issue:

… the best choice would appear to be the pursuit of a market-oriented carbon pricing scheme, with financial assistance to the biggest losers made contingent upon actual, realised losses.

UPDATE (Tuesday 8 Jan) from the FT: is this really what the election is about or is it rather more concerned with domestic issues and voter’s financial concerns?

I realise that I am in danger of falling into the classic European trap of treating an American presidential election as an entertaining freak show, starring Bible-bashers and philanderers, in which the outside world barely exists … it looks more likely that the November election will be a contest between Mr Obama for the Democrats and John McCain, the likely Republican winner in New Hampshire…A McCain-Obama election would confound sniffy, foreign stereotypes of the US electoral process. It would be a contest between two manifestly able men, fought very largely about foreign policy and offering voters a clear and well-argued choice.

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