Want to know who will win an election? Ask a bookie

We have iPredict but it isn’t really betting in the true sense…In the UK however they do have bookies and they are allowed to bet on elections.

It turns out that betting is a more accurate predictor of an election process than polling.

[W]here should we be looking for our best estimate of what is actually going to happen, to the polls or to the markets? It?s a question that we have been considering in the UK for nearly 30 years.

We can trace the question to July 4 1985, the day that the political betting markets finally came of age in this country. A by-election was taking place in a semi-rural corner of Wales, with Labour and Liberals the key contenders. Ladbrokes made the Liberals odds-on favourite. But on the very morning of the election a poll by Mori gave Labour a commanding?18 percentage point lead. Ladbrokes kept the Liberal candidate as the solid odds-on favourite. And who won? The Liberal ? and anyone who ignored the pollster and followed the money. ??

This didn?t surprise anyone who had followed the history of political betting markets in the US, which correctly predicted almost every US presidential election between 1868 and 1940. In only one year, 1916, did the candidate favoured in the betting the month before the election, Charles E Hughes, end up losing, and that in a very tight race.

The power of the betting markets to assimilate the collective knowledge and wisdom of those willing to back their judgment with money has only increased in recent years as the volume of money wagered has risen dramatically. Betting exchanges now see tens of millions of pounds trading on a single election. Indeed, in 2004 one betting exchange hit the jackpot when their market favourite won every single state in that year?s election. This is like a racing tipster calling the winner of 50 races in a row. The power of the markets has been repeated in every presidential election since.

Perhaps the TAB should get into this properly.


– The Telegraph