Is it time to start betting on electoral college votes?

Is it time to start betting on electoral college votes?


    Could Obama win by more than the bare margin?

The latest polling numbers have been good for Barack Obama ahead of his coming battle with John McCain for the White House. Today’s LA Times/Bloomberg poll has a 12% margin which rises to 15% when the the minor candidates of Nader and Barr are added into the mix.

Add on to that his decision to avoid public financing for the campaign and the signs are that he’ll be able to outspend McCain by three or four to one in the run-up to November 5th. Obama has also got the hidden benefit of the online mailing list of a million plus names of donors and people who helped with his intensive multi-state primary campaign.

    So how many of the 538 electoral college votes can he expect to take on the first Tuesday in November and is it worth spread-betting on the number?

There is a small spread market on Spreadfair where the current prices are Democrats: 290 – 293.5 EC votes and the Republicans 242 – 250. There’s almost no liquidity at the moment and most of what’s available on Obama has been taken by me. My guess is that this will grow considerably as we head towards polling day.

The great thing about betting in this way is that the more you are right the more you win. By my reckoning the down-side risk on Obama is much lower than the potential upside return.

Mike Smithson


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