June 20, 2004


Polls schmolls. The most accurate guide to Australian elections may be gambling agency Centrebet, which claims that its odds have successfully predicted every Federal election winner since 1993. In the last election, for example:

Following the Tampa incident ... the punters reacted before the polls, and Howard has been all the rage, attracting two bets of $10,000 amid other large wagers.

Election gamblers now sense the arrival of another Tampa:

Centrebet has Mr Howard as favourite to win. The Coalition is paying $1.65, Labor $2.10. Gerard Duffy of Centrebet said backing for the Coalition to win had shot up after Mark Latham brought in Peter Garrett.

"One punter put $10,000 on the Coalition the moment he heard Garrett had joined Labor," Mr Duffy said.

More here.

UPDATE. Poll latest:

Voter support for the Prime Minister and the Government has bounced back, with the Coalition's primary vote now ahead of Labor's, by one point, for the first time since Mark Latham took the ALP leadership, the latest Herald Poll shows.

UPDATE II. Poll latest latest:

Overall, 14 per cent of voters polled by ACNielsen said Mr Garrett's decision to join Labor had made them more likely to vote for the party, while 18 per cent were less inclined.

UPDATE III. And from Paul Sheehan:

Whether Australians believe Mark Latham is the person to confront medievalism, or has already flinched in the face of it, may determine the coming federal election.

UPDATE IV. Now it swings the other way:

The chances of an August 7 election have dimmed, as Mark Latham and Labor have recovered from a big post-budget drop in support to hold a razor-thin election-winning edge.

After recruiting former rock star Peter Garrett, the ALP has neutralised a 10-point deficit on primary votes.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 20, 2004 03:45 AM

In pignoribus veritas.

Posted by: ForNow at June 20, 2004 at 04:02 AM

This might be a good way of hedging. For example, if you have a mortgage, you might want to place some money on Latham, so, if he wins, you can afford to pay off the 17% interest rates.

Posted by: 2dogs at June 20, 2004 at 07:33 AM

I've wondered how hedgers might distort these markets, as they would be betting (punting?) against their hopes, rather than for their expectations. Any game theorists care to comment?

Posted by: Tim Shell at June 20, 2004 at 11:39 AM

They have futures markets for the US election as well and Bush is running at about 59-60 (out of 100) at the moment.

Posted by: drscroogemcduck at June 20, 2004 at 01:18 PM

Hedging would make up a small part of the market and be an influence, not a determining factor. When people hedge the the price moves up and pay out decreases until the taking on an additional position is worthless. What matters is the portion of the market that are hedgers, but the cost and pay out relationship would dictate that. There also must be people willing to take the opposite position in this situation so hedging shouldn't dictate the price.

Posted by: aaron at June 20, 2004 at 01:27 PM

From the Toronto Star:

LONDON - A Canadian bettor has gambled $150,000 ($110,000US) that U.S. President George W. Bush will win re-election in November, the largest wager Ladbrokes bookmakers has ever taken on an American vote, it said today.

Ladbrokes placed odds of 8 to 11 on a Bush victory, meaning the bookies think the Republican president is slightly more likely to win than his Democratic opponent, U.S. Senator John Kerry.

Posted by: gnotalex at June 20, 2004 at 01:32 PM

Better tell the intelligensia who run the leftist media in Australia. If Howard does win a third term, they will not be able to comprehend it.

The people after all will have spoken.

Posted by: nic at June 20, 2004 at 01:36 PM

Guys, do we have an arbitrage position here?

Sell Bush win with Tradesports to $100 $59.10
Place on Bush win with Centrebet to $100 55.55
Profit $ 3.55

(Centrebet has Bush $1.80 payout for $1.00 bet.
Bid price on Tradesports 59.1)

Are there any fees that are going to hurt me here?

Posted by: 2dogs at June 20, 2004 at 02:10 PM

2dogs, even if there isn't, 1.8% odd is a pretty poor return from now until November. You'd be better off investing the money.

Posted by: ChrisV at June 20, 2004 at 03:02 PM

That would be a fourth term; '96, '98 and 2001.
And, hopefully, 2004.

Posted by: Jimothy at June 20, 2004 at 05:09 PM


If there was an arbitrage opprotunity you'd have to take it immediately. Today's financial markets are very efficient.

Posted by: Dan at June 20, 2004 at 09:42 PM

ChrisV - the return would not be 1.8% because 2dogs would not be paying $200. He would be writing the first contract, so that's $100 someone is paying him, and then he'd pay out $100 for the second contract. So it looks like a good trade. That $3.55 could come in very handy down the road.

In other news: Has anyone noticed how the US stock market has been flat ever since Kerry emerged as the Democratic front-runner in January?


Posted by: Tim Shell at June 20, 2004 at 10:05 PM

Hey Jimothy, I think Johnny getting re-elected is a good bet. He was at further odds in all the previous elections and shit them in.

Howard has done a fucking good job whether the lefties like it or not. When it comes to voting for Labor, heaven forbid, just because your oldies did and voting to keep your house becauuse of Labor's high interest rates I know which way the leftoids will eventually go.

All the left, including the media, have made personal attacks on Howard from day one, calling him a dictator, a racist, an asslicker and so on. They've even tried to implicate the Howard governmet in the prisoner abuse but in the end the public have had a gut full of them. Johnny's approval is up because he is the right man for the job.

Posted by: scott at June 21, 2004 at 06:43 PM