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Who will win the Democratic nomination? Who will be the next president? When might Britney Spears go back to rehab? And who will be the next "American Idol"? intrade On Intrade.com traders can buy shares of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Their price indicates whether or not buyers believe the candidate has a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination. (ABC News Photo Illustration)
Don't look for guidance from TV pundits or gossip magazines. Instead, go to the Web site where people are putting their money where their mouths are: Intrade.com.
Intrade is a futures market, just like commodities markets where people make trades betting on the future prices of things like oil, gold and pork bellies. On Intrade, thousands of people bet on the outcomes of current events.
Here's how it works: If you're convinced that Hillary Clinton is headed for the White House, you can log onto Intrade.com and buy shares betting that she'll get the Democratic nomination. Right now, her share price is low, around 10 cents, because many think it's unlikely she'll be nominated. But if things start looking up for Clinton, more people will buy her shares, and the price of each share will rise. If she actually gets the nomination, each share will be worth a dollar and you will have made a hefty return on your investment.
Hillary Clinton may be staying in the race, but she might be about the only one betting she'll capture the presidency.
Bettors and bookies in the American prediction markets say the Democratic presidential candidate's stock is plummeting.
The New York senator has about an 8.6 percent chance of winning the nomination, which means the former favorite is nearly finished. Intrade, which allows investors to buy and sell shares in the presidential candidates, gave Clinton a nearly 75 percent chance of securing the nomination just six months ago.
Following a huge defeat in North Carolina and a close scrape in Indiana, pundits and politicians are calling on Clinton to cede the race to Barack Obama, who is now seen as a sure bet by the markets.
Obama's numbers are ascendant. Intrade gave him a 90 percent chance of securing the nomination Thursday - a near lock. John McCain, who has already gotten the nod from Republicans, is trading at 95.2 percent, barely above Obama.
London bookies, who take bets on everything from polo to politics, say Clinton has about a 5-1 chance of securing her party's nomination.
Ladbrokes bookmakers have Clinton's chances at 11-2, meaning that any $2 bet on a Clinton victory nets $11 for the bettor. William Hill bookmakers give Clinton slightly better odds at 5-1, but it's still a near-complete reversal for the one-time front-runner.
That doesn't mean all hope is lost for Clinton. During McCain's long summer of discontent in 2007, his Intrade numbers dropped to as low as 2 percent. If her fortunes change, Clinton, now a long-shot, could end up being a bettor's dream.
As Senators Clinton and Obama square off in Indiana and North Carolina, are the Intrade Political Futures Markets (www.intrade.com) forecasting a split decision?
A rundown of the active Political Futures contracts from Intrade:
Contracts for the Democratic Nomination: Obama's Intrade futures contract on his chance of winning the Democratic nomination, [OBAMA08 89.9 0.20 (+0.22%)] is currently showing that Obama has a 77.20% probability of receiving the Democratic nod, and is off his lifetime high of an 88.5% probability. *The 77.20% probability is not yet a "knock out punch" according to Intrade. On average, a clear winner per the Intrade markets is not indicated until a contract is trading regularly above a 90% or 95% probability.
Clinton's Intrade futures contract on her chance of winning the Democratic nomination [CLINTON08 8.7 -0.80 (-8.42%)] is currently showing that Clinton has a 20.60% probability of receiving the Democratic nod, off her lifetime high of 74.9% probability, but also significantly off her lows of an 11.6% probability.
Intrade Contracts for the North Carolina and Indiana Primaries for Clinton and Obama: Obama's contract on the probability of winning North Carolina [OBAMA.NC 99.4 7.30 (+7.93%)] is showing Obama as the clear front runner at a 92.9% probability of winning the state and trading near the lifetime high of a 93.3% probability.
Clinton's contract on the probability of winning North Carolina [CLINTON.NC 0.9 -8.00 (-89.89%)] is currently showing almost no chance for Clinton to win the state, at a less than 10% probability, well off her lifetime high of a 34% probability of winning North Carolina.
Clinton's contract on the probability of winning Indiana [CLINTON.IN 99.0 5.30 (+5.66%)] is showing Clinton as the strong front runner at an 91.50% probability of winning, and at a lifetime high of winning the state.
Obama's contract on the probability of winning Indiana [OBAMA.IN 0.9 -5.70 (-86.36%)] is currently showing Obama at an only 8.10% probability of winning the state, and well off his lifetime high for this contract of an 80% probability to win.
Intrade Contracts to win the Presidency in 2008: The Intrade markets are leaning towards McCain or Obama to win the presidency, but nobody is yet the clear front runner, and Clinton has not been fully cut out of the race. Obama's presidential contract [OBAMA.P 55.7 2.80 (+5.29%)] is currently showing a 43.10% probability that he will win the presidency in '08 according to the Intrade markets, off his lifetime high of a 64% probability to win, so it is still an open election.
McCain's presidential contract [MCCAIN.P 38.0 -0.10 (-0.26%)] is currently showing a 39.60% probability that he will win the presidency in '08, slightly off his lifetime high of 41.40%, but still a solid candidate.
Clinton's presidential contract [CLINTON.P 7.3 --- UNCH (0%)] is currently showing a 18.50% probability that she will win the presidency in '08, off her lifetime high of 50.2%, but also off her low of a 5.2% probability to win.
As record oil prices NYMEX CRUDE OIL FUTURES Front Month US%40CL.1
126.0 2.31 +1.87% BIS Quote | Chart | News | Profile [US@CL.1 126.0 2.31 (+1.87%)] and a gas tax become a focus point for the candidates, where do the Intrade markets predict oil will close out the year?
The Intrade contract for oil closing out the year at or greater than $100 per barrel [OIL.100 71.5 --- UNCH (0%)] is currently at a 71.5% probability according to the Intrade markets, and the contract is at its lifetime high.
The Intrade contract for oil closing out the year at or greater than $115 per barrel is currently at a 60% probability [OIL.115 74.0 14.00 (+23.33%)] according to the Intrade markets, up over 20% just today, and also at its lifetime high.