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Pollsters and profiteering

Pollsters and profiteering
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First Published: Tue, May 12 2009. 11 53 PM IST
Updated: Tue, May 12 2009. 11 53 PM IST
Predicting election outcomes is a lucrative sport, which has spawned a cottage industry of punditry, polling and political modelling.
But the most accurate political prognosticators may be some of the most ancient: gamblers. Reuters reports that illicit bookies in Delhi’s “maze of back alleys” are putting their money on different seat outcomes.
To be sure, these gamblers are likely not privy to any more information than the rest of us. But predictions, it seems, have more weight when, as the axiom goes, you put your money where your mouth is. This is especially true in an opaque election cycle, where exit polls have been banned until after polling ends—on Wednesday.
Lately, there has been much buzz around predictive futures markets, where traders make speculative transactions on events—in a simulated market. For example, Intrade, a political futures market, tracked the US Democratic primary with accuracy rivalling the most revered pollsters. Do these Delhi bookies function similarly? Or are they just more chatter in the political fray?
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First Published: Tue, May 12 2009. 11 53 PM IST
More Topics: Polling | US | Democracy | Traders | US |