Facing South

Traders give Lincoln 80% chance of winning primary, 20% of winning general

In Arkansas' closely-watched primary today for U.S. Senate, the polls and pundits are saying embattled incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) has a big enough lead to win against labor/progressive-backed challenger Bill Halter, maybe by enough points to avoid a runoff.

Long-time Arkansas political watcher John Brummett (who voted for Halter) says that if Lincoln wins, it'll be because she's getting the votes of Democrats who think she has the best shot of beating the Repulicans in November.

But what do investors think?

Given recent events, the phrase "wisdom of the market" may seem like an oxymoron. But traders in the prediction markets like those at Intrade, where investors can essentially bet on a candidate's chances of emerging victorious, they have a decent track record of picking the winners.

And right now, traders are bullish on Lincoln's chances of winning the primary. She's currently trading at 80, which means investors give her about an 80% chance of being the Democratic nominee:

INTRADE: Arkansas - Democratic Senate Primary
Blanche Lincoln to win the Democratic nomination for 2010 Arkansas Senate Race


Price for Arkansas - Democratic Senate Primary at intrade.com

But what about November? Not so much. The market is showing little confidence in Lincoln's prospects. Right now Lincoln is trading at 11, which means traders think she has an 11% chance of winning the general election:

INTRADE: Arkansas (Incumbent: Blanche Lincoln - D)

Democratic Party candidate to win


 Price for Arkansas (Incumbent: Blanche Lincoln - D) at intrade.com

On the other side, the trend lines for the Arkansas GOP are all up and up: Intrade has Republicans with a 90% chance of winning the U.S. Senate seat.

What about the other big primary today in Kentucky? Republican Rand Paul is considered a safe bet for locking up the GOP nomination for U.S. senate: The traders are giving him about a 95% chance of winning.

After that, the traders think Republicans have about 66% odds of winning in November.

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re: Traders give Lincoln 80% chance of winning primary, 20% of w

That's a rather thin market on the primary. The last trade was at 80%, but the current bid and ask are 20% and 95%, respectively