YES! Editorial: Following the money
In an election season with so many surprises, so much pageantry, all this spin, we look to the nation’s bookmakers to get a clear picture of what’s really going on. Last week, as the Republican National Convention came to a close, Americans were treated to some of the best political theater since Mike Dukakis drove a tank. The Democrats seem to be taking the high road — at least that’s how it appeared when Sen. Barack Obama declared candidates’ families to be “off limits” in the hoopla surrounding Gov. Sarah Palin’s pregnant teenage daughter. But then, there are plenty of dirty tricks emanating from the left. That doctored photo of Palin in an American flag bikini didn’t make the internet rounds all by itself — and it doesn’t help matters that the “rifle” in question is actually a BB gun. But it’s hard, in these times, not to take shots at the Republicans, who all of a sudden, in their embrace of the Alaska governor, tacitly endorse many of the things they’ve pointed to as flaws in the Democratic candidate for president, chief among them his lack of experience but also his teenage mother and his birth state of Hawaii, which some spinners attempted to cast as somehow less of a state than the contiguous 48. The Dems will point out that, while it’s true that Alaska became a state a full seven months before Hawaii, it is equally true that Sen. John McCain is himself 23 years older than both of them. At this point in the election, the lies come fast and loose and the facts have been parsed into irrelevance. Everyone in a position to know something, it seems, has sipped the Kool-Aid, carried the water or dove into the tank, and they’re accusing anyone who disagrees with them of doing the same. But in this country, the one who wins is the one who gets the most votes (sort of), the one who resonates the most with the electorate. And each side is absolutely convinced that they will win in a landslide the likes of which has never been seen. Because we don’t trust polls, projections or “trends” (some of us don’t even trust the accuracy of voting machines), we look to the one place where we know we’ll get a straight answer to our question: Las Vegas. Gambling odds are based strictly on betting patterns, with no room for conjecture or BS on the board. As of Monday, the money line at www.betus.com puts Obama at -175 and McCain at 135, meaning a $100 bet for McCain would yield $135, while a $175 bet for Obama would yield $100. Obama clearly has the edge, but putting a yard on McCain is not a bad bet. At the InTrade futures market, www.intrade.com, McCain’s market value has hit a 2008 high at 45.5, meaning that an investment of $45.50 would yield $100 upon McCain’s election. Obama has dropped 2.6 this week, putting his value at 54.0, which means that $54 would yield $100, though he’s shown an overall trend of growth since January, when his asking price was at about $12. The money never lies.
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