Patterico's Pontifications

1/17/2010

Can Intrade Be Gamed?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:52 am



Brown and Coakley are currently at a dead heat again on Intrade.

I wonder whether we should care.

I have fallen into the trap of treating Intrade as a serious measurement of an election’s outcome. But I have been thinking: what’s to stop some committed partisan from pouring money into Intrade shares to distort the market, and create the perception that someone is ahead (or, here, not as far behind as she actually is)?

Couldn’t George Soros be betting big on Coakley on Intrade? Not because he thinks she’ll win — but because he wants to create the perception that she can?

Feedback is welcome.

31 Responses to “Can Intrade Be Gamed?”

  1. Soros?
    No, only evil Rethuglicans would stoop so low as to game the system (like trying to drive down a sovereign currency so as to milk Billion$ from a national treasury).
    George only has our best interests at heart – he’s such a good man.

    AD - RtR/OS! (b27208)

  2. The idea that someone like Soros might spend money to influence public opinion and change political perception is beyond belief. If you don’t believe me ask the people at Media Matters.

    Amused Observer (a4f462)

  3. I think we need to realize that for the really committed on the left “any means is good means” if it gets you to the end you want, as should be evidenced by what the Coakley team has already done.

    Besides, didn’t Soros make his fortune in trading currencies? That clearly would be an area akin to betting on the “odds” and based on perception along with true facts, especially if you could manipulate the perception.

    Would manipulating Intrade count as some sort of campaign or election fraud?

    I think the conservative commentators who think “the Dems aren’t evil, they’re just wrong” need to reconsider. Of course, I don’t mean the typical Democrat who just votes and doesn’t pay attention, but those who are active, calling the shots.

    Most of the anti-war demonstrators in the 60’s and 70’s were just young and naive who just figured “we can all get along”, “make love not war”. But there were the SDS and Weathermen types who really were anarchists and felt “betrayed” when all of the followers refused to turn violent and riot.

    People like Bill Ayers, who are now among the top colleagues of the current president and Democratic party.

    In the “It’s OK when we do it” category, I saw Obama preaching in a church on TV earlier today. I didn’t stay on the channel long enough to catch exactly what was going on, but my bet is that it was a live feed from Obama’s “campreaching” at an African American church in Boston (please correct me if I’m wrong). More of the “We’ve started to do important things, like look at healthcare and education”. I think he wants dates to be recorded as “BO” and “AO”, with everything “BO” considered the uncivilized era of human development.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  4. anything can be gamed, and, sooner or later, someone will.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  5. It seems like a waste of money. How many people vote based on Intrade? How many people (even journalists) even know about it? There must be a better way to use that money to get votes.

    Now, if the election is fixed, then spending that money on Intrade might increase the plausibility of the election. But other than that, it doesn’t seem like a useful thing to do.

    JayC (46ff20)

  6. MD,

    I think the conservative commentators who think “the Dems aren’t evil, they’re just wrong” need to reconsider.

    Please don’t include me in that. I constantly refer to them as demoncrap party as they are always trying to pass evil shit.

    peedoffamerican (2c18e1)

  7. Wasn’t Intrade off by a lot on the Doug Hoffman race? They’re no more reliable than PPP or the others.

    Curt (949d3d)

  8. Took you that long to figure out that the system could be gamed?

    Pat, I thought you were….smarter than that.

    In an election, theoretically, each person con vote once. Intrade allows one to vote with $$. The more $$, the more you can influence the market.

    Dr. K (adb7ba)

  9. If someone like Soros did it right, he would not lose money. Drive Brown down and Coakley up, then, like he did with the British pound in the 70s, flip at the end to cash out on the winning side. It’s a bit like those Congressmen who vote the conservative way when it doesn’t matter except for re-election.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  10. “Now, if the election is fixed, then spending that money on Intrade might increase the plausibility of the election.”

    Why would anyone bet on a fixed race, why that would take all the sport out of it.

    Amused Observer (a4f462)

  11. Oh yeah, then there’s the option to lock in your profits. Selling a share is like taking back a vote. Did not know elections worked that way.

    Dr. K (adb7ba)

  12. Considering people who have no intention to vote or that can’t even vote in the Mass. election can ‘vote’ on Intrade, I’d say ‘gaming’ the system is very simple.

    Lord Nazh (0d312a)

  13. Soros? On his internets screen. Y’all are too much.

    imdw (842182)

  14. Well, there’s the maroon vote.

    AD - RtR/OS! (b27208)

  15. well, intrade is not a poll, so at best it reflects expectations. And expectations is a weird issue in politics. for instance, it is generally thought that the less people pay attention in Mass. the better Brown does. Now if that is the case, and you are George Soros, you would want every indicator of a Brown victory, so that all the dems freak out and vote. See?

    But you are correct to say that if you rely on intrade to be predictive, then you are makig a mistake. it just isn’t very scientific, bluntly.

    A.W. (f97997)

  16. It would require risking a lot of money, and it wouldn’t really be all that influential.

    There are better ways for such a person to influence the outcome that wouldn’t cost so much.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  17. How much would it have to be before, for a George Soros, it exceeded f…-it money?

    AD - RtR/OS! (b27208)

  18. Gotta go with Jay C. at #5 on this one. I don’t see the advantage or possible positive outcome on it, given that maybe 1% of the people I know, active politically, are really even aware of InTrade.

    1560 SHP (d93c26)

  19. And we are back to the “y’all”s AD. Sigh.

    Pre-election drinking again?

    Eric Blair (70639b)

  20. I didn’t think there were still any states that allowed under 21’s to buy alcohol.

    AD - RtR/OS! (b27208)

  21. There have been suspicions about manipulation of intrade prices in the past. It is possible but it is questionable that this is a sensible way of helping a candidate.

    James B. Shearer (172cfb)

  22. Intrade now (6:05 p.m.) has Brown up 65-35 over Coakley. I have to wonder if Intrade is being gamed, because the spread is so wide.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  23. Took you that long to figure out that the system could be gamed?

    Pat, I thought you were….smarter than that.

    Now you know better!

    I just never thought about it before. Since a lot of people cite Intrade, I guess I’m not the only one.

    We can’t ALL have those big Dr. K brains!

    Patterico (eaf05f)

  24. Intrade now down to 60-40 for Brown.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (9eb641)

  25. Intrade is no more infallible than a betting line.

    trentk269 (3f3db7)

  26. Sounds a bit like Leon’s advice to Larry on Curb Your Enthusiasm:

    “Turn that shit around on em…topsy turvy that Motha Fu*ka.”

    PC14 (82e46c)

  27. Damn, that George Soros is sneaky! Will he stop at nothing?! We have to stop him!

    Leviticus (30ac20)

  28. I think I affirmatively said Soros was doing this, right, Leviticus? So your comment is spot on.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  29. “Couldn’t George Soros be betting big on Coakley on Intrade? Not because he thinks she’ll win — but because he wants to create the perception that she can?”

    – Patterico

    Couldn’t Mitt Romney? Not because he thinks she’ll win, but because he wants to scare conservative Massachusetts voters into thinking Brown needs their help, just to be safe?

    Don’t pretend you don’t get the point – throwing in Soros’ name is just red meat for the Tinfoil Hat Gang.

    And don’t pretend you don’t understand and appreciate the powers of implication and suggestion.

    Leviticus (70afc5)

  30. Mitt wouldn’t do that but Soros would. Soros is into this kind of weirdo behavior, and it’s legit to wonder aloud how far he’d go. Inventing Rush quotes? Absolutely. Investing in offshore drilling while funding a campaign to stop (competing) efforts by US firms. Absolutely.

    Putting a few thousand into intrade to demoralize the right? Of course this is within the realm of possibility. Why is it that conservatives need ironclad proof to wonder how far the left will go? We’ve read Alinksy. Some of them, particularly Soros, will happily do whatever it takes. Some of them will help pimps with child prostitutes evade taxation and build clientele if it will organize the community a little bluer.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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