Intrade goes to great lengths to transparently define the contracts in their markets for hosts of potential pitfalls: candidate deaths, calling outcomes, etc. The investors in this market are fully aware of what they are trading and the risks associate with that.
The Republican convention is in two weeks. Both Romney and Ryan will give big, primetime speeches. I don't know what will be in those speeches. It barely matters though. The general contours of the narrative are already clear in advance.
Prediction markets are created for making predictions on a wide range of topics, from presidential elections to celebrity divorces. The current prices of the contracts on these markets can then be interpreted as the probability of an event taking place.
"Intrade for political professionals is like the ultimate insider training. I feel like Martha Stewart. You take the industry you live and breathe and know and love and hate, and you make money off of it."
The world is different now from when Karl Rove and Matthew Dowd crafted a political strategy in a world with no center. Today, the center looms, and Republican chances are zero if they cannot win the suburbs.
There is a reason Karl Rove and the Bush family have fought this guy. Perry just either says what he wants with no regard for outcomes, or says what he wants with full regard for outcomes. I suspect it's the latter.
Currently the most popular market on Intrade is the prospective fall of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, garnering more than $100,000 in wagers. Markets regarding the fates of other Middle Eastern leaders have been nearly as hot.
A professional horseplayer once told me that compared to handicapping horse races, elections were a cakewalk. "Polls can be inaccurate," he said. "Gamblers are accurate or they lose." There's considerable evidence he was on the money.
When the Secretary of State page went up on November 5th and the bets started to be laid down on Intrade, there was a large number, relatively, of initial bets placed on Hillary for Secretary of State.