September 20, 2007 7:40 AM   Subscribe

The National Journal opened its Political Stock Exchange site this week, creating a free, play-money version of the various political market sites. New users get $10,000 in virtual money to bid on real-life options, including all Senate races, the first round of primaries, potential VP selections, and the margin of Bush's approval rating by the end of the year.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For the uninformed on financial markets (such as myself) the basic gist of it:

You get $10,000 in play money to start, which you can use to buy shares of contracts- for example "Hillary Clinton to win the Iowa Caucus." The price is based on the perceived liklihood of the events. For example, "Hillary to win the Iowa Caucus" at 46 means you think there's a 46% chance or greater that it'll happen. If I buy 100 shares of that at market price, $4,600 of my play money is "frozen" until I either sell the shares back or the Iowa Caucus results come in.

You can buy and sell these options up until the actual event, at which point you are paid 100 if it happens, and 0 if it doesn't.

I now anxiously await all the financial people to come in now and tell me what I got wrong on all of that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:53 AM on September 20, 2007

Hillary at 68.6 and Edwards only at 7.4? /me pins hopes on small sample size error
posted by DU at 8:00 AM on September 20, 2007

And Gore at 7.7!
posted by brain_drain at 8:02 AM on September 20, 2007

Fred Thompson is trading very low right now, so that's where I'm dumping about half my cash. I have no belief whatsoever he'll be the GOP nominee but I can't imagine the speculation for him won't break at least 40-50 before plummeting.

Since the site only launched a few days ago it's probably the best time to make some small bids on the Senate races before they become locks, etc.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:06 AM on September 20, 2007

The NH Senate race is already at 70. Still, I think Shaheen is more of a shoo-in than that.
posted by DU at 8:17 AM on September 20, 2007

But where are there mechanisms to prevent insider trading?
posted by drezdn at 8:20 AM on September 20, 2007

They went to the trouble to do a lot of hand-holding when placing bids (i.e. "I AGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT" and so on) but then the position table is completely incomprehensible. Is this something I would need to be a billion dollar hedge fund manager to understand? Also, get on my lawn.
posted by DU at 8:25 AM on September 20, 2007

Yeah, I found chunks of it incomprehensible, but figured the way to start comprehensifying them is to jump in and figure it out as I go. It's weird, I feel a lot more confident about my predictions about Republicans.
posted by COBRA! at 8:35 AM on September 20, 2007

Other prediction exchanges:

Home prices



posted by Terminal Verbosity at 8:36 AM on September 20, 2007

Awesome! I've been waiting for something like this.

Back in 04, I did Frontline's PresidentialMarket.org. It was so much fun!

I spent most of the time going long on Repubs winning individual midwestern states. Made quite a bit of money on that. And then the night before the election, I cashed out my entire portfolio, and bought, like, $110,000 of Kerry Winning the National Election. Drove the price Kerry/National through the roof. This initiated a buying frenzy, and by election night, I had doubled my money.

And then the election happened and I lost everything. Good thing it wasn't real money.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:40 AM on September 20, 2007

I'll put $10,000 on nothing really changing.
posted by eriko at 8:55 AM on September 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

For the record, it appears the winner of the "most obvious" contract is "Electoral Votes for District of Columbia to be Awarded to Democratic Presidential Candidate" which is currently trading at 99.9%.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:04 AM on September 20, 2007

This seems neat, even if I don't understand what the various tables mean. I just dumped a bunch of money into various things in the hopes that I can untangle the mess later.
posted by Godbert at 10:22 AM on September 20, 2007

Intrade is a pretty good setup if you want to put your money where your mouth is. Great fun to watch as things happen.
posted by Skorgu at 11:06 AM on September 20, 2007

Where do I invest in "Bush cancels the '08 elections"? Besides the regular Stock Market?
posted by wendell at 12:26 PM on September 20, 2007

Other prediction exchanges:

One of the originals. Used to love it ... back in 1997!

Hollywood Stock Exchange

I can't believe it's still around.
posted by mrgrimm at 5:31 PM on September 20, 2007

I like to watch the Iowa Electronic Markets, where people invest real money in political futures. Apparently the actual for-profit nature gives the whole shebang decent predictive power. Looks like Hillary is trading high right now, but we still got a ways to go...
posted by ubermuffin at 8:48 PM on September 20, 2007

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