Public Opinion: October 2004 vs. October 2006

Pace Jim Geraghty, Bush’s prospects as of three weeks before the 2004 elections were much better than are Republican House prospects now. Bush’s reelect odds back then were greater than 50% on Intrade’s futures market, whereas the Republicans are now below 35% odds to hold their House majority. This doesn’t mean the Republicans will lose (though Intrade’s markets have a good predictive record). It does suggest that today’s pre-election climate of anti-Republican media opinion is more representative of reality than was the MSM’s barrage of anti-Bush FUD in 2004.

(via Glenn Reynolds)

13 thoughts on “Public Opinion: October 2004 vs. October 2006”

  1. But the futures markets showed Bush ahead in 2004. Same media barrage, different response from the futures markets.

    Alas, I fear that 35% odds are yet another example of the good predictive record.

  2. I don’t think we disagree. I’m arguing that the different price behavior in the futures markets now as compared to then suggests that the similarities between 2006 and 2004 are superficial. Of course only time will tell if I am right.

  3. Whether or not the Republicans lose the House of Representatives, the political right should re-elaluate why in the heck we call the Leftist News Media (LNM) the “mainstream news media.” What is “mainstream” about the LNM? They really DO have an agenda, and it certainly doesn’t have anything whatsoever to do with giving the political right ANY fair nor reasonable news coverage when they “report” THEIR “news.” Words and phrases really DO matter.

    Take the abortion issue. Pro-lifers capitulated when pro-abortion advocates were offended by being called pro-abortion. They are now called pro-choice, which is a rather favorable phrase in our lexicon. This also means that the pro-lifers are now called anti-choice, since it is the opposite of pro-choice. Anti-choice is a rather bad phrase in our lexicon.

    If we continue to FALSELY call the LNM something that they obviously are NOT, we are purpetuating that false myth, and at the same time regulating the political right news media as the “far right” media.

  4. I wonder how valuable the “predictive” powers of a market like Intratrade really is. It only matters if it’s telling us something we don’t already know. So, if the various polls are prediciting the same thing, then what’s the point of using a market to devine the future outcome?

    One of the ways a market is better is that it aggregates a lot of independent opinions. But if all the participants in that market are seeing the same stories and polls, then it seems to me that the market ends up biased in the same way that the polls do. If the markets get absorbed into the groupthink, then they cease to be valuable.

    It would be more interesting if the Intratrade markets predicted the defeat of the Republicans in the House 3 or 6 months ago. Now that it’s 3 weeks to go and everybody agrees that it looks doubtful, the market based prediction isn’t telling me much.

  5. Insta often offers up such meaningless stuff. Compare what was going on in Congress back then: no Abramoff scandal, no page scandal etc with what is going on now–not to mention Iraq etc

  6. “I wonder how valuable the “predictive” powers of a market like Intratrade really is. ”

    It was very good during the last presidential election. All the noise from the MSM moved it very, very little. The polls fluctuate, the futures market never showed Kerry ahead, or only very briefly.

    The long term trend for the House GOP is available as a chart on the Intrade site. It shows a long term general decline for over a year.

  7. The fact that Intrade and similar markets do not predict perfectly is meaningless. What matters is that they predict better than do most pollsters and journalists. It’s no mystery why this is so: groups of people putting their own money at risk generally predict better than do spectators.

  8. Right now I have two prediction markets.

    One is Intrade over on the left side of this page. As noted, it is certain that the Democrat party will control the HoR.

    As an investor, that idea makes me ill. The 15% rates for dividends and capital gains will expire in 2010, unless renewed. If the Ds control the HoR, Charlie Rangle will be the chairman of Ways and Means.

    OTOH, the DJIA sets new records almost every day (8 pts shy of 12K at today’s close). Oil is now $58/bbl. down from from a high of $78. Inflation is disappearing.

    The financial markets seem to say calm waters, fair winds.

    Somebody is wrong about something.

  9. Robert, I agree that these two things seem to be out of step. I don’t understand it either. Maybe a very slim majority of Donks in the House will not be able to do much, without the Senate and the Presidency?

  10. Don’t forget that it seems like a fair number of the new Dem blood are fairly moderate. They could just be doing it for the elections but Fords endorsement of Lieberman is appears to be more then just pandering

  11. Whether or not the Republicans lose the House of Representatives, the political right should re-elaluate why in the heck we call the Leftist News Media (LNM) the “mainstream news media.” What is “mainstream” about the LNM?

    They are the only game in town, or at least they can reach the most people. That makes them mainstream, even if they are hopelessly out of touch.


  12. Here’s a link to Riehl World’s examples of 2002 polls. (Via Instapundit.) In the last four years pollsters have honed their skills. And I suspect the pressures of not wanting to merely throw your money out of sentimentality makes tradespots accurate. This probably shouldn’t hearten us.

    I do think the right is tougher – or at least willing to face facts. For instance, in 2000 my daughter was doing working in a Utexas office. The department chair (a fairly famous historian) was absolutely certain that Florida was going to come in Democratic because of the large Jewish vote arriving in absentee ballots from Israel. Not that Gore’s team was that out of touch.

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