Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press

I see that Slate now puts the odds of Harriet Miers confirmation at 70%. Silly Slate, don’t they know that niche is taken? As I’ve mentioned before, the best bet, literally, is to follow the gamblers. And as of press time, they are betting that Miers has a 3 in 10 chance of making it to the Big Bench. Want a second opinion? It’s pretty much the same as the first.

15 comments for “Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press

  1. Karl D.
    October 26, 2005 at 5:26 pm


    I love as much as next economist, but the lack of depth in this market worries me a bit. The bid-ask spread is huge for anything but a non-trivial trade size (unless that Quantity = 5 really means 5000 shares). Take a look at the order book; A quantity of 100 had a bid of 25 and an ask of 37.5. Yes, it is a long way from 70%, but, come on, the spread is almost 1/2 the size of the bid-price.

    note: yes, I am assuming that there isn’t a lot of automated order splitting going on.

  2. October 26, 2005 at 5:54 pm

    You’re right that this market is nowhere near as deep as, for example, the Presidential one was in 2004. And so perhaps it is dominated by a few lunatics. But each contract is worth $10, so the market cap is about $120,000. Not huge, but probably more than Slate has on the line. And as you note, the bid and ask are both a long, long way from 70%.

    As for the bids of 100, I don’t see them. I see an offer for 10 (meaning $100) at 32 and a bid for 35 (worth $350) at 29.5. I’m willing to believe the probability, therefore, is somewhere in the 25-35% range, which means that even if I put a nice margin on either side of the bid/ask prices I still know what I want to know — that the best guess is she won’t get confirmed.

  3. Karl D.
    October 26, 2005 at 6:16 pm

    You need to click on the contract; it will give you a order book with the last 15 orders. There are (or were) a couple of bigger orders on the list.

    that the best guess is she won’t get confirmed.

    I agree, but some caution is warranted.

  4. ed
    October 26, 2005 at 6:56 pm

    I don’t think this market is really any thinner than the presidential market was, if I remember right. The volumes have been pretty good by tradesports standards for the last couple of days, on the order of several hundred contracts per day (with each contract selling for $3-$4). It’s not Wall Street, by any means, but you can bet a few hundred dollars if you think you have some insight. (For fun I made a couple of hundred dollars last year arbitraging price differences between tradesports and the iowa markets. Thin markets were always an issue when trying to exploit theses price differences.)

    I agree about the Slate feature…now that so many people know about the markets, why should we care what a couple of people at Slate think? And I wonder if they’d be willing to put their money where their mouth is.

  5. October 26, 2005 at 9:33 pm

    “For fun I made a couple of hundred dollars last year arbitraging price differences between tradesports and the iowa markets. ”

    I see you’re doing your part to keep markets efficient!

    As for the size of the market, I seem to remember the tradesports market was humongous in the last couple of weeks– like hundreds of thousands of contracts–putting the market size in the millions.

  6. jjohnsen
    October 27, 2005 at 9:10 am

    She just withdrew, so 70% was pretty high.

  7. Seth Rogers
    October 27, 2005 at 11:16 am

    Gee …

    What a trainwreck.

  8. ed
    October 27, 2005 at 3:24 pm

    I see that tradesports now has new contracts up for the next nominee. It appears there’s a 45% chance that his or her full name will include at least one of the words “Edith” or “Brown.”

  9. Aaron Brown
    October 27, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    Thank goodness that’s over.

    Aaron B

  10. gst
    October 27, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    Ed, that could mean that he’ll nominate Michael Brown!

  11. October 27, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    Or Aaron Brown

  12. Aaron Brown
    October 27, 2005 at 7:18 pm

    I accept. I may not have served on a lottery commission, but I didn’t go to SMU either. I’m a shoe-in.

    Aaron B

  13. October 27, 2005 at 7:39 pm

    When alone, I often refer to myself as Edith Brown.

  14. October 27, 2005 at 9:52 pm


    Tradesports is now letting you sell $1 for $1.12, speaking of arbitrage opportunities. Earlier today it was $1.25. ANd I have to admit to being happy that the lead contender is McConnell.

  15. ed
    October 27, 2005 at 11:56 pm

    Yeah, McConnell would be good, but I don’t have high hopes.

    That’s pretty interesting about the arbitrage opportunities. I don’t think you could make too much money, though, once you pay the 8 cents/trade commission. I’m surprised that Tradesports doesn’t make the trades themselves…maybe it’s because they are making some of the offers themselves in order to play market maker? I see the volume is running pretty high on these new supreme court contracts, so maybe someone has been taking advantage of the arbitrage already.

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