Rick Perry Takes The Lead – In Predictions Market

InTrade prediction market shows Perry as a frontrunner—which matters even if it's not true.
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Despite a whole lot of chatter, Gov. Rick Perry has yet to actually announce that he is running for president. That means he can hardly fundraise at full capacity and he isn’t moonlighting in Iowa and New Hampshire. So you might not expect to see the headline: “Rick Perry To Be The Republican Presidential Nominee.

The banner comes from InTrade, a predictions market that takes odds on whether different things will happen. It allows you to buy and sell stocks on different predictions. And right now, the prediction that Perry will be the nominee is leading the way, currently valued more than such predictions for any of the actual, announced candidates. The news is particularly striking in light of the recent Rasmussen poll, which has Perry in a virtual tie with Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and within striking distance of former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

By InTrade’s measure, Bachmann is slipping. The extreme Tea Party conservative peaked in early July, and even then, the site only showed her with an 18 percent chance of becoming the nominee. Now it’s down to 5.9 percent. Meanwhile Perry’s currently shown with a 35 percent chance, beating out Mitt Romney by almost five points.

Perry’s chart is striking. His stock value has more than doubled since the beginning of July. Except for a slight downturn last week, the governor’s value has been climbing pretty steadily. Despite taking some heat for his prayer rally and its advocates, Perry has plenty of people convinced that he’s the guy to beat. 

The news is important not because it’s necessarily accurate, but because it’s validating. Much like the polls, InTrade helps feed the notion that Perry can win, despite how long he’s waited to announce. The waiting is certainly a gamble—he’s avoiding some of the scrutiny the other candidates face and he doesn’t have to actually take anyone o head-on. But he’ll have to raise money fast and ingratiate himself quickly with Iowa and New Hampshire voters, who like to meet their candidates face-to-face. To raise enough money and initiate the necessary level of organization, Perry needs to remain a credible threat. The more Perry receives accolades, the more attention his non-campaign campaign gets, and the better his actual chances will be.

And predictions from InTrade can only help him.