Monday, October 02, 2006

Predicting Elections Through Massive Brain Convergence

This post will be a bit esoteric, be forewarned. However, you might find it very useful, or at least worthy of contemplating the potential effects.

If you needed to make a decision tomorrow, it would be nice to have a trusted expert help you with making that choice. Even better, you might like to have three experts with varying points of view and backgrounds provide you with a bit of debate. Or like the CEO of a major corporation or the president of the United States, you could have a cabinet of top experts backed up by research staffs of other experts all producing white papers to help with the decision.

Some have suggested that the ultimate such set of experts would be all those who are willing to bet their own money on the outcome. In other words, if I had 10 board members who have varying opinions on some subject, why not let them place monetary bets on the outcome. Those who are most convinced would likely bet the most. Those who are blowhards would either walk away or bet just to cover their pride.

Now, we'll make the betting secret. Now only informed self interest is in play. Finally, what if you had 100's or even 1000's of folks who were willing to research the subject, consider likely outcomes, and then bet their own money on the outcome. Don't you suppose that such a system would produce pretty good predictions of the success of your venture?

Well, you may or may not know that such a system exists. People bet on the outcomes of far more than football games and prize fights. And one of the things they bet on is elections. So, would it interest you to know what this group is predicting for the Fall?

As of today, 87% expect Republicans to retain control of the Senate, while only 51% expect that result in the House. The House betting has been moving more to the Republicans over the last few weeks, but took a dip over the weekend. Probably had to do with some Florida congressman who talks nasty to teenage boys in e-mails.

If you'd like to keep track, go here.

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