Australia Talks Polls

I’ll be one of the three guests tonight on ABC Radio National’s Australia Talks (the program formerly known as Australia Talks Back). The program goes to air from 6-7pm.

The topic is opinion polling, so naturally I just went to check the betting odds for the NSW and federal elections. I hadn’t realised that the Coalition is a 13% chance of winning (Debnam pays $7). I don’t remember ever having seen odds this long in an Australian two-horse race.

Of course, if you believe the polls as a predictive tool, then 13% won’t strike you as low at all. For example, the latest AC Nielsen poll (ALP 61 – Coalition 39) implies that Howard’s chances are less than one in a million.

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5 Responses to Australia Talks Polls

  1. Jed says:

    Parrdon my ignorance, but isn’t the betting placed on who one believes will win the next election, rather than who you personally would vote for.

    If this is the case, it is indicative of how one interprets the electorate’s perception of the candidates rather than how the voter/gambler themselves feels about the candidates.

  2. Peter Tucker says:

    Andrew says: “I hadn’t realised that the Coalition is a 13% chance of winning (Debnam pays $7). I don’t remember ever having seen odds this long in an Australian two-horse race.”

    In a two horse race for the Tas election in March 2006 Centrebet put up $9 for a Labor majority of 13 or more seats, against something like $1.04 for Labor 12 seats or fewer. Forgive my gloating, but I managed to get a bet on at the $9. I think $9 lasted about three hours. By election eve, the 13 plus seat result was favourite at $1.80 and we know the outcome!

  3. Fred Argy says:

    Andrew, I heard you say on the program that the betting market is a more reliable and less volatilve predictor of election outcomes and I do not doubt that it is. In part it is because betters take a longer term perspective when the election is still some way off. But I get the impression that in the short term movements in the betting market follow with a lag what is happening in the opinion polls. So, they interact quite a bit don’t they? And both are showing similar trends.

  4. Andrew Leigh says:

    Peter, nice work on the Tas betting!

    Fred, several of us have formally tested this hypothesis. Polls seem to have a small impact on betting markets, but betting markets are not simply an aggregation of polls.

  5. Brenton Caffin says:

    Andrew,

    Thought you’d appreciate Dennis Shanahan’s take on the betting markets in today’s Oz:

    “While armchair critics out of the political loop cite professional betting as an election prediction, they forget betting markets drift about according to the polls and political news and commentary. ”

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21429545-17301,00.html

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