Jim Anderton will easily win the Christchurch mayoralty, says an online trading stockmarket that has a history of picking the winners of political contests.A couple of friendly corrections. iPredict has never run contracts on anything of "sporting" significance: we're prohibited from doing so by the regulation authorizing our running as an exempt futures exchange. And, of course, the Frampton thing. Of the two usual typos, I prefer Clapton to Frampton.
Trading on the Wellington-based iPredict website yesterday gave the Wigram MP an 84 per cent chance of winning the October election, with Mayor Bob Parker given just a 15 per cent chance of winning a second term.
The first poll of the election season this week also gave Anderton a strong lead.
Formed about two years ago, iPredict has correctly predicted other events of political and sporting significance.
Anderton said the poll "reflects the mood of the city", but he did not approve of any online "gambling website".
Parker said there were bound to be lots of polls and websites on the mayoralty race.
He was standing because he and the council had set out a positive blueprint for the city and he wanted to continue "being a part of that".
Canterbury University senior economics lecturer Eric Frampton, who sits on the iPredict advisory board, said the Christchurch mayoralty contest had attracted plenty of trading.
He believed more money would be placed on the race over the next 3 1/2 months.
Parker's online fortunes had plummeted in recent months, said Frampton, who has placed money on him winning a second term.
Early this year, Parker was given a 54 per cent winning chance on the site.
"Parker started to drop after Anderton confirmed he was running and he fell further after this week's poll came out," Frampton said.
"I thought the [ministerial] credit-card expense controversy would have hit him [Anderton], but it didn't."
Now, trading. Bob Parker's currently sitting around 16 cents; Anderton at 83.5 cents. Parker's price is shockingly low for an incumbent mayor who hasn't had any particularly huge scandals. But there have been lots of dribs and drabs: what was seen as a bailout of David Henderson's real estate venture, secrecy around the price paid to attract the Ellerslie Flower Show, and his push for the building of a music conservatory for the University downtown in a parking lot at the Arts Centre. This last one attracted a fair bit of opposition, but it seemed a really vocal small minority. Dick Fife at the Dux DeLux was really mad about it, and the usual historical preservation groups were mad, but the outrage seemed pretty much contained to the small group.
But then that poll came out. An internet panel poll rather than a proper phone survey, but it showed pretty strong disapproval ratings for Parker. I'd think it would be Parker's disapproval ratings that spiked the price down more than Anderton's absolute polling numbers as the poll was conducted prior to revelations about Anderton's use of Ministerial credit cards: it was voter absolute dissatisfaction with Parker that I'd reckon drove the price down.
I think that the Parker price overshot fundamentals. I've picked up a few more Parker and would pick up even more if I weren't worried about gathering up rather too large an overall position. I also think the sum of bids across the two contracts ought be a bit less than a dollar as other contenders can still enter the field: the two contracts don't span the possible space.
Is there really less than a 20% chance that the incumbent, who hasn't been completely terrible, wins against Jim Anderton? Really?