Tradesports is the Internet site that brokers bets (or futures contracts) on just about everything, politics included. Donald Luskin has a good explanation of how the Tradesports futures contracts work in a column on the betting on the North Korean long-range missile test (“Tradesports’ bad call”).
The Tradesports betting line introduces a reality principle that is lacking in, say, any given Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. At present, if I understand the betting line correctly, the odds of the GOP losing the House are roughly the same as the GOP retaining its majority in the Senate.
What about individual races? From the perspective of the GOP candidate, I’ll divide them into Favorites, Underdogs and Long Shots. As of this moment, here’s what the money says (per the last traded futures contract) in the Senate races that have attracted most attention (ours and others’):
George Allen, Virginia (72)
Bob Corker, Tennessee (65)
Jim Talent, Missouri (59)
Tom Kean, New Jersey (37)
Michael Steele, Maryland (30)
Conrad Burns, Montana (25)
Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania (12.7)
Mike DeWine, Ohio (8.5)
Mark Kennedy, Minnesota (7)
The Tradesports betting line also places our favorite governor, Minnesota’s extremely successful Tim Pawlenty, in my Underdog category (33), trailing Democratic challenger Mike Hatch. It is a line that indicates to me how strongly the headwinds are blowing against Republicans this year.
JOHN adds: For those who may not be familiar with Governor Pawlenty, my friend Graydon Royce has a nice profile of him in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune.
SCOTT adds: I’ve added what is certainly one of the most important Underdog races to my list, Tom Kean’s in New Jersey. The omission was an oversight.