Betting on Romney Begins to Make Sense Again

It is two hours since the first presidential debate ended, and guess what: The money boys suddenly are looking at Mitt Romney with respect. On Intrade, the Irish-based futures market that allows you to bet legally on political races, the value of contracts favoring Romney over President Obama began shooting up in value as the debate wound to a close.
There can be little doubt that Romney won the debate. Even Obama’s most faithful supporters are conceding that. And on Intrade, where the Romney candidacy had dwindled to a pathetic longshot during the dog days of September, Romney has pulled off his own version of the October Surprise.

One cannot overestimate the importance of the first presidential debate. Remember 1980, when Ronald Reagan made a fool of Jimmy Carter? Carter never recovered, and lost a lopsided election. Remember 1960, the year the TV debates were first held, when Richard Nixon scared little children and their parents too with his 5 o’clock shadow and sinister scowl?

I would estimate that the first debate is three times more important than the remaining debates combined, because it sets the tone.  Obama seemed tired and disinterested, as though he wanted to go back to Vegas, where he had prepped for the debate.

Romney, exhibited before a large TV audience without having to pass through the filter of the pro-Obama mainstream media, came across as an extremely articulate and well-informed challenger, eager to take on the task of sending America back on the road to economic and social recovery.

Some of the pundits said that Obama may have learned his lesson and will come out swinging in the second debate, and he may indeed. But Romney and his team are smart enough to anticipate that, and to come up with the tactics required to effectively counter it.

Before the two national conventions, the bettors on Intrade already were giving Obama an edge. The consensus had him as a 55 percent favorite, perhaps because he was the incumbent, with the incumbent’s normal edge at the start of a campaign.

I should point out that this did not mean he was expected to win 55 percent of the vote, but rather that he had a 55 percent chance of winning the election.

During poor Romney’s march to Golgotha after the conventions, especially in the wake of former President Clinton’s magic speech on behalf of Obama, the oddsmakers on Intrade boosted the President to a 78 percent favorite, close to a sure thing.

But the Obama balloon started leaking early this week, as the bettors became nervous about the impact of the debates. Going into Debate Number One, Obama was down to 73 percent.

What a difference one scintillating evening can make! Obama is dropping on the Intrade market as we speak, and is down to around 65 percent. That is not unimpressive, but I am going to bed soon, and I expect to find him lower still when I wake from my beauty sleep.

Then, let the pollsters go back to the swing states, and let Romney show a boost from the debate, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Romney pulls even or takes the lead.

If you want to check the tally yourself, go to
I must confess that I didn’t go into the debate expecting such a onesided result. I figured that Obama would play Mr. Personality, as usual, and make his jokes, and mute whatever serious things his opponent had to say.

Not so. There were even times when Romney was vigorously telling Obama what was wrong with his administration, and Obama seemed to be nodding in agreement.

Wow!  This campaign has legs after all.

Author Bio:

Arthur Louis spent more than forty years as a print journalist, with the Philadelphia Inquirer, McGraw-Hill, Fortune magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle, but he is not asking for sympathy. He is the author of two non-fiction books: The Tycoons, and Journalism and Other Atrocities, as well as a novel, The Little Champ. In retirement, he has decided unilaterally that he is a profound political pundit.
Author website:
  • Wheels55

    I hate to say it, but I still think Obama will win. Way too many people look at this election through rose colored wallets.
    If the VP debate goes as we think it will (hopefully Ryan does not come accross as mean to Old Joe) and Romney wins the other two debates, Romney certainly can win – a fourth quater comeback!

    • Artlouis

       At least the MSM isn’t declaring it over anymore. Keep punching.

  • venter

    The debate allowed everyone to really see Obama.  He is a man who couldn’t speak up to Romney when they were in the same room.  I think he threw the ball into MSM hands to cover up for his lack of knowledge during this debate.  The MSM covered for him  today!!!!!!!!!   He had opportunity to come back at Mitt several times but backed away .  I believe he feared his come backs  would lead to his failed 4 years .  President Obama would have to be accountable and  debate  without his tele prompter. He  really was bad and I could not believe what I was seeing and enjoying it so much.   Romeny did great because  he has been around and debated many smart , successful  businessmen.  People are able to see Mitt for who he is.  We also  saw  Obama stumbling on his words, angry, and lonely with out his tele prompter.

    • Artlouis

      Yes, I am surprised that he considered it necessary to buy a dog when he has a pet TelePrompter.  Probably takes it out on the lawn late at night and throws Frizbees.

  • NS Sherlock

    I enjoyed the way Romney kept telling obummah, “No, that’s not true. That’s not what I said.” And then he (Romney) followed up with what he IS all about. I also enjoyed the expressions Romney would get on his face…almost a giggle-like expression. No doubt he knew he nailed it. By the way, isn’t it unusually ‘quiet’ regarding the lib’s comments today?

    • Artlouis

      Quiet as a church. 

      If  Obama tries to assert himself more next time, people will discount it because they will perceive him as trying to dig himself out of the hole he fell into in the first debate.

      Meanwhile, it should be a riot to watch Biden with his silly slogans trying to debate Ryan.

      • Eric Boyer

        yeah it was a riot, in which the man stomped the boy.

  • Wheels55

    Pretty exciting stuff. Obama is in a hole and looks like he does not have a clue how to recover. And, if jobs and the economy are the main thing this election, Obama has dug an even bigger hole.
    Romney needs to get some details about his international policy out there. He can easily use Obama’s failure in the middle east, particularly Libya. Romney needs to stay away from saying anything that sounds like sending more troops to Iraq or anywhere over there, except to support Israel. Israel / Iran is the big hot button.

    • Artlouis

       Good analysis, Wheels. Some friends on Facebook are wondering whether, when it came down to it, Obama decided that he isn’t that eager to win after all.

      • Wheels55

        I honestly think Obama sees being President as a lot more work than he originally thought. I always saw him as one who thinks he can just wave his hand and things get done. I think he likes being called President, but doesn’t like the work.

      • GlenFS

        To quote Romney, Obama wants to keep the “house” and the “airplane” and certainly the prestige and privilege that go with the job, but I don’t think he likes to attend morning briefings, lobby legislators or any of the work associated with the role.  Oh, and he loves having his own facts, courtesy of his media.

        • Artlouis

          Sad but true, Glen. He really is a misfit in the office he holds. 

    • Alden514

      Wheels, jobs? Economy? Middle East policy? Libya? Israel?  These are NOT important issues for the dems…dontcha know it’s Big Bird that takes priority??? :)

      • Wheels55

        Yes, I see that now. What was I thinking?

        • Alden514