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Romney top bet to win Iowa on political futures trading site

January 03, 2012|By Jim Puzzanghera
  • Mitt Romney campaigning in Clive, Iowa, on Monday.
Mitt Romney campaigning in Clive, Iowa, on Monday. (Charlie Riedel / Associated…)

Reporting from Washington — Iowa caucus-goers will deliver their verdict on their preferred Republican presidential nominee Tuesday night, but traders on the political futures site Intrade already are weighing in -- and their bet is on Mitt Romney for Iowa and the overall party nomination.

The former Massachusetts governor, who polls show is in a three-way race to capture the party's first presidential nominating contest, has a 47.6% chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, according to Intrade. That's well ahead of the other top two contenders: Rep. Ron Paul is at 29.8% and former Sen. Rick Santorum at 22.9%.

Romney's odds of winning the GOP nomination are far and away the best at 80.3% in early trading Tuesday, his all-time high and double where he was in late September. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is second at just 5.7%.

Intrade operates similar to the stock market, letting people buy and sell shares tied to certain events, such as the 2012 presidential race, based on their probability.

The site's traders still like President Obama to win reelection in November, putting his odds at 51.5%. Romney's odds are 39.4%, his highest to date.

Obama's stock on Intrade has recovered somewhat after plunging through the summer and most of the fall, rising along with economic data late in the year.

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