The primaries to fill the congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Marty Meehan - the Massachusetts Fifth Congressional District - are this coming Tuesday, September 4.
As regular readers of The Eisenthal Report know, I created a prediction market on the Inkling platform for the Democratic Primary in the Massachusetts Fifth District in late May. This market quickly attracted significant attention from people who were watching this congressional race. It was clear from the trading patterns that partisans of certain of the candidates were buying large amount of stocks (with play money - as with all Inkling markets). One candidate - Jim Miceli - was even urging his supporters via his campaign website to buy his shares in this market.
By the beginning of this month, this market was - according to one observer - the most heavily traded market on the Inkling platform. At 2,600 trades, the market had "generated more activity than the sum of the next two most actively traded Inkling markets." By mid-August, the number of trades had reached 3,000.
All of this activity produced a very unstable market. At various times, Rep. Barry Finegold (D - Andover), Rep. Jamie Eldridge (D - Acton), and Niki Tsongas have all led the field.
As the election approaches, however, the market seems to have settled on a consensus prediction: Niki Tsongas. The Dean of External Affairs at Middlesex Community College and the widow of former Senator Paul Tsongas is now priced at $68.50 per share in this market. This means that this market says that Tsongas has a 68.5% chance of winning the primary on Tuesday. In a distant second place is Jamie Eldridge, who is trading at $16.95 per share - a nearly 17 percent chance of winning. The other three candidates: Finegold, Miceli, and Lowell City Councillor Eileen Donoghue are all each trading at under $10 per share - less than 10%.
It seems to this observer that this likely reflects the reality of next Tuesday - Niki Tsongas is likely to be the Democratic nominee in the October 1 special election to fill the congressional seat. We will see soon enough.
A NOTE TO PARTICIPANTS IN THIS MARKET: The Democratic Primary market will end at noon Eastern time on Tuesday. I selected this time in order to avoid giving participants with access to exit polling data an opportunity to make last-minute trades based on those data. I will award winning shares to the winning candidate as soon as it is indisputably clear who the nominee will be.