New prediction market tabs Jeb Bush as frontrunner for 2016 GOP nomination

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A new prediction market debuted today linking Jeb Bush to a 2016 presidential run.

Predictit, a New Zealand-based political and financial prediction market, launched today after being granted “no-action relief” from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The website allows users to trade shares, much like on the stock market, for potential political candidates. Traders buy or sell “shares” of candidates based on their assessment of probabilities. In the case of a 2016 presidential bid, Jeb Bush was trading at $0.25. That translates to about a 25 percent likelihood that he’ll earn the GOP nomination. Chris Christie and Mitt Romney were pulling $0.21 each.

On the other side of the aisle the prediction market seems to indicate Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. She was trading at a whopping $0.74 verses Elizabeth Warren’s $0.17.

Whether this prediction is a reliable indication that Florida could see its former governor and a third White House Bush is unclear. Much like the stock market, traders benefit from buying low and selling high. That volatility could translate to inaccurate predictions. Supporters argue prediction markets are more reliable though because unlike traditional polling, they reach a demographic typically more politically savvy.

“Prediction markets bring insider knowledge into the public domain,” said Victoria University’s Geoff Todd. “They provide a real time reflection of the likelihood of an event occurring. When you make a prediction you are assessing what you think everyone else is going to do, not what you will do. This is a very powerful predictor of people-based events.”

Predictit is an academic project at Victoria University in New Zealand studying the viability of prediction markets. They’re receiving ancillary services from a Washington-based company called Aristotle.

“Prediction markets are part of the future in politics, media, social science, and finance. The ‘game’ of politics has all the ingredients to be fun, social and viral. It will impact the way we interact with current events and the news or entertainment content we consume because a well-designed market affords the engagement that well-informed people crave,” Aristotle CEO John Aristotle Phillips said.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.