Intrade gives the president a 67 percent probability of being reelected, up several points from last week, while British-based Betfair is running just under 75 percent. Just to be clear, these numbers are only gauging the chances of the election going one way or another. They do not assure a win or a loss. Meanwhile, the election modeling methods of the NYT's Nate Silver - and to a lesser extent a few others - have drawn lots of fire in recent days from Republicans who are not thrilled about what the electoral numbers show. Silver now gives Obama a nearly 80 percent chance of winning reelection. From the Washington Post's Ezra Klein:
It's important to be clear about this: If Silver's model is hugely wrong -- if all the models are hugely wrong, and the betting markets are hugely wrong -- it's because the polls are wrong. Silver's model is, at this point, little more than a sophisticated form of poll aggregation. But it's just as important to be clear about this: If Mitt Romney wins on election day, it doesn't mean Silver's model was wrong. After all, the model has been fluctuating between giving Romney a 25 percent and 40 percent chance of winning the election. That's a pretty good chance! If you told me I had a 35 percent chance of winning a million dollars tomorrow, I'd be excited. And if I won the money, I wouldn't turn around and tell you your information was wrong. I'd still have no evidence I'd ever had anything more than a 35 percent chance.
I suppose. But c'mon, if there's an 80 percent chance of rain tomorrow, you're not thinking about the 20 percent chance that it won't rain. You're counting on rain. Silver is under enormous pressure from both sides, and for the most part he's played it fair and square. Still, I'm not sure it was the wisest idea to appear on Bill Maher's show last Friday or to make a $2,000 bet with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough that Obama was going to win.