This post, from October, has been updated.
A key aspect of capitalism is the idea that markets are smarter than individuals. Get enough people putting their money where their mouths are, and a fair price for a product -- even if it is zero -- will result. No one would pay $45,000 for a share of Apple stock; price shares at $0.01, and the problem is the opposite.
But how much would you invest in, say, Marco Rubio's presidential chances? If you could get a payout of a dollar if he won the nomination, how much would you be willing to pony up right now? Or, to ask the question more directly: Would you pay 38 cents today in the hopes that Rubio will win the nomination and you'll get a dollar?
This is one of the questions posed at PredictIt, a site that offers Wall-Street-style markets on a range of questions with variable outcomes. Included among those are questions about who will win the Democratic and Republican nominations and who will win the presidency.
As I write, the most recent price people were willing to pay for a stake in Rubio's eventual victory was 38 cents. (Update: Before this article even went live, Rubio climbed to 39 cents.) In its "How It Works" section, PredictIt explains that this is functionally a percentage of the likelihood of an outcome. One dollar, the maximum payout, means a 100 percent chance of the event occurring -- after all, 100 percent of people would stop buying shares if there were no return on the investment. So, translated, Rubio's got a
38 percent 39 percent shot of winning this thing -- according to the people who were willing to spend real money on his odds.
Only as of writing. As with any market, shares are bought and sold regularly. So we made a tool that shows -- in real-time and constantly updated -- the most recent selling price for each candidate. Or, put another way, the current percentage of likelihood of each winning, per the traders at PredictIt. Flip through the buttons to see the different races.
And be sure to check back the next time a candidate drops out. You'll be able to watch, in real time, as the pack pulls away.