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October surprise in Austria

October 4th, 2006

The Socialists won a surprise victory (or at least a plurality) in the recent Austrian elections. The outcome appears to promise a departure from power for Jorg Haider, although the combined vote of the far-right parties was still 15 per cent, which is disappointing.

For CT election-followers, the outcome is of interest in another respect. According to the reports I’ve read, all the polls and all the pundits got this one wrong. So, if betting markets got it right, that would be pretty strong support for claims about the wisdom of crowds. But my (admittedly desultory) scan hasn’t produced any info. Can anyone point to market odds for this outcome?

Meanwhile, on the local betting front, I was surprised to find, reading the magazine just before the Brisbane Bullets opening home game, that the new-look Bullets team was second in the betting markets for this year’s title. Still being miffed about the off-season sacking of captain Derek Rucker, and with a first-round loss in Sydney already on the scorecard, I was pretty incredulous. After an impressive win over the Tigers, though, I had to concede the markets had something. The first five minutes were just magic, with the Bullets running out to a double-digit lead they held for the rest of the game. Admittedly, Melbourne didn’t have Chris Anstey, which, I’d say, slightly outweighed the absence of Black and Bradtke on our side – he’s a superb player.

So, I’ll make the following commitment. If the Bullets win the pennant this year, I’ll never say anything rude about betting markets again.

Update: Reader Jonno found a German-language report which listed betting markets 5 to 1 for the social democrats as the largest party, with 1.1 to 1 for the Peoples party – crowds aren’t always wise.

  1. October 4th, 2006 at 17:08 | #1

    I often find that the bookies are the most reliable indication of things like this, mainly because their odds reflect concrete commitment rather than vague intentions. It’s easy to say that you’ll vote for one candidate when a pollster calls you up; not so easy to put your hard-earned on him or her.

    And adding to that, bookies are the only disinterested people who have a personal stake in the outcome. Gary Morgan’s not going to go broke if he gets something wrong, a bookie might.

  2. Joseph Clark
    October 4th, 2006 at 17:46 | #2

    “I’ll never say anything rude about betting markets again.”


    Not even about oil or forex betting markets?

  3. October 4th, 2006 at 18:35 | #3

    JESUS… John, you owe me a keyboard. I thought you wrote

    “The Socialists won a surprise victory (or at least a plurality) in the recent Australian elections.”

    spilled late night coffee on the mac.

  4. October 4th, 2006 at 18:35 | #4

    Jorg Haider isn’t as scary as his ex-pupil H.C. Strache who is now running the FPOe. The motto of the FPOe at this election was (roughly translated) “Homeland not Islam”. The departure of Haider I fear has allowed for an even more radical FPOe, one which doesn’t just attack an ill defined “foreigner” strawman, but one that actually singles out specific groups.

  5. brian
    October 4th, 2006 at 22:29 | #5

    The far right in Austria is now split into two parties,,,given the problems of the recent past, its unlikely that the Conservatives will comtemplate a coalition. with them…….that would leave the possibility minority Soc-Green regime,or a German style Grand Coalition, of Socialists and Conservatives…which would leave all the minority parties in the Opposition.

  6. Jonno
    October 6th, 2006 at 20:52 | #6

    I found a website which predicted 5 to 1 for the social democrats as the largest party, with 1.1 to 1 for the Peoples party – crowds aren’t always wise

  7. jquiggin
    October 7th, 2006 at 06:24 | #7

    Thanks Jonno – is there a link you can point to?

  8. Jonno
    October 13th, 2006 at 20:41 | #8
  9. jquiggin
    October 16th, 2006 at 06:20 | #9

    Thanks very much for this, Jonno

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