October surprise in Austria
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 arenâ€™t always wise.