If you don’t trust polls, where else can you take the popular pulse and get an idea of the political landscape?
Polls are generally considered a reasonable indicator of how the public intends to vote, however they are far from infallible, as became clear in November 2009 when voters accepted by 57 per cent a nationwide ban on the construction of minarets that surveys had predicted they would reject by 53 per cent.
So if your confidence in polls has been shaken like a campaigning politician’s hand, where else can you turn? Well, an election stock market is one option.
These are financial markets in which the contracts being exchanged are based on the outcomes of elections. They work like other futures exchanges, but instead of betting on the future price of commodities such as cocoa, gold or francs, you’re betting on the percentage or number of seats of a political party. Easy!
swissinfo has been running a free election stock market on the 2011 parliamentary elections in which each participant received a fixed number of shares and a virtual amount of money. The goal was to maximise capital through canny forecasting and skilful speculations. The most successful participants appear on the daily updated ranking list and at the close of the market they can win non-cash prizes.
Below are the election market results – how accurate will they turn out to be? We’ll soon see.
In compliance with the JTI standards