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E-Markets Chart Changing Fortunes Of Obama, Clinton, Other Candidates

The electronic markets indicate Romney and McCain are in a dead heat to finish among the top candidates in the New Hampshire primary, followed by Huckabee.

Rasmussen Reports, a public opinion research firm, shows Mitt Romney surging and Mike Huckabee falling off in the New Hampshire primary, after four days of telephone polling of likely voters. The poll is backed up by an online electronic market that tries to capitalize on the "wisdom of crowds" expressed through a market of trading in candidate shares.

Rasmussen Reports also uses Rasmussen Markets, an electronic marketplace where traders make bids on the likelihood of a candidate winning or placing among the top three. Unlike Rasmussen's telephone polling, the markets aren't restricted to a particular state's voters and offer a wider flavor of opinion. Campaign workers and fans of politics keep an eye on both Rasmussen results as possible predictors of election outcomes.

Rasmussen Reports, which summarizes Rasmussen telephone polling, said a survey of 1,549 likely GOP voters in New Hampshire shows John McCain edging out Romney, 32% to 31%. Huckabee was a distant third with 10%; Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul each garnered 8%. Fred Thompson was last with 3%.

Since independents may vote for either a Democrat or a Republican in the state, McCain is expected to pick up a victory margin over Romney from that group of voters. He leads Romney among independents by 11%, according to Rasmussen Reports.

The Rasmussen electronic markets results are meant to resemble a futures market and are not intended to match up with the direct telephone polling data.

The electronic markets indicate Romney and McCain are in a dead heat to finish among the top candidates in the primary, each receiving a price of 99.7 per share. Huckabee trails at 90. Interestingly, the markets show Paul finishing ahead of Giuliani, 19 to 14.9, while Thompson lags the field at 0.8%.

The results are available at Rasmussen's online site, Rasmussen Reports.

On the Democratic side, the telephone polling of 1,774 likely Democratic voters in the primary showed Barack Obama beating Hillary Clinton, 37% to 30%. John Edwards garnered 19%; Bill Richardson, 8%; and Dennis Kucinich, 3%.

Markets data comparable to the top three finishers in the Republican primary wasn't listed for the Democrats. What was shown were the odds on who would win the New Hampshire Democratic primary. They favored Obama by an overwhelming margin that was not meant to reflect the actual vote. Obama was favored to win by 98% versus 1.5% for Clinton. Edwards collected just 0.2%.

Another trading scheme at the University of Iowa, the Iowa Electronic Markets, has undergone a flip since the outcome of the Jan. 3 Democratic caucuses there. The markets, another trading scheme meant to place values on candidate shares, had shown Clinton likely to be the eventual Democratic nominee by a 2-1 margin at the end of last year. After the caucuses, they started showing Obama as the likely nominee, and now have him up by a 2-1 margin.

Clinton had been on a slow decline but the clear market leader in trading since late October, until Jan. 3. The graph of her and Obama's fortunes then showed a sudden steep crossover and exchange of positions as the results of the Iowa caucuses sank in. The graph can be seen at a site offered by the University of Iowa's College of Business, sponsor of the electronic marketplace.

A similar trade of positions is evident between Romney and McCain in the Iowa Markets in the graph on Republican nomination prospects.

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