Bad news for Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty this morning. And bad good news for the prediction market called Intrade.
At 9am ET this morning, Intrade gave Alaska governor Sarah Palin an 80% chance to be John McCain’s choice for Vice President. At 9:25, after ABC reported that Palin is still in Alaska (instead of in Dayton, Ohio, where McCain will have a mid-day coronation ceremony), the Intrade bet immediately dropped to 40%.
As of 9:49 ET, with Sarah Palin’s name all over the headlines, Intrade’s odds climbed back to 60%. McCain advisors were said to be bewildered by this, because the choice would negate his argument about “experience.” But now FOX is reporting that it’s Palin, after all.
(The original version of this post bashed Intrade for blowing it again: It was we who deserved the pie in the face).
“America’s Hottest Governor” is known for tackling corruption in her home state, where she has shelved pork barrel projects, denounced earmarks, and introduced a widely-praised ethics bill.
Palin would be a bold choice. She is only 44, and her good looks and relative youth would risk weakening McCain’s hold on the “I’m the serious, non-celebrity candidate” argument. McCain also risks having Palin’s youth contrast with and highlight his advanced age.
On the plus side, the selection would give McCain a huge boost in media attention, and take some wind out of the sails of the Obama campaign. Picking Palin also allows McCain to gain ground on his anti-spending and anti-corruption themes. Most importantly, Palin could help McCain gain ground with women, some of whom were embittered by Obama’s perceived shunning of Hillary Clinton.
McCain would be smart to not pick Romney or Pawlenty, who would create a “boring old white dude” ticket. McCain needs a pick that will grab attention and reinforce his credentials as a “maverick,” and Palin certainly checks all these boxes.