Candidates for sale

Here’s an interesting way for a publication to keep readers engaged. National Journal has launched the “National Journal Political Stock Exchange” that lets players...

Here’s an interesting way for a publication to keep readers engaged. National Journal has launched the “National Journal Political Stock Exchange” that lets players buy and sell “contracts” for specific 2008 political events – Edwards wins the Iowa Caucus, for instance or Giuliani wins the N.H. primary.

The value of contracts runs from 0-100 and equals a percentage of the likelihood that something will happen. If Mitt Romney wins the presidency, for instance, that contract ultimately is worth NJ$100 (that’s 100 National Journal dollars). Right now, its value is set at NJ$9.10, or 9.1% likely he’ll win. If you buy at that price and he wins, you make NJ$90.90.

Anyone can sign up to play for free, with each player receiving NJ$10,000 to start off. The winner at the end of the 2008 general election gets a $1,000 Visa gift card, while every month two XM radios with three-month subscriptions will be given to the contestants with the highest rates of return.

Just as the London bookies often provide the best insight into the outcome of elections, so may this game provide good indicators of the health of various campaigns. For the National Journal, the game should help draw in the interest of readers as well as probably pick up some media coverage from reporters looking to handicap the races.

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