But even with a slew of major political news outlets now following the story, from CQ to Politico, there still seem to be more questions than answers. Why would a trader flush with funds sink hundreds of thousands of dollars into what surely looks to be a losing bet? Who could be behind the price manipulation?
A couple of theories seem to be emerging:
- In a post on Midas Oracle, one commentator suggested the culprit could be Centrist Messenger, the campaign advertising company that guarantees your money back if you bought an ad for the losing candidate. While it's apparent that the company has been hedging on Intrade, is it really possible that it's been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on McCain just in case he pulls out a November surprise and it's forced to pay back devastated Obama supporters?
- Clusterstock suggests that it could simply be a bullish McCain trader skeptical about the polls. While this may seem implausible on its face, it's important to remember the most dramatic Intrade success story reported in the media so far this year:
Just a couple of weeks ago, The Washington Post retold the story of Bethan Brome Lilija, a trader who risked $75,000 on McCain back when the Arizona Senator was low on money and had been left for dead by the pundits. On Intrade, his shares were down to around 5.
John Stossel told the same story in his May 2008 report on 20/20.
Given Intrade CEO John Delaney's account of an "institutional" investor, the first scenario seems more likely. But at a time when the economy seems even gloomier than McCain's prospects, some traders are surely once again buying McCain for a buck and hoping to win the lottery.