Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who will win the Punggol by-election?

Image: AsiaOne
In an earlier post, I used bookmakers' odds to estimate the probability of an Obama win in the US presidential election. Punters' gave Obama a 93-98% chance of winning the election, and history proved them right.

This Saturday, voters in Punggol East will vote in what some have called a close fight. Although four parties are contesting for the ward, all eyes will be on the PAP and WP who together garnered about 95% of the constituency's votes in the last election. Who will win?

Bookmaker (presumably illegal ones, actually) odds are pretty hard to find on the forums, unlike that in previous elections, but one individual did reveal that a dollar placed on WP gives you a return of $0.80, and $1.20 for the PAP. So people seem to be gunning for an opposition win.

Converting these into odds, and assuming that the other two parties have no chance of winning,  expectations for a WP win are higher:
  • WP wins with 55% probability
  • PAP wins with 45% probability
This is somewhat in line with another bookmaker, whose odds are a little more complicated. Suppose PAP were given 2,000 votes for free. A dollar then gets you $0.95 if it wins. This roughly translates to the party winning with 45% probability as well.

In all, these bets suggest  a poorer PAP performance, compared to the last election. Will history prove the bookmakers right again? We can only wait and see.

[Addendum: the Workers' Party won the election in the end, garnering 54% of votes. This was really  close to bookmakers' odds!]

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