Several bloggers have pointed out this "spike" on InTrade this morning after the jobs report came out, showing Obama's reelection chances valued at 57 percent — but this morning's betting only highlights how meaningless this market is.
First off, if you look at the past 24 hours on the prediction market (below), the Obama contract has fluctuated between 55.3 and 56.5 — so the jump to 57 percent isn't much of a spike.
Second, look at the little green bars — that's trading volume — they show just how infrequently trading on this contract occurs, rendering the market pretty useless.
Third, U.S. law prohibits InTrade from accepting credit cards issued here, meaning it's substantially more difficult for American bettors to put money into the market. The market doesn't release demographic details for its customers, but it's safe to say only the most passionate U.S. bettors jump through the hoops required to open an account.
Taken together, it's hard to come up with reasons to trust the market any more than polling data — or even a good gut feeling.