The verdict of the political futures market on the 2008 presidential race is clear: Hillary Clinton and John McCain are heavy favorites.
The futures contracts on Clinton and McCain winning their respective party's nominations have trended upward over the past week to prices that reflect a 55% predicted probability of victory. McCain, in particular, surged in the wake of his party's losses on Tuesday:
Meanwhile, Barack Obama looks extremely well positioned for a run against Clinton. His favorability ratings are excellent - CNN just put them at 36% favorable, 11% unfavorable. Those will slide once he comes under attack, but it's a remarkable starting point.
Propelled by a potent publicity cocktail of “60 Minutes,” “Today,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and major magazine covers, Senator Barack Obama’s new book, “The Audacity of Hope,” seemed primed for best-selling status.
But its rapid rise to the No. 1 spot on the New York Times nonfiction list next Sunday, placing the author, the freshman Democratic senator from Illinois, ahead of heavyweight authors like John Grisham, Bill O’Reilly and even Bob Woodward, is something of a publishing stunner.
Since it went on sale Oct. 17, the book has sold 182,000 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan, which accounts for about 60 to 70 percent of a new hardcover book’s sales by tracking purchases at large booksellers like Barnes & Noble, online retailers and independent bookstores. Mr. Obama’s publisher, Crown Publishers, said the book is in its seventh printing, with 860,000 copies in circulation.
This is once-in-a-generation stardom. He'd be crazy not to take a shot at the presidency.