Gamblers with a penchant for politics are betting that Maine voters will approve ballot questions to hike the minimum wage and legalize marijuana.

On PredictIt, a crowdsourced, online political gambling site created as an educational experiment, bettors nationwide are also confident that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will win Maine, giving her an 88 percent chance statewide and a 58 percent chance of capturing the electoral vote allocated to the 2nd Congressional District.

It’s unclear how accurate the site is — researchers are digging into its findings on many issues — but it has become a go-to site for those trying to track what’s happening at the grass-roots level.

Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine Republican Party, said he checks it out at times to get “a different lens” on what’s happening, to supplement polling results.

PredictIt, which is popular among political insiders, touts itself as “an exciting new, real money site that tests your knowledge of political and financial events by letting you make and trade predictions on the future.”

Savage said it is “kind of a neat way” to get a sense of how things are playing out, though he doesn’t make any bets because it strikes him as improper for someone in his position to put money on the line.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who is seeking re-election in the 2nd District, is being given a 55 percent chance of winning in the Nov. 8 election in his race against Democratic challenger Emily Cain.

That conflicts with a poll released by Cain on Thursday that shows her up by 4 points in the hard-fought contest.

The only other item related to Maine that prognosticators can place a bet on on PredictIt is whether Gov. Paul LePage will survive the year in office.

Traders pegged LePage’s chances at 87 percent Thursday afternoon, which means that if they bet 13 cents per share on the possibility that he’d be gone by Jan. 1 and they turned out to be right, they’d get $1 for every share they purchased at the lower price.

On the other hand, people using the site could purchase shares favoring LePage’s chances for 87 cents each, with $1 payoffs for each share if he’s still in office on New Year’s Day. That would be a 15 percent return on the bet in just 10 weeks, minus a 10 percent cut on profits taken by the website.

The site limits bets to no more than $850 at a time, so nobody’s going to make big money on the site. But lots of people have made thousands of dollars during the election by predicting primary and other results accurately. Others, of course, have lost just as much, since it all has to balance out.

PredictIt is an educational research project of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, with support provided by Aristotle International Inc., a U.S. provider of processing and verification services.


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