John Stossel

Now I hear Dodd might be appointed head of the movie studios' lobby. Cozy. Maybe sleazy. But that's how politics and regulation work.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Stock Exchange continues to operate. But with bettors using fake money, it's less accurate.

"It's certainly not as accurate as it would be with the real money market," Jacobs said. "(But the) track record of the Hollywood Stock Exchange in forecasting how well a film will do at the box office has been extraordinary."

That's because prediction markets predict better than pundits and polls. An even better one is Intrade.com -- it uses real money. One study found it has just half the margin of error of national polls. Intrade is based in Ireland because cloddish busybodies like Dodd and Sen. Jon Kyl won't allow such gambling sites to operate in the United States. Nevertheless, Americans bet on Intrade anyway, so that prediction market is still a way for Americans to demonstrate their predictive talents.

So let's have fun with the information that the bettors bring us. What does Intrade predict for the Oscars? As of Tuesday, "The King's Speech" had an 81 percent chance to win best picture. Its star, Colin Firth, was a 95.5 percent favorite to win best actor. Natalie Portman had a 90 percent chance of winning best actress for "Black Swan." The best director race was closer. David Fincher was the favorite at 60 percent for "The Social Network"

I dare you to bet against the prediction market.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate