Gambling on Iraq’s Future

This gambling thing is too nerve-wracking. I’m invested in a bet at Tradesports that the Iraqi elections will have a turnout of over 8 million people. One would think that it would start to become obvious which outcome is more likely, higher or lower. But we’re now 13 days after the election and just a few hours before the results are to be revealed and we’re no closer to knowing!

(Below the cut is my running analysis and final decisions to make a large trade (IE: bet) at Tradesports.)

2-13-05 1am:
The best intel I have right now comes from an article in Aljazeera posted a few hours ago.

Voter turnout figures for 12 of Iraq’s 18 governorates have been made available. They include:

– Babil: 494,054 voted 71% of registered voters
– Baghdad: 1,750,772 voted – 48% of registered voters
– Diyala: 210,574 voted – 34% of registered voters
– Dohuk: 383,265 voted – 89% of registered voters
– Karbala: 297,201 voted – 73% of registered voters
– Maysan: 246,957 voted – 59% of registered voters
– Muthanna: 173,155 voted – 61% of registered voters
– Najaf: 359,268 voted – 73% of registered voters
– Qadisiya: 337,220 voted – 69% of registered voters
– Sulaymaniya: 731,323 voted – 80% of registered voters
– Dhi Qar: 522,271 voted – 67% of registered voters
– Wasit: 324,678 voted – 66% of registered voters

The voter turnout figures for several Sunni-dominated governorates have not yet been provided.

You’d think I could use this data and “win”, right? Well check it out… The above counts 5,830,738 votes in 12 of 18 governorates. So you do a little algebra and come up with 8.7 million. Woot! I know the outcome! ….. but no. It’s Sunni-dominated governorates that haven’t reported in. Did they have turnouts of the mean of 65%? If so, we’ve got 8.7 million. But if they had turnouts like some other Sunni areas like Diyala at 34%, then we’re sunk.

Assuming the population is evenly divided among governorates, we need about a 48% turnout rate in the remaining areas to get the 2.2 million votes needed to push it over the top. If you recall the 0.25 million expatriot Iraqis that voted, then we just need 44%. Were the voter rates that high in the untallied areas? We don’t know! It’s a gamble!

Hmm, by looking at this chart

Primary subdivisions:

Iraq is divided into 18 muhafazat (sing. muhafazah: provinces).
Province HASC FIPS Population Area(km.) Area(mi.) Capital
Al-Anbar IQ.AN IZ01 820,690 138,501 53,476 Ar-Ramadi
Al-Basrah IQ.BA IZ02 872,176 19,070 7,363 Al-Basrah
Al-Muthanna IQ.MU IZ03 315,815 51,740 19,977 As-Samawah
Al-Qadisiyah IQ.QA IZ04 559,805 8,153 3,148 Ad-Diwaniyah
An-Najaf IQ.NA IZ17 590,078 28,824 11,129 An-Najaf
Arbil IQ.AR IZ11 770,439 14,471 5,587 Arbil
As-Sulaymaniyah IQ.AS IZ05 951,723 17,023 6,573 As-Sulaymaniyah
At-Ta’mim IQ.AT IZ13 601,219 10,282 3,970 Kirkuk
Babil IQ.BB IZ06 1,109,574 6,468 2,497 Al-Hillah
Baghdad IQ.BG IZ07 3,841,268 734 283 Baghdad
Dahuk IQ.DA IZ08 293,304 6,553 2,530 Dahuk
Dhi Qar IQ.DQ IZ09 921,066 12,900 4,981 An-Nasiriyah
Diyala IQ.DI IZ10 961,073 19,076 7,365 Ba’qubah
Karbala’ IQ.KA IZ12 469,282 5,034 1,944 Karbala’
Maysan IQ.MA IZ14 487,448 16,072 6,205 Al-Amarah
Ninawa IQ.NI IZ15 1,479,430 37,323 14,410 Mosul
Salah ad-Din IQ.SD IZ18 726,138 24,751 9,556 Samarra
Wasit IQ.WA IZ16 564,670 17,153 6,623 Al-Kut
18 provinces 16,335,198 434,128 167,617

(first I confirmed that the populations jibed with the populations I had from other sources)
we find out the relative populations… a potential of 11.07 could have already voted. 5.27 million haven’t been tallied yet. We need 2.2 million votes.. Before I was going on the idea that we were missing 4.6 million potential voters. This changes things…. Now we only need 39% to get 2.0 million (plus 0.25 million expats) = 8 million.

That’s a gamble I think I’m going to take.

I bought 25 shares of “Turnout for Iraqi National Assembly Election to be ON or OVER 8.0M” at an average purchase price of 56. Total risked $140. Possible gain: $110.

2-13-05 update W00t w00t!! According to Aljazeera

Turnout in last month’s election was about 59%, with a total of 8,456,266 people voting, election commission officials said.

I win!

Though I’ve got to admit that this took a lot of research and a bit of worry for not too much monetary gain. When I made my decision last night to commit, there were an additional 90 shares I could have bought at about 60… So if I had committed more money, I could have won an additional $360 (while risking another $540… real money)

I went into this not thinking I was a real “gambler” and the result is no different than what I thought. Just look at all the research I had to do to commit myself to risking $140. Am I a wus? Am I “reasonable”? I dunno. But I do know that I’m ahead of the game with my bookie… err “trading exchange”.

2-13-05 final followup. Aljazeera said

Turnout in last month’s election was about 59%, with a total of 8,456,266 people voting,

So they think there are 14.3 million Iraqi’s (which happily jibes with my estimate)
12/18 governorates had a voting rate of 65%, therefore (assuming the population is evenly distributed, which is mostly true… I’m getting tired of doing numbers so it’ll have to do) and the total turnout was 59%. Therefore, the turnout in the last 6 (mostly Sunni) governorates was … ummm. I’ve been staring at it for a while and can’t figure out how to do the math.

I’ll take an educated guess… 2/3 was 65%, 1/3 was n%, the total was 59%. It was somewhere around .. ummm…. 47%. Would someone like to verify that for me? I was right in not investing until I could get a more accurate estimate!

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