Friday, 9 October 2009

Nobel Peace Prize goes to Obama, but why?

Beware when betting on awards and prizes where votes are cast by a committee or the general public - all logic can potentially go out the window!

Has he got it for “Not being George W”?

In a word, yes. I'm sure he will probably be worthy of that prize in due course, but he's hardly had time to do anything on a world stage apart from try to bail out his own busted economy.

Obama was 25/1 at Ladbrokes with hardly any takers. Whenever it comes to betting on an award where people have to vote for it, be it the Nobel Peace Prize, Mercury Music Award, Man of the Match in a sports event, Big Brother eviction etc, you must consider the psychology of those making the votes and how much influence they have. Sometimes voters can just be blinded by the celebrity status or headlines around one person. Other times, they vote to an agenda - to get a certain player chosen in a representative team or to appeal to a particular audience. Any awards on the BBC for example are heavily-biased towards the demographic of the standard BBC viewer rather than a Sun reader.

While some might discard these markets immediately as serious betting propositions, I don't see these as any harder than trying to unravel a horse race like the Cambridgeshire (40 runner handicap race). You just need to think like the people who are voting and understand where they are coming from.

That said, I find it very surprising Obama won, but to be honest I hadn't heard of most of the other contenders, so I have no idea how strong or weak the field was...

3 comments:

  1. I looks to me like an insurance policy. Obama has stated some clear intentions but by awarding the prize he now has a responsibility to follow through on his rhetoric?

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  2. The date for nominations was two weeks after Obama's inauguration, so there is no way this award was for his accomplishments. I think it should be seen as an award for his intentions, and as a big sigh of relief that after 8 years of Bush's bullying tactics, the USA finally has a leader who understands the importance of diplomacy in the 21st century. The competition wasn't much this year either, but it was still quite a surprise.

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  3. Thanks for that Cassini, I wasn't aware of the nomination date. That makes it even more fanciful that he deserved it and there wasn't a political agenda behind it...

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