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Are We in a Hillary Clinton 'Bubble'?

If you follow markets, you quickly get used to the vagaries of mass psychology, which include frequent popular delusions and the occasional madness of crowds.

This brings us neatly to the big question in the political betting markets right now: Are we witnessing a full-blown, bona fide Hillary Clinton "bubble"?

I seem to be immune to the general rule that you either love her or hate her. The junior senator from the state of New York inspires no strong emotions in me either way.

But the fact remains that right now, long before the first ballot has been cast and in a reasonably strong field, the markets are already giving her a 70% chance of winning the Democratic presidential nomination.

Even more extreme: They are now giving her nearly an even shot at winning the whole campaign.

That's right. According to the collective wisdom of the money changing hands at InTrade and Betfair and the Iowa Electronic Markets, Hillary Clinton's chance of winning the White House doesn't just eclipse the chance of Barack Obama or John Edwards or Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney or Fred Thompson or John McCain.

It pretty much eclipses all their chances put together.

(Betfair gives a 48% chance of a female president. InTrade gives Clinton a 44% chance of being the next president. At the IEM, combining her odds of winning the nomination with the Democrats' odds of winning the election gives her about a 45% probability of becoming president.)

Is this for real?

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