When you worked for Bob Hawke you soon realised that a choking voice and a tear or two was no disqualification to winning votes. There are some who think leaders have to be so macho they never show emotion but Hawkie proved them wrong time and again. Normal people occasionally show a little emotion and it is normal people who vote in elections. They don’t expect an automaton as their leader and don’t want one.

If anything, the popular standing of Hillary Clinton has suffered over the years from an apparent lack of emotion. The stoicism she showed in public while standing by her man through the exposure of his adulterous exploits made her seem strangely different to the rest of us. Would you actually want a woman as tough as that in charge of the free world?

So when the eyes of Hillary Clinton moistened a little as she spoke to people in that New Hampshire diner on the eve of the latest primary election I was not one of those who joined in the chorus proclaiming that her bid for the US presidency was coming to an end. At last I saw a woman showing that she was human like the rest of us; a woman with those normal qualities that a great leader needs in addition to the driving ambition and ruthlessness that is part of the politician’s territory.

Now I cannot claim to have predicted that the polls, the pundits and the market would all be wrong about the result of the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. It is only with the wisdom of hindsight that I remembered the power of tearful eyes that Bob Hawke so powerfully demonstrated in Australia more than 20 years ago.

This is all by way of explaining the performance of the Crikey Election Indicator for New Hampshire. On Tuesday , the Indicator, based on the market at the Intrade betting exchange , had Barack Obama a 93.3% chance of winning the primary with Hillary Clinton a 6.1% chance. The average of the pollsters shown by Real Clear Politics had Obama on 38.3% of the vote to 30.0% for Clinton and 18.3% for John Edwards. The final result was Clinton 39%, Obama 36% and Edwards 17% which made it one of the great underdog results in electoral history with the pollsters seemingly humiliated.

All I can add is that if markets really are a good guide then 6% chances should win 6% of the time. This was one of those “one in 16 times” when the short priced favourite backers get the tears.

When it came to the Republican contest in New Hampshire, the Crikey Indicator was spot on. It gave John McCain an 81.4% chance of victory to 15.2% for Mitt Romney and 0.7% for Mike Huckabee. The Real Clear Politics average of the pollsters had McCain getting 31.8% of the vote, Romney 28.2% and Huckabee 12.2%. It ended up McCain 37%, Romney 32% and Huckabee 12%. Favourite backers safely got the money.

Anyone interested in how the market has performed over a longer period in many elections in many countries will find an historical record on my blog .