IEM Helps Gauge Public Opinion

University of Iowa business professors in 1988 brainstormed ways to more accurately gauge public opinion and founded the IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS, program spokesman TOM SNEE said. The project sells shares in potential election outcomes and lets the "market" determine the price, he said. Shareholders can spend up to $500 in this cousin to online gambling. "People make different decisions because their money is at stake," Snee said. "If you want the Democrats to win, if it's a poll, you're going to say you're going to vote for the Democrat. But if you think the Republican is going to win, you're going to put your money on the Republican." Paul Rhode, economic historian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, puts it another way. "You have a reward for stating your true and best opinion," he said.