January 18, 2004 | New York TimesSome tracking polls show the presidential contest in Iowa as too close to call, but the invisible hand of the market is pointing to the favorite. Howard Dean is the choice of two political futures markets, where thousands of speculators, unlike journalists, put their money where their punditry is. They buy and sell contracts that pay off if a candidate wins. Dr. Dean remained the favorite to be the eventual nominee on another exchange, the IOWA ELECTRONIC MARKETS. Traders yesterday gave him a 51 percent chance to win, putting him well ahead of Gen. Wesley K. Clark (21 percent) and Mr. Kerry (13 percent). This exchange has been run since 1988 by the University of Iowa's business school, which says its futures market has usually been more accurate than public opinion polls at predicting election results.
Contact: Robert Forsythe