Bush Widens Lead in IEM

U.S. President George W. Bush has widened his lead over Democratic challenger John Kerry in online futures markets, matching trends in some voter and investor polls following the Republican convention three weeks ago. Iowa Electronic Markets, a nonprofit political betting system run by the University of Iowa, gave Bush a 60 percent probability of victory, up from 50 percent on Aug. 21. The Iowa Electronic Market has been off an average of 1.37 percentage points from the actual popular vote tally since it began in 1988, said THOMAS RIETZ, a professor of finance at the University of Iowa's business school who directs the markets. That compares to an average of 1.93 points for polls, he said. Events could alter the election's outcome and render the futures forecast moot, Reitz said. "We think it is a forecast that is better than the next best alternative but it is still a forecast," Rietz said.

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