October 1, 2004 | BloombergGeorge Bush's lead over John Kerry in futures markets before this year's first presidential debate was similar to the advantage that Al Gore commanded four years ago. Bush, the Republican incumbent, was ahead by 34 percentage points on the Iowa Electronic Markets in advance of his initial encounter with Kerry, his Democratic challenger. In 2000, Bush trailed then-Vice President Gore by 38 points after the first debate. Bush futures then began to rise. On the day of the November election, the contracts were priced at 83 while Gore futures traded at 17. "Things happen over the course of the election that change people's opinions and produce a swing that reverses the prices," said Thomas Rietz, a professor of finance at the University of Iowa's business school who helps run the market.
Contact: Thomas Rietz