Berg Comments on IEM Accuracy

As if the U.S. presidential contest wasn't enough like a horse race, web users all over the world can now bet on the outcome through online futures exchanges that treat politics like corn, cocoa or other commodities. At web sites like the IOWA ELECTRONICS MARKETS (http:/ and Dublin-based Intrade (, members can buy contracts predicting that President Bush will win re-election on Nov. 2 -- or sell them off if they think Sen. John Kerry will unseat him. Savvy traders can make money along the way as prices fluctuate with the candidates' fortunes. On the Iowa exchange, traders on Wednesday gave the Republican Bush a 59.8 percent chance of winning. The Iowa markets have predicted the winner in all but one election since they were started as a teaching tool in 1988, said JOYCE BERG, a University of Iowa accounting professor. The National Post is a Canadian newspaper.