Reitz: Election a Toss-up

Online traders wagering on the outcome of next week's presidential election are giving President Bush slightly better odds of victory than Sen. John Kerry. But trading-exchange operators caution against reading their data too strongly in Bush's favor, saying the race remains remarkably close. On two real-money wagering sites, TradeSports and the Iowa Electronic Markets, traders give Bush a 59 percent and 61 percent chance, respectively, of being re-elected, as of Monday. A third site, NewsFutures, where traders wager for prizes and bragging rights, has the race virtually deadlocked, giving Bush a 51 percent chance of victory. "It's not that much better than a coin flip," said THOMAS RIETZ, associate professor of finance at the University of Iowa's Henry B. Tippie College of Business and a co-director of the Iowa market.