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IEM Shows Bush, Kerry Even

At the Iowa Electronic Markets, an exchange run by the University of Iowa that allows participants to wager up to $500 predicting the election outcome, Bush and Kerry each have a 50 percent likelihood of winning. Recent events, including Kerry's pick of John Edwards -- a smooth-talking former trial lawyer and North Carolina senator -- as his running mate have helped the Democrats' odds of victory, exchange operators said. JOYCE BERG, an accounting professor at the University of Iowa's Tippie School of Business who helps operate the exchange, said Kerry's announcement last week didn't have a huge impact on victory odds, since Edwards was already perceived as the favorite. But it was definitely a plus for his campaign. "What our prices are saying is that traders believe that was a good choice for Kerry," Berg said, noting that his odds rose immediately following the Edwards announcement.

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