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Berg: IEM Traders Confident of Bush Win

As the presidential candidates prepare for their first debate, shares of George W. Bush are trading around 70 cents this week on the Iowa Electronic Markets, while those of John F. Kerry have dropped to around 30 cents. Instead of soybeans or pork bellies, this market allows investors to bet on election outcomes. Created as a teaching tool, the market was started during the 1988 presidential election by the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business and has become a barometer closely watched by political pundits. The market prices reflect the perceived probability of each candidate's chances of winning. Over the summer, Bush and Kerry were running neck and neck, but Bush has gained market share steadily over the past four weeks. "Traders seem to be thinking that there is a significant probability that Bush will win, and possibly by a large margin," said JOYCE BERG, the market's co-director and an associate accounting professor.

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