The Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM -- www.biz.uiowa.edu/iem) have been running (and eluding federal oversight; it's a research project, the University says) for 20 years now, and according to new research by IEM, they have been more accurate than opinion polls 74 percent of the time between 1988 and 2008. They've even spawned imitators, like InTrade.com, NewsFutures.com and Casualobserver.net.
As of Tuesday, Barack Obama was trading at 79 & cent; on the IEM, down from the 86 & cent; he was trading at on March 1. (The cents translate to the percentage certainty the market is predicting that Obama will win the Democratic nomination; buying him at 79 & cent; means there is a 79 percent chance your investment will pay off.) Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton was trading at 16 & cent;, up from 13 & cent; on March 1, but way down from the 64 & cent; she was at just five days before Super Tuesday.
Get on the Bus
Polls (yes, back to those again) say Barack Obama won't win Pennsylvania, but if he pulls out a surprise victory there, Hillary Clinton might feel like she got run over by a bus. That's how a lot of people who came face to face with Jerome Bettis used to feel, before he retired as the star running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And last week, Obama toured parts of the state with Bettis and Franco Harris, another Steeler legend. In a final play for votes, Obama even told local reporters that as a kid growing up in Hawaii, his favorite team was... the Pittsburgh Steelers! (How convenient.)