Betting on Elections

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The University of Iowa sponsors a low-stakes trading market where participants can put wagers on “political futures”. The surprise? Betters are more accurate than polls at predicting election outcomes.

If you look at polls run during the election and we’ve looked at about 600 polls, what we found is 75% of the cases, the Iowa market prices predict the actual vote share of the election better than polls.

-Joyce Berg, University of Iowa

In the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM), participants wager between $5 and $500 in winner-take-all futures trading ranging from political races to box office receipts. Primarily, this market’s purpose is to give students an incentive to learn…. a financial incentive.

To check it out yourself, head to

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