The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 9, 2003

IEM Predicted Recall Vote, Schwarzenegger Win

On the day before the California recall vote, the Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) accurately predicted that Gov. Gray Davis would be recalled and that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be elected California governor.

The IEM, a political futures market operated by six professors at the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, has a reputation for accurately predicting elections since its inception in 1988, but it was especially accurate in projecting the California governor recall vote. The margin of error was about 1 percent in this race, outperforming many polls.

On Oct. 6, the IEM's vote share market showed that 54.2 percent of voters would vote "yes" for a recall; the actual vote was 55.4 percent. The IEM showed that Schwarzenegger would win with 47.2 percent of the vote; the actual vote was 48.6 percent. Figures for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante were just as close; the IEM predicted he would get 32.1 percent of the vote, while the actual vote was 31.6 percent.

Tom Rietz, IEM co-director and UI associate professor of finance, said that on election eve the average absolute prediction error of the IEM for predicting the Yes/No vote share was 1.17 percent. The average absolute prediction error for predicting the vote share of the gubernatorial race was 0.94 percent.

The IEM is a small-scale, real-money market developed and used as a teaching and research laboratory. For an investment of as little as $5 or as much as $500, trading in the markets is open to participants worldwide. The market operates online at

Since its beginning during the 1988 U.S. Presidential election, the IEM has established a reputation for forecasting election results with great accuracy. The IEM has recorded an average prediction error of 1.37 percent in presidential elections, compared with an average of 2 to 2.5 percent for polls.

The IEM also has a market for the Democratic nomination for President (, and a market showing how the Democratic candidates would fare against George Bush in the 2004 elections ( So far, the IEM shows the Democrats could defeat Bush.

For more information, see the Iowa Electronic Markets website at or contact the IEM office at 319-335-0081.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012,