Glenn poses a puzzle about the Iowa Electronic Market - why the apparent Kerry rally? In Updates, he also notes that the daily closing price graph might not be reflective of the "real" market.
Why someone would want to manipulate this market is beyond me - I would be more inclined to think that someone hated Arnold's speech, or thought the rumored staff shake-ups at Campaign Kerry might turn the tide. But be that as it may, it is clear that the closing price on Aug 31 is an outlier.
This page presents daily high, low, average, and close for August. The Aug 31 close of 50% Kerry / 50% Bush is out of line with previous closes, and with the daily average for Aug 31 (and note the high volume).
This page shows the current market, which, as of 9:45 CST on Sept 1, has moved back to roughly 46% Kerry / 54% Bush. This is back in line with the average price for August 31, and the previous closing prices.
Of course, this does not prove that the last trade was "wrong" - maybe some rumor did not pan out, for example. But I would not take the Aug 31 close too seriously (relative to the religious faith I place in the other closing prices, of course...).
A final note - from the prospectus, we remind folks that Iowa is living on Planet Gore, where the "winner" of their "Winner Takes All" market will be whoever receives the most popular votes. Here under the yellow sun, and at TradeSports, we still have an Electoral College, and the winner will be whoever raises their right hand on January 20, 2005.
At TradeSports, Bush is currently given a 58% chance of winning, which is slightly higher than the 54% chance being traded in Iowa.
UPDATE: From the Time Vault, coverage of the Kerry campaign shake-up from last November. The "near-death, then renewal" electoral process is part of Kerry's charm, I guess.
UPDATE 2: FWIW, TradeSports had two contracts related to the Kobe Bryant situation: (1) will the case go to trial; and (2) will a jury find him guilty. Look under "All Events", then "Legal".
Now, did the case go to trial? Jury selection had begun, but opening arguments had not been made - check the contract!
As to being found guilty, well, no. The market had estimated roughly a 10% chance of that happening.