Stocks May Be Down, But Robb Is At 33

Politics and the stock market are both gambles. So what does the University of Virginia's Electronic Political Stock Market--available through the Internet--tell us about Virginia's Senate race, perhaps 1994's wildest election? That incumbent Democrat Charles Robb, despite having to deny allegations of extramarital affairs, is ahead of retired Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, whose conviction for lying to Congress about Iran-contra was overturned on a technicality.

The election market opened on Feb. 1, as part of a larger electronic market network developed at the University of Iowa. With a minimum $5 investment, political junkies can place bets and hope for a payoff in November. If you buy a Robb share at 30 cents and he gets 55% of the vote, you net 25 cents. As of Apr. 12, Robb is trading at 33 cents. Archpatriot North is at 30 cents, and his GOP rival, former U.S. Budget Director James Miller, is at 11 cents. The parties choose nominees on June 14.