We are in full swing now in the presidential campaign, and we are constantly bombarded with poll numbers. Funny thing is, most of those polls are just national polls, a prediction of how the nation-wide popular vote will turn out. But as the 2000 election underscored, that doesn't matter at all: what matters is the electoral vote. To predict that, you'd have to track individual state-by-state polls to see who wins the popular vote in each state, and compute the electoral vote totals. Sounds like a lot of work, but FiveThirtyEight.com (Electoral Predictions Done Right) has done all the work already. They also run statistical simulations to predict the likelihood of various outcomes (for example: the chance of McCain losing the popular vote but winning the election is 1.7%).

Add extensive tables of data detailing the poll data, the simulations, their predictions, maps of outcomes, more of the same for congressional races, and so on, and you have a quantitative political junkie's dream site.

BTW, as of this moment, they predict an Obama win, with 339 electoral votes to McCain's 199.

And they aren't the only game in town: there's also Electoral-vote.com (currently predicting a 329 over 194 win for Obama), and Election Projection (364 to 174 for Obama).

tagged: » 4 reactions

Comments

[gravatar]
mark 10:21 PM on 6 Oct 2008

http://pollster.com/ is also good, a little more conservative in that it leaves many votes in the "toss up" camp, so maybe a more realistic indicator (296 to 163 for Obama, with 79 undecideds)

[gravatar]
cory 10:56 PM on 6 Oct 2008

Thanks for pointing out Election Projection, that was one I missed. I check these things obsessively!

So for your other politic junkies, here are the feeds for:

Electoral-Vote rss
fivethirtyeight rss

The frontpage of that site is pure electoral politics PORN: I mean, if you really like knowing the counts, 538 may be NSFW. Because you'll get fired checking it all the time. :-) I even love the name of fivethirtyeight.

BTW, Electoral-Vote is the only RSS feed that puts the electoral counts right in the rss subject lines. Seeing that Obama's still winning in my rss inbox every morning makes my day a little brighter.

[gravatar]
Nate 11:09 PM on 6 Oct 2008

Wow... I'd be more than happy with 296.... hell, I'd be happy with 270. A landslide for the good guys wouldn't exactly be a kick in the teeth, though :)

[gravatar]
Dan Dunn 8:02 PM on 7 Oct 2008

I've been worshiping 538 through the primaries. There isn't a website out there that more consistently puts up interesting, original content. The insights are brilliant, and they keep coming.

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