Polls and the electoral college

It’s about that time in the Presidential election cycle for the media polls to start meaning absolutely nothing.  This always happens right about the same time the media really starts hyping the spread between the candidates in the poll. There are two issues with looking at nationwide polling data. First, we don’t elect a president by popular vote so whoever is winning the national polls doesn’t matter at all and second, the basic polls are flawed in and of themselves (I’ll try to go more into this later in a later post).

The best way we have of handicapping the presidential race is to look at the flawed polls in individual states in conjuction with those states electoral pull. A couple of websites do a great job of this.

  • CNN.com’s electoral map calculator gives you a chance to see who CNN is giving the race to at this moment in time and which states are leaners and tossups. It also lets you play with electoral math by changing who wins what states and see historical races.
  • I also really like electoral-vote.com because it breaks down the polls state by state and tells you the latest polling data from which state and how current it is. During the last election cycle I think I visited electoral-vote.com three or four times a day for the two weeks preceding the election.

Do you have any election trackers that you like? Share in the comments.