538

By 2008.10.24 tags: , . Comment»

You just got back from checking RealClearPolitics polls, didn’t ya? What’s that, like the fifth time today? I know, bro, I’m there w/ ya.

That’s why I’ve resolved to drastically change my daily routine. No, not by mindlessly checking polls any less, but rather by adding another site to my hourly obsession list: Five Thirty Eight.

These guys are baseball stats folk who, for the last few months, have turned their mighty number-crunching powers from earned-run averages and stolen bases to Electoral Votes and Senate races.

Like RCP they average all the recent polls. But to 538 all polls are not reported equal: “we assign each poll a weighting based on that pollster’s historical track record, the poll’s sample size, and the recentness of the poll.”

Their result is not the typical whose-up by how-much number, but instead their more baseball like Win Percentage pie chart (mostly blueberry right now, with a small slice of cherry). 538’s Super Tracker graph plots trendlines, with points for daily averages. An Electoral Vote Distribution chart uses 10,000 voting simulations to outputs the probability for a range of possible outcomes, based on daily data. And their Senate Projections are likely the best in the biz.

Why the name 538? It’s the number of electors in the electoral college.

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