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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Where Can I Get a Good EV Count?

I know a lot of people like Electoral Vote Predictor 2004. And it is indeed a handsome site that provides much valuable information.
However, there are some problems with it that, for me, reduce its usefulness and reliablity.
1. It is only updated once a day and the data are frequently a bit stale.
2. It does not provide links to the original, full data from a given poll.
3. Its EV calculations do not favor RV data over the more problematic LV data.
4. Its EV calculations include polls from the notorious partisan polling firm, Strategic Vision.
5. Its EV calculations include polls conducted over the internet, which have yet to prove their reliability.
6. Its EV calculations mix tracking polls in with regular polls which, since they come out every day (e.g., Zogby’s ten battleground state tracking polls), are highly likely to be the most recent polls in a given state and hence push that state’s EVs in whatever direction the tracking poll’s going. Such an approach gives too much influence to the polling firm(s) doing the tracking and should be avoided.
So where can you find a site that corrects for all these problems? You’re in luck: just trot on over to Bob Poulsen’s 2.004k.com (recently renamed NowChannel.com) and dive right in. Poulsen’s site is updated frequently, always provides links to the original data and uses a solid methodology for its EV counts:

If results with “Registered Voters” are available, those results are used. If not, “Adults” are used, or, as last choice, “Likely Voters”.
Note: Pollsters’ methods of determining “Likely Voters” are arbitrary and subjective.
Not Included: Polls from partisan polling firm Strategic Vision
Not Included: Polls from online-based surveys, including WSJ/Zogby Interactive
Methodology change on October 10: mid-date of poll is now used to determine chronological order.
Trend/Margin/Leader, and Electoral College tally, based on the most recent poll (only).
Beware, this is an imperfect system, and a single outlier state poll can make a dramatic change if it is the most recent.
For the best concept of a possible outcome, one must skeptically study each state poll for each battleground state.
Q. Where are the current Zogby Battleground State Polls, and the Detroit News/Mitchell Research Polls?
A. At the Daily Tracking Poll page.
Q. Why aren’t the daily tracking polls included among all other state polls?
A. Because these polls are published daily, including them would give too much advantage to a single polling firm (since their polls would always be the most-recent poll).

Exactly. Note that, even though Poulsen doesn’t use the state tracking data for his EV calculations, he still provides all those data, neatly and crisply arrayed on his very nifty Daily Tracking Poll page, along with all the national tracking polls, also very neatly organized.
You’ll find navigating his site very easy to do (the latest data, both nationally and from the states are all available on one page, each state has its own page, etc.) and the original data from a poll are always just a mouse click away. And he puts his latest EV calculation on the bottom of each page, along with a link to the state data being used for the calculation.
It may not be as pretty as the Electoral Vote Predictor site. But the data are better and superbly organized. I urge you to make it a frequent stop as we wind down to election day.
Corrections: Votemaster over at Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 informs me that RVs are now favored over LVs in calculations and Strategic Vision is excluded from “averaged” poll readings for states.

10 comments on “Where Can I Get a Good EV Count?

  1. baltimore on

    What do you think about this thoery that the internet/computerized polls may be more accurate because people are ashamed to say aloud to a real human being that they are voting for Kerry rather than Bush.
    Essentially that conservatives/republicans are lying to real people but may be telling inquiring computers the truth.

  2. Ottnott on

    I don’t have an answer, but I have an EV question.
    Maine isn’t an all-or-none state for EVs, I’m told.
    So what is the likely split and how solid is that number?

  3. Tweety Fish on

    As long as you’re evaluating these kinds of sites, I’d be curious to hear what you thought of http://www.race2004.net/ I’ve been using it instead of electoral-vote because of some of the methodological problems you mentioned; race2004 uses a 3 day average and doesn’t include tracking polls. They also seem to link to the actual poll data where possible.

  4. Mady on

    Not quite on topic, but what, again, is wrong with Newsweek. They show 50-44 Bush, with a large gap even among registered voters, and headline their story with Bush breaking away.
    How did they do in 2000? What in the world are they using to get these results.

  5. forethought on

    I also like http://race2004.net/, thought some people object to the color scheme and no polls are omitted. They do seem to update frequently and you can get at the original data. http://tripias.com/state/ is interesting in that if you don’t like a pollster or voter model, you can create a custom map where you just turn off what you don’t want. It’s pretty nice, and he has been updating polls at least daily recently, now that we’re getting close to the end.

  6. mouser on

    a prediction of electoral vote outcome is very misleading no matter what data you use; i think you’re better off with a probabilistic model.
    i wrote a free little tool to play with this stuff here:
    i’ve been updating it with data from both electoral-vote.com and race2004k and other sites (you can load different data sets to see what the different data predict), and you can play with different assumptions about biases in the polls.

  7. Don on

    I can understand keeping Strategic Vision out, but how about Democracy Corps? It’s one you frequently quote, but it is just as partisan on the other side. Also, you have been citing the Economist and Harris interactive polls on this site, yet you are not convinced of their reliability?


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