Track the Electoral College vote predictions

Posted September 20, 2008 by Adnaan

We’ve been looking at the Electoral College prediction maps of the New York Times, Real Clear Politics, Intrade, NPR & the Online Newshour, and many others, and there’s good news for armchair pollsters: Few media prognosticators agree on how the swing states will swing.

We’re not playing the guessing game ourselves — the only poll that really matters is the one on November 4th — but we are curious why certain organizations are going against the grain.

Have a look at our embeddable Electoral College prediction tracker

Embed the prediction tracker

Paste this code snippet to your blog or Web site where you’d like the tracker to appear:

630 x 452 full size tracker:

190 x 187 tracker widget:

Here’s what the widget looks like…


  1. If you’re interested in the latest info about political prediction markets, you should check out my blog - I’m an active trader and a journalist who has been covering these markets since 2006.

    Comment by Politickr — September 20, 2008 @ 2:21 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  --2

  2. The real issue is not how well Obama or McCain might do state-by-state, but that we shouldn’t have battleground states and spectator states in the first place. Every vote in every state should be politically relevant in a presidential election. And, every vote should be equal. We should have a national popular vote for President in which the White House goes to the candidate who gets the most popular votes in all 50 states.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral vote — that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Because of state-by-state enacted rules for winner-take-all awarding of their electoral votes, recent candidates with limited funds have concentrated their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people have been merely spectators to the presidential election.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes– 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


    Comment by susan — September 23, 2008 @ 1:22 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  3. Because of the way the popular and elector vote interact with each other there have been 12 Presidential elections that were decided by less than a 1% margin; meaning if less than 1% of the voters in certain states had changed their mind to the other candidate the outcome of the entire election would have been different.

    Comment by Mike Sheppard — September 25, 2008 @ 1:21 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  4. Your Electoral College Prediction Tracker shows the NY Times giving McCain 256 electoral votes- can you tell me when that prediction was made?
    I can’t find anything on the NY Times website?!….

    Comment by Steve — October 2, 2008 @ 9:55 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  5. I’m not sure the Times prediction agrees with what is on there site.

    Comment by Ben Antieau — October 2, 2008 @ 11:35 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  6. IMHO, the very fact that there is a clear regional clustering of the preferences argues against the nationalization of the popular vote. Mob rule does not protect the rights of minority.

    Comment by David T — October 3, 2008 @ 10:46 am |  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

  7. Thank you. This is an intelligent, useful
    and user friendly website. Well, as long as
    my side is winning, anyhow…

    Comment by John Dinwiddie — October 3, 2008 @ 9:12 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

  8. Great assistance, was using one of those tool, but this mash-up of multiple sets of information makes it much easier to see in one glance.

    Comment by Daltonsbriefs — October 8, 2008 @ 8:38 am |  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

  9. Very interesting presentation. Certainly the most fun to use!

    Susan @2: the reason that we don’t want to go to a national popular vote is that the Democratic machines in the large cities, like Chicago where I live, will manufacture as many votes as it takes to win. Right now, the Electoral College confines that kind of fraud to just a few states, and limits the overall ability to steal a presidential election. The best that Chicago can do right now is steal Illinois for Obama - not that it’s really necessary. But I’d hate to see Chicago, and Philadelphia, and Boston, and LA, and New York City given the chance to tilt the national election from the graveyard.

    And when that starts happening, the Republicans will try to do the same thing.

    The Electoral College has the unanticipated side effect of limiting and IMHO reducing fraud in presidential elections.

    Comment by punditius — October 19, 2008 @ 5:55 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

  10. Actually, the Electoral College didn’t prevent the Rupublican majority on the Supreme Court from stealing the 2000 Election.

    Comment by tombo — October 21, 2008 @ 4:32 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

  11. It would be cool to see this chart in time-lapse over the past 6 months. Is that possible?

    Comment by Michelle — October 27, 2008 @ 4:05 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  12. Great tracker…another good one to add to it would be from

    Comment by Christian — October 28, 2008 @ 10:36 am |  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

  13. whoops, never mind, i see it’s there already…

    Comment by Christian — October 28, 2008 @ 10:38 am |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  14. There’s some sort of bug in your tracker — it’s not updating the bottom line — Fox News. You still show them at 189 McCain, 183 Obama, the Fox website has Obama 286, McCain 16x…

    quitting your loop early?

    Comment by Joe Davison — October 30, 2008 @ 7:18 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  15. It would be nice while in a box to show how many votes are to the left and right (at the top or bottom) and to show the date that poll was updated (at the right or left).

    Comment by Dirk — October 30, 2008 @ 8:43 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

  16. Punditius in comment 9: most of the big city Democratic machines were set up at least in part to counteract the vote rigging that occurred/occurs in Republican-dominated rural areas in their states. The D machine leaders don’t have clean hands, but they learned from the masters.

    It will be interesting to see whether we can develop vote recording systems that reduce the ability of any group or person to commit electoral fraud — and if, whether we — collectively — have the political will to adopt one of those systems.

    Comment by eric carlson — November 2, 2008 @ 1:37 am |  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

  17. To susan and expanding on what tombo said: the electoral college (EC) system not only didn’t prevent an alleged election steal in 2000 it actually makes it easier.

    If your candidate is behind say a half million votes (close to what Bush trailed Gore in 2000) you have to “manufacture” that many votes or “flip” half that many votes to turn the election around via the popular vote.

    With the EC system one can economize a lot by just working to change the results of the fewest closely-contested states (often times just one) to change the election. In Florida 2000 that was only 500 or so votes (based on the certified results).

    It makes sense to me that if one is going to rig an election (and not get caught) changing fewer votes is easier to do and less likely to be detected.

    …unless there are electronic machines with no paper audit but don’t get me started on that…

    Comment by skeptic — November 3, 2008 @ 1:17 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

  18. This is very exciting! The crowds at the polls are amazing! I have voted for my candidate and is excited to see the results! But in retrospect BUSH will be gone soon! thank god! Lets clean up his mess and make this a better place again!

    Comment by Sara — November 4, 2008 @ 3:12 pm |  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

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