Saturday, August 2, 2008

US Election - some interesting sites

Where do I start with this one? Maybe with a listing of some interesting sites:

FiveThirtyEight.Com - amazing analysis of the election. I am truly amazed at the work Nate does in crunching the numbers. I have looked at many different sites that track the US election and this one is so far ahead of all the rest to make the others all irrelevant. As one of the first people in BC that tried to do something similar with one of our elections, I know the work that needs to go into something like this to make it work. For those that do not remember, back in early 1999 I put together an analysis that predicted the NDP wipeout of 2001, though I thought they would take four seats and not the two that they ended up with.

Rasmussen Reports has a lot of in depth polling and they seem to the most consistent national pollster this election cycle. As someone that did some polling back in the late 1980s and worked on a business plan for a polling company in the late 1990s, I know a lot more than most how polling is done and why 9 time out of 10 the political polling that is done in Canada and the US is no better than reading chicken entrails.

I am also really enjoying the Rasmussen Markets. This is your chance to buy and sell shares in election outcomes. I have been a junkie of Election Stockmarkets for years and taken part in the UBC ESM each time I could (there is a cute tax benefit to the UBC ESM - you get a tutition payment notice as if it was a course and if you do well you make more money that put in, this means you can get a tax receipt and your money back).

I would be happier if the Rasmussen Markets used real money, but still, it is a fun exercise and really gives a strong sense of the ebb and flow in a political campaign from day to day. ESM have been very good predictors of election results and tend to spot trends before they are noted in polls. The ones that have worked well are the ones that have people use their own money, how well the Rasmussen one will work is questionable, though the results mirror FiveThirtyEight closely.

My one complaint with the Rasmussen Markets is that there are too many contracts available and not enough people paying attention to them all. It means there are many that are not traded very often.

Another interesting site is Real Clear Politics. They have a concise listing of all of the polls each and every day. They also have their one electoral college estimate, but it is not as good as FiveThirtyEight.

I spent a lot of time at CNN for the primary race, but their summer coverage of the election is not enough for an election junkie like myself.

So why do I pay this much attention to the US election? I am an admitted election junkie - go to sites like this. I also pay attention because I live in Canada and no nation is as dependent on the US economy as we are.
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