Two Great Websites for the Political (Silly) Season

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Each election cycle seems to bring out new websites that offer a new ways to cover the elections from either the right, left, or independent persuasions. Two websites stand out in my mind as good sources of information for 2008: Politico and Real Clear Politics. Both are best suited for the political junky.

This site and its contributors are getting a wider audience, including within the main stream media. The site has some very-well researched articles, some of which I have referenced before, such as Roger Simon’s, multi-part series on the Democratic primary.

It’s great to see a news source that has some great original content that is not either targeted at the right or the left.

Real Clear Politics
Did you know that (based on this site’s compilation of polling data) had the election been held last week, Obama would have likely won the popular vote and McCain would have one the electoral college tally?

I have been glued to Real Clear Politics for the last few weeks. Among other things, RCP calculates the “RCP Average”, which averages a group of recent polls around the country to smooth out some of the spikes to see the real trends. They do the same for battleground states. They also estimate the current Electoral College results state by state and have an interactive map, where you can click on each state to calculate various election scenarios.

My current prediction, based on polling data and historical trends: Obama/Biden 273, McCain /Palin, 265. (Obama wins all of the Kerrie states, plus Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa) also has links to relevant articles around the country on both the right and the left.

What are your sources of politcal information for 2008?


B Mac 3:06 PM  

Good call Bob. If you don't mind, I'll throw an additional name on the pile;

Like RCP, it culls all the latest polling data from state and national levels. But it goes a step further by combining all the data into a single comprehensive model/algorithm/magic-eight-ball. It weights the polls based on pollster accuracy, sample size, how fresh the data is, etc, and does statistical regression analysis.

The guy that runs it, Nate Silver, seems to know both his politics and his maths. The commentary tends to be left-of-center (though not much), but they rely on the numbers to tell most of the story.

I've been impressed; their model has been able to identify polling trends days ahead of the MSM.

Mr Furious 3:13 PM  

Hey, you forgot one!

Seriously, both of those sites have their moments, but also problems. I rarely go to those sites on my own, but am often linked there by sources I trust/enjoy.

I tend to go down the list in my blogroll...Cole and Sullivan for doses of invective with my info, and Benen, Drum, Kleiman when I'm looking for more analysis.

And, no, I'm not pretending that's an unbiased list by any means.

Mr Furious 3:14 PM  

538 is a good source, but I don't find it a compelling read in most cases. Which is a shame because I like Silver a lot (from his baseball writing).

Rickey Henderson 3:27 PM  

amen for the love for fivethirtyeight. A buddy recommended it to Rickey a few days back and while it's not as compelling as Politico, but it gives Rickey the kind of hope that only statistics can provide.

Bob 3:49 PM  

538 is pretty cool and their predictions are compelling, but I prefer the more real world numbers of RCP. 538's written analysis is pretty interesting to read. RCP also allows you to play more with their maps and stuff, so the poltical junky can have more interactive fun.

Good call B Mac, I would have posted 538, had I remembered it.


Bob 3:55 PM  

Interesting that 538 predicts an Obama win in VA and OH. That would ensure victory.

Smitty 4:11 PM  

I don't normally go to Chris's site, but I see that steves has gone there, and today, he offers an interesting post on "scoring" the candidates according to a civil-liberties "libertarian" bent. Go see it and give Chris some feedback.

Relevent to our topic here, I don't go to Balloon-Juice for news per's an op-ed site. But his (John Cole's) links to otherwise lightly-biased sources that help him form his opinions are usually pretty informative.

Sopor 8:57 AM  

My source for political information? Aroundthekeg!!

Bob 9:01 AM  

Not sure I buy into Chris of Rights rankings. For instance, he gave Obama a low grade for being in favor of hate crime legislation. I am sure that many people feel that increased penalties for racial, religious and other types of hate crimes is a pro-civil rights position to hold.

steves 11:20 AM  

RCP and Politico have been well visited by myself. They seem to be pretty informative. I also like FactCheck for a good starting point when I am trying to figure out some particular candidates BS.

I am sure that many people feel that increased penalties for racial, religious and other types of hate crimes is a pro-civil rights position to hold.

Smitty points out that that the list has a libertarian angle. Most of them believe that hate crime legislation punishes people for having certain thoughts, since the action is already illegal.

B Mac 12:28 PM  

I think Chris of Rights' rankings are taken from a libertarian point of view. More government intervention/infringment to constitutional rights = bad grade.

You may disagree with certain grades (as I do), but the grading convention is very consistant.

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