Frequently Asked Questions
Can I put a link to your site from my website or blog?Yes. Click on Enhancements on the menu and there are three different size icons you can just cut and paste onto your website or blog. Or make your own.
Why don't you include Michael Badnarik in the pollsThe pollsters only occasionally ask about him. When there is no data, I can't use it. They apparently think his vote will be negligible although I think it might be close to Nader's.
What does (R) or (D) mean after a pollster?Pollsters that primarily work for Republican candidates are marked (R). Pollsters that primarily work for Democratic candidates are marked (D).
What happened to the prediction mapIn the spring and summer there was a map that did a linear regression on each state and used that to predict the final outcome. It did not do very well because the pollsters differ so much and there is so much noise in the data. It was making crazy predictions, like Kerry would win Oklahoma because Bush did drop from a massive lead to a merely huge lead and the software figured Bush would continue to drop. I removed it from the main page because it was worthless, but the software does continue to compute it. Starting Oct. 17, the lookback period was changed from 90 days to 30 days in the hope that the election has become a bit more stable. If you REALLY want to see it, the URL changes daily (to discourage use) but for, say Oct 17, it is www.electoral-vote.com/fin/oct17p.html. Note the "p" after oct17.
Why do you use pollster X. It cheatsI am trying very hard to be impartial so I use all polls. If I were to discard some polls or pollsters because I or some other people don't like the results, that would lead to more bias than including all the polls. If pollsters announced their biases to the world, it would be simpler, but they don't. However, if a pollster is caught doing push polls, then it gets banned until 2008. Do I personally believe all the pollsters? No, but it would be unwise to give my personal opinion of some of them. Look at the "Compare the pollsters" page to form your own judgement.
Which polls do you use?The most recent poll is always used. The middle date of the polling period is what counts (not the release date). If multiple polls have the same middle date, the shortest one is used. If there are still ties, they are averaged. Click on Polling data to the right of the map for all the raw polling data since Sept. 1. It is sorted in descending order by polling date (Sept.1 is 1.0, so an Oct. 4-5 poll is 34.5, etc.). The fields are separated by commas so you can read the file into Excel. The Key page explains what the fields mean.
How well did the pollsters do in 2000?On the whole pretty badly. Here are the 2000 results.
Where do you get your funding?I have paid for the site entirely out of my own pocket. No campaign, party, 527, or other funds from any sources whatsoever have been used. The costs have been fairly modest, somewhat under $3000 so far. If I keep the site alive until Nov 2008, as I plan to, that will add another $600 or so. I do accept donations as described on the donations page, but 100% of the donations have been used to buy ads to publicize the site. The list of places where the ads are running is given on the donations page.
Your text is too wide for my screen. What can I do?You are probably trying to view the site at a screen resolution of 800x600. If your hardware is capable of it, go to the Windows control panel and change the resolution to 1024x768. If your hardware is not capable of it, you may wish to read the text via the RSS feed. That will make it fit. Click here for details. To print pages that appear to be too wide, try landscape mode or "fit to page" if that option is available.
Why are your results different from other sites'?There are many valid reasons. First, Methodologies differ. Second, not everyone has access to the same polls. I subscribe to the premium (paid) services offered by several pollsters, giving me (early) access to polls not available to the general public. Third, this site is updated once a day by 7 a.m. EDT. Other sites have different update patterns, sometimes as low as once a week. Fourth, Pollsters often ask the big question twice, once as Kerry vs. Bush and once as Kerry vs. Bush vs. Nader. Different sites handle this issue differently. This site includes Nader except when he is not on the ballot in a state. Fifth, some pollsters try to guess who is a likely voter and report the scores separately for likely voters and registered voters. Currently I use likely voters although that may be revised shortly. Some other sites may use registered voters.
Why aren't Gallup polls used?They are. However Gallup is not commissioned to do many state polls. It is not their speciality. The state polls that they do conduct are most certainly used.
What do the terms "strong," "weak," and "barely" mean?By definition, "strong" means support of 10% or more; "weak" means 5% to 9%, and "barely" means less than 5%. The states marked barely are statistical ties.
If a candidate wins a state, does he get all the electoral votes?In all states except Maine and Nebraska, yes. In those two, a candidate gets one electoral vote for each congressional district he wins plus two for the state as a whole. Colorado has a ballot referendum in November that would allocate its electoral votes in proportion to the popular vote starting this year.
What happens if the electoral vote is a tie or nobody gets 270 EVs?The newly-elected House of Representatives chooses the president, with each state getting one vote. The new Senate chooses the VP. If the House ties 25 states to 25 states, the new VP acts as president. If the new Senate ties 50-50 and the House breaks 25-25, the normal order of succesion is followed. The next in line is the Speaker of the House, then the President Pro Tem of the Senate. See the Electoral college page for more information.
Can you explain how polling works?Yes, but it is a long story. See this page.
What is a push poll?It is a way of slandering a political opponent in the guise of a poll. The so-call pollster calls thousand of people (instead of the normal hundreds) and asks questions including things like "Did you see the newspaper story in which Joe Smith admitted beating his wife or using drugs or something else," when no such story ever appeared. The next question is: "Now that you know this, are you planning to vote for Joe Smith?" See this story for a recent example from the presidential election.
Are the dates of the polls used available?Yes. The Excel spreadsheets have all the data on which polls were used. In addition, moving the mouse over the map tells which poll was used in which state.
I love this site. Can I donate money to help out?Yes. See the donations page.
I hate this site. Is there one run by a Republican?Yes. Take a look at electionprojection.com. It is strongly biased in favor of George Bush.
Is an RSS Feed for the site available?Yes, see the RSS feed page. The URL is ../index.rss.
Are the Excel spreadsheets available in .csv format?Yes. Just download this zip file. It contains all the spreadsheets in both .xls and .csv format.
Is there a way to search this site?Yes. Use the Google search box at the bottom of the main page.
Who are you and what are your credentials?See the Votemaster FAQ.
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