Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

We’re back!

July 20th, 2008, 10:46pm by Sam Wang

For those of you who followed my analysis in 2004, welcome back. Just as I did then, I’ll be providing meta-analysis of polling in the 2008 Presidential race. My central goal is to reduce hundreds of state-level polls to simple statistics that will show you the state of play. The methods will be transparent, and with the help of Andrew Ferguson, automated and more visually accessible.

We’ll also do more than just report on polls. The reason is simple: compared with 2004, this area has blossomed (here are several great resources). We will also provide a forum for Princeton-based election analysis spanning many disciplines: computer science, politics, statistics, psychology, and neuroscience, to name a few. I’ll be inviting professors and other researchers to provide commentary. The result will be a group blog that is richer than anything I could do by myself. It’s a work in progress – stay tuned!

And now, back to the polls. In 2008, different (and perhaps more) states are in play than in 2004. I have decided to extend my calculation to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. My statistics will be based on the full probability distribution, covering 2,251,799,813,685,248 permutations – nearly 2.3 quadrillion. (Note that it’s the exact distribution, not repeated simulation as you’ll find on other sites. But that’s a topic for another day.) The results will be “clean,” reflecting polls only – no inferred outcomes from pre-2008 data, no special assumptions about undecided voters.

Our graphics aren’t quite up yet, so here are today’s unadorned results. Based on 137 polls (up to 3 per state), the current median outcome is Obama 306 EV, McCain 232 EV (95% confidence intervals Obama [275,327], McCain [211,263]. The Popular Meta-Margin is Obama +3.1%. For an explanation of what these quantities mean, see the old site.

Tags: 2008 Election

2 Comments so far ↓

  • KenW.

    Glad to sse you back. Your analyses were missed this election cycle.


  • Jim Ware

    Thanks for this terrific site. It’s so important for us all to get past the shallow/partisan MSM reporting to understand what is really going on.

    I’m looking forward to following this site carefully in the coming months – and citing you regularly on the other blogs where I post.