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October 09, 2008

Love numbers? Obsessed by the election? If so…

…you’ll love fivethirtyeight.com, which is one of the best blogs to emerge about the 2008 presidential election. The name comes from the number of delegate votes up for grabs in the election, and the site takes the daily feeds of national and statewide polls and synthesizes them to create a running set of predictions about the likely outcome of the election, which (as of today, 10/9/08) looks like this:

The site’s founder, Nate Silver, has been careful to try to build a model which takes into account the historical accuracy of the various polls that he draws from, as well as a number of other factors such as state demographics, to provide a view which is as likely to be accurate as anything you’ll encounter from the likes of Gallup or CNN.

I love the site because it’s a great demonstration of what can be done with a computer, some publicly available data, and a commitment to citizen journalism. And it seems I’m not the only one – having only started seven months ago, the site pulled in nearly 700,000 visits yesterday, and has earned Nate a certain degree of fame, culminating with an appearance this week on the Colbert Report:

And FiveThirtyEight.com has even garnered the praise of the folks at JunkCharts.com for the clarity of its charts – an achievement perhaps even more impressive than appearing on the Comedy Channel.

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