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Electoral-Vote.com Returns for 2006 Elections 236

Klaus writes "In the 2004 Presidential race, the website electoral-vote.com tracked individual state polls, providing a map of the changing political scene. The map, updated daily, was a phenomenal success. The site is back for the 2006 Congressional elections. It is providing descriptions of the top 40 House races, and all 33 Senate races, as well as valuable information for prospective voters." Remember, your vote counts. Make it out there on November 7th.
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Electoral-Vote.com Returns for 2006 Elections

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  • Almost. (Score:5, Funny)

    by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:29PM (#16072122)
    Remember, your vote counts.
    Remember, the one who counts your vote counts.
    • Re:Almost. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Somatic ( 888514 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:58PM (#16072228) Journal
      Remember, your vote counts.

      Sure. Out of the entire country, I get to choose between TWO people, neither of whom represent me. Then this idiot will be in charge for the remainder of his term, and every time he does something I don't like (all the time), I'll be told it's my fault because "it's a democracy".

      Then, I'll have to hope the election doesn't get hijacked.

      A party system isn't democracy, it's crap. Washington was the only one who had it right: "It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration....agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one....against another..."

      • by lawpoop ( 604919 )
        I don't see any way out of the party system. People naturally tend to form groups. The only improvements I see are either a direct democracy, where everyone could propose and vote on law over the internet, or a parliamentary system, where there are more parties, and thus a wider ranges of views.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
          I live in Canada, and we have a parlimentary system. It works a lot better, because you don't vote for the guy on top. You vote for a guy who's supposed to be looking out for the people in his riding. Naturally, it doesn't always work out perfectly, but I think in this system the people we we voting for have a much closer connection to the people who voted for them.
          • I live in Canada too, and while I think our system is better than the U.S., I still think it has a long way to go. Combining a parliamentary system with proportional representation is what we need. It's ridiculous that Green got 4.5% of the vote without a single seat.
          • i dunno, some of our worst politicians are the Senators and Representatives that are raping the federal budget for local votes, not to mention some of the less-than-savory people that we've had serve as majority leaders in the recent past. the idea of being lorded over by "President DeLay" doesn't make me feel any better than the current administration, wouldn't one of the two majority leaders be president if we switched to a parliamentary government right now?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by CastrTroy ( 595695 )
              You'd might, but with the slim margins your presidents have won with in recent years, you may end up with a minority government. You may also end up with decromats and republicans sitting together and discussing things, and having to come to an agreement before decisions are made, instead of only one side sitting around discussing their own interests.
          • You seem to have a common misperception about the US government - that the President is the "man at the top". In American politics the president is simply the head of the executive branch of the government and has no more power than the legislative branch.
        • The first past the post, winner take all, either/or system it's inevitable that it will fall to a two party election. There's no way to increase the numbers of parties (and therefore the representation) without first reforming the electoral system to a more proportional model.

      • You do get to choose between more than two people. The current problem is that if you choose anyone other than the top two candidates, you effectively remove a vote from the candidate you prefer of the top two.

        The solution is a mechanism in which you can express your preference for the candidates you believe in and still express your preference for the guy who has a chance but isn't your favorite over the one other guy who has a chance who you really can't stand.

        This mechanism is called Preferential Voti [wikipedia.org]

      • I don't claim that the 2-party system is perfect, but it works remarkably well, and IMO it is one of the greatest strengths of our political system. Its a huge moderating force that assures that the largest number of the population will be represented. That is why we end up with moderate leaders like George W Bush and Bill Clinton instead of radical leaders like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Adolf Hitler.

        If you feel that neither party adequately represents you, then it is your duty to either work within the part
      • I get to choose between TWO people, neither of whom represent me.

        1: There are no national offices up for election this year. Your vote is for your representative in the house, which is limited to just your congressional district (avg less than 10,000 people), and maybe a Senator which is limited just to your state. You probably also have school board members, judges, state legislators, governor, mayor, and dog catcher up for election, too.

        2: Join a party. If you can't find one that you prefer over the ot
      • by e40 ( 448424 )
        Consider the difference that electing Gore in 2004 could have made. Likely, there would have been no Iraq war. Just think of that. The many Billions of US$ that would be there for something else. The nearly 3000 Americans and 10's of thousands of Iraqis that would still be alive (yes, some of them would have died under Sadam, but not a significant number of them).

        Yes, you have a choice between two people and it's not perfect. Get over it. Vote for the best person.
        • Interesting ideas. First, Gore was not running in 2004, and second, the Iraq War [wikipedia.org] started in 2003. I assume you meant "electing Gore in 2000".

          Anyway, presidential elections have the complication of the electoral college. For congressional seats, you are voting directly, so it at least feels like you have more power over who wins the race.

        • Re:Almost. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by cheezedawg ( 413482 ) on Sunday September 10, 2006 @06:34PM (#16077682) Journal
          Here are some (admittedly biased) differences that I can think of. Of course, this is all speculation:
          • The Iraq war: I agree that it is unlikely that Al Gore would have invaded Iraq. As a result, Saddam Hussein would still be in power supporting over a dozen terrorist organizations and trying to direct terrorist attacks against the US [washingtonpost.com]. He would still be developing illegal WMD in contravention of his UN obligations, likely without any UN inspectors in the country (we found over a dozen illegal weapons programs that the UN did not now about, and the only reason he let the inspectors back into Iraq in late 2002 was because we parked 150,000 troops at his doorstep), he would have been able to finance these weapons through the continuing corruption of the Oil-for-Food program. The citizens of Iraq would have no say in their destiny, and instead they would still be living under a brutal dictatorship, and Saddam would probably have killed another 100,000-200,000 of them (based on his 20 year history of killing almost 2 million people). On the brighter side, we wouldn't have lost almost 3,000 of our own soldiers fighting over there, we would have saved some money, and the country would be more stable than it appears right now.
          • Libya wouldn't have voluntarily given up its hidden WMD programs.
          • The seed of democracy wouldn't have spread into Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt leading to the most democratic elections these nations have ever seen.
          • North Korea would have still been pretending to abide by the NPT and accepting international aid and support while secretly working on nuclear weapons and long range missiles. I can't imagine Al Gore confronting North Korea about this, let alone successfully organizing 5-party talks with North Korea like President Bush did.
          • Iran might not have felt as much motivation to pursue a nuclear program, but its hard to say.
          • It is very unlikely that Al Gore would have pushed through tax cuts in the face of the economic slowdown that started Q3 2000 and was exasperated by the Sept 11th terrorist attacks. These tax cuts have been responsible for one of the longest periods of economic expansion in decades. Instead, I imagine Gore would have kept the stifling tax rates of Bill Clintons presidency, trying to funnel money into his Social Security "lock box" and compounding our economic problems.
          • Based on his stance on the environment, I bet Al Gore would have tried to implement the greenhouse gas targets found in the Kyoto protocol even though the US Senate defeated Kyoto by a vote of 95-0 during Bill Clinton's presidency. This would have caused us to have even higher energy prices and would have further restricted our economy.
          • Many Europeans would probably like us more now, for whatever that is worth.
    • by daigu ( 111684 )
      Remember, Count Von Count [wikipedia.org] counts...One, Two, Three! Everyone else is not a Count counting, so their counting doesn't count like the Count's.
    • by Yst ( 936212 )
      "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." - Joseph Stalin (Attributed: Memoirs of Boris Bazhanov)
    • When you said Remember I thought you were going to start quoting: "Remember, Remember, the fifth of November the gun powder treason and plot. I know of no reason that the gun powder treason should ever be forgot." Anyone want to dress in Guy Fawkes masks on November 5th and congregate outside Congress?
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by OmegaBlac ( 752432 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:33PM (#16072140)
    Well, that was quick.

    The site is back for the 2006 Congressional elections.
    Well, lets hope that it returns by Nov 7th as it's down right now.
  • Not if Diebold, et. als has anything to say about it. Seriously though, several states are passing laws requiring that any electronic voting machines require a paper audit trail. Why this was not put into the original design of ALL of the machines is beyond me. ATM's have receipts.
  • Didn't this site predict Kerry would win in 2004?
    • Re:In 2004 (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pink Tinkletini ( 978889 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:42PM (#16072174) Homepage
      Didn't the author claim microkernels would prevail?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by DrJimbo ( 594231 )
      They reported the exit polls that showed Kerry would win.

      If you Google("exit polls" ukraine) [google.com] you will see that there was a similar disparity between the exit polls and the official results in a Ukrainian election held around that same time.

      There was almost universal agreement in the West that in the Ukrainian election the exit polls were correct and the official results were rigged. AFAIK, the last two national elections that Bush purportedly won (and now the recent election in Mexico) are the only
  • Are we talking about people who need to see what other people are saying they'll do so that they know what they should, themselves, do with their vote when the time comes?

    *sheep sounds*
    • They can be rather inspiring - if I see that my candidate is behind in the polls, I might be inspired to run down to the local campaign office and help with mailings, or canvassing, or something, or at least show up to vote on election day.

      It works the other way, too. If my candidate is ahead in the polls, I might want to help out to assure victory.

      Besides, they're simply INFORMING the voters. Surely you can't have a problem with that?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

    • by Peyna ( 14792 )
      How do poll results help (real) voters?

      They let me know if my candidate needs more help, so I know whether to give him more money and start knocking on doors, or if I can focus on another candidate that needs my help instead.
    • But of course! And it's not just the couch potatoes who vote this way. Most Green party members voted for Kerry, the man they themselves called a corporate stooge. Even in states where a Kerry win was guaranteed, Greens still didn't vote for their candidate.
    • Polls are useful to a "real" voter in selecting a candidate, because of intrinsic weaknesses in first past the post electoral systems.

      Say you have two challengers, "A" and "B". You vastly prefer both candidates to the incumbent, and slightly prefer candidate A over candidate B. However, polls indicate that candidate B has a good chance of beating the incumbent, but candidate A does not. The voter who consults the polls ends up with their close second choice, whereas the voter who doesn't follow the poll

  • It's Wrong (Score:3, Interesting)

    by christopherfinke ( 608750 ) <chris@efinke.com> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @02:46PM (#16072194) Homepage Journal
    Why does it have Connecticut as "Strong Dem" if it shows Lieberman leading as an Independent, 49-41?
    • Lieberman was (last I heard) running as an independant democrat. Even without the democratic nomination, he's running as a democrat part member.
  • Best. Use of a non standard port. Ever.
  • Success? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @03:03PM (#16072249) Journal
    The map, updated daily, was a phenomenal success.

    What exactly does this quote from the summary mean? What does one mean when one says that a election polling site "was a pehnomenal success"? I think that this an excellent site and visiting it many times each day during the 2004 election. In the end, the final prediction turned out wrong (no fault of the site, as it is an aggregate of all the polls which themselves were wrong). But this does raise the following question... what is the point of tracking polls and why do we political junkies savor them so? I'd be curious to see a survey on the the historical accuracy of polling, as it seems to me that Republicans consistently outperform (or alternately Dems underperform) their polled-predicted performance. The reasons for this could range anywhere from Republicans "stealing the vote" or emocrats just not being as motivated as they say there are, or even a biased polling system.

    Heck, I'd even suggest that this obsession with tracking polls hurts the country, in the sense that it conditions the population toward and expected outcome, and when that outcome does not come (e.g. 2004) the losing side's rage is amplified and it forments conspiracy theories where there may be none. None of this helps us as a society. So I ask again - what does "success" mean in terms of polling?

    There is only one poll that matters - and it occurs at the ballot box.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sheldon ( 2322 )
      It's interesting, when unaffiliated groups monitor elections in countries which are just finally getting around to voting, they use opinion polls to track whether or not there is fraud going on in the election. That is if the polls say X is going to win 60/40, and he loses 49/51... that flags that something's wrong.

      That being said, polls have a margin of error and are pretty worthless when the results are close.
    • You can use polling data to allocate your limited resources strategically.

      Sometimes this works too well and the winner will have spent just enough effort and money to get fifty percent of the vote plus epsilon, which since epsilon is within the margin of error will create bitter fights over the results.
  • The Internet really shakes things up. Millions of people are beginning to have access to high quality contextual information. A site like electoral-vote.com provides voters with the relevant information they need to decide where their vote goes. Getting all meta here, through peoples actions the Internet self-organizes information as needed or from reference (message boards and wikis respectively).
  • If you live in a "safe" seat, your vote is probably irrelevant. There are relatively few seats which can flip back and forth.

    There is a better way of course but you're unlikely to see it in your lifetime.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )
      There is a better way of course but you're unlikely to see it in your lifetime.

      Well, there is some room for optimism... there's a movement afoot amongst various states to agree to allocate all their electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote tally. The agreement would be legally binding and go into effect as soon as enough states are parties to it represent 270 votes (i.e. enough to be the sole determiners of the election winner). The bill [nationalpopularvote.com] has been passed in California [latimes.com] and is awaiting t

    • As far as I know, no election has ever been won by one vote. So your vote does not count anything. If you want to actually make a difference, you had better participate in the campaign somehow. It's a good thing actually, don't feel like you are wasting your vote because you vote for the independent candidate with no chance to win.

  • Andrew S Tanenbaum (Score:5, Informative)

    by Psionicist ( 561330 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @03:08PM (#16072263)
    In case you don't know, the guy behind this website is Andy Tanenbaum, the Minix guy, the Linus Torvalds flameware guy, the Modern Operating System guy.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Tanenbaum [wikipedia.org]

    "In 2004 Tanenbaum created electoral-vote.com, a popular web site analyzing opinion polls for the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, using them to project the outcome in the Electoral College."
    • This guy [blogspot.com] had excellent and accurate analysis of the 2004 election. I hope he starts up again.

    • by TheoMurpse ( 729043 ) on Saturday September 09, 2006 @04:12PM (#16072439) Homepage
      From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
      Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
      Subject: What would you like to see most in electoral-vote.com?
      Summary: small poll for my new poll-tracking system
      Date: 7 Sep 06 20:57:08 GMT
      Organization: University of Helsinki

      Hello everybody out there using electoral-vote.com -

      I'm doing a (free) poll-tracking system (just a hobby, won't be big and
      professional like Gallop) for the US. This has been brewing since april,
      and is starting to get ready. I'd like any feedback on things people
      like/dislike in electoral-vote.com, as my website resembles it somewhat
      (same physical layout of the map (due to practical reasons) among other

      I've currently ported the poll-grepping code, and things seem to work.
      This implies that I'll get something practical within a few days, and
      I'd like to know what features most people would want. Any suggestions
      are welcome, but I won't promise I'll implement them :-)

                                    Linus (torvalds@kruuna.helsinki.fi)

      PS. Yes - it's free of any electoral-vote.com code, and it has a multi-
      threaded fs. It is NOT protable (uses Firefox XUL etc), and it probably
      never will support anything other than Firefox, as that's all I have :-(.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by beej ( 82035 )
        The fact that this is being moderated "Informative" is a little disconcerting.
  • With readership around three quarters of a million and influence on the opinions much stronger than any party affiliation, it is hard to argue that slashdot has no voice in deciding elections. Remember that it is ran by less than a dozen editors who decide on all the story and all of a sudden you realize that if they can manage to get people to vote they are likely to vote their way. Could this be a beginning of a Technocrats party?
  • I visited this site daily during the 2004 election, and was always impressed by the rigor it applied to the subject. But we shouldn't forget that while it was thorough, it was still wrong as wrong as the aggregate of all the polls it relied on. Doesn't mean it will be wrong this time, but don't assume it's right either.
  • by bloodstar ( 866306 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `rats_doolb'> on Saturday September 09, 2006 @04:10PM (#16072434) Journal
    you can use the mirror sites www.electoral-vote2.com and www.electoral-vote3.com. He had problems in 2004 with people coordinating dos attacks against the site.
  • Well, here I was posting [digg.com] this information to Digg a full three days ago, when I really should have just submitted the story to slashdot. Of course, it's lack of diggs could have been influenced by pisspoor description. This is not whining, by the way, I am just interested in the sociometric qualities of story-submission dynamics in the slashdot/digg age.
  • He has an interesting page at: http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2006/Info/senator -ratings.html [electoral-vote.com] discussing that there really aren't any senators in the middle anymore.

    From my analysis of his table "mean" column...
    What I found interesting from the table is that the 55 Republicans are more beholden to their side (on avg, 10.47 away from 100% on all issues) than the 44 Democrats are to their side (on avg, 13.56 away from 100% on all issues).

    Since that data is taken from all the same bills/amendments/etc,
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )
      What I found interesting from the table is that the 55 Republicans are more beholden to their side (on avg, 10.47 away from 100% on all issues) than the 44 Democrats are to their side (on avg, 13.56 away from 100% on all issues).

      Are they "beholden to their side", or just "strongly committed to their beliefs on the core issues"? I don't think it's possible to tell based on the cited data.

  • Remember, your vote counts.
    ...unless you live in a state with Diebold voting machines.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"