Casual Fridays: Who makes the best election predictions?

With the U.S. presidential election just a few days away, many of us are in a frenzy to get information about the polls and who might be the winner. And everyone has an opinion about who'll win. Today, you can test yourself against other CogDaily readers and see who's the best.

But we also want to know something else: Does a person's interest and involvement in the race affect their predictions? Will Obama supporters predict a wider margin of victory for their candidate?

And does being well-informed help? A relatively new phenomenon this year is poll aggregation websites, which collect the results from hundreds of polls to predict the election result. So, are the people who visit these sites better at predicting the results than others who don't? Does reading one site better prepare you to predict the results than another? With this week's study, we'll try to find out!

Click here to participate

This study is a little longer than normal, but it's still fairly short, with about 25 questions. You'll have until 5 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day to make your response (that's when exit pollsters are released from their quarantine, so it's likely that early leaks of actual election results will occur after that time). There is no limit on the number of responses. Don't forget to come back next week to see the results!

For the record, I thought I'd list today's predictions from the top poll aggregation sites. We'll use these as a baseline comparison for our results next week. I'll skip a few lines before giving the predictions -- don't look at them before you participate in the study!

FiveThirtyEight.com:
Obama, 346.5; McCain 191.5 [average]
Obama, 375; McCain 163 [most likely]
Obama, 52%, McCain 46.4%

Pollster.com:
Obama, 353.5; McCain 184.5
Obama, 49.8%, McCain 43.9%

RealClearPolitics.com:
Obama, 353; McCain 185
Obama, 49.9%, McCain 43.5%

Electoral-vote.com:
Obama, 365.5; McCain 172.5

NYTimes.com:
Obama, 330.5; McCain 207.5
Obama, 50%, McCain 40%

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I didn't see a selection for 'none' for several questions such as: 'what magazine do you read?'

I rarely read anything about politics. I prefer the live television. And blogs especially. I definitely don't read anything whatsoever from political blogs.

Now chess blogs on the other hand...

By Greg Padilla (not verified) on 03 Nov 2008 #permalink

I follow politics closely, but, as a Christian Anarchist, I don't generally vote except on referendums and amendments where justice issues are clear. Would be cool if I won :)