2 Sep 2008 4 pm eastern

Tracking Elections From the Ground Up

PollTrack is a new website that combines poll tracking data and written analysis to decipher “what voters are actually thinking and feeling” in the lead-up to the election. The site is not complete: sections are unfinished, artwork is rough, and usability problems involving labeling (“Today’s Map Today”) have yet to be sorted. But though the paint is not dry, the site’s potential fascinates.

The Presidential Race section includes a three-layered map showing current poll averages, projected averages in the coming weeks, and projected election day averages. It’s nail-biting stuff.

Commentary by Maurice Berger complements the visual data, explaining what the polls reveal or analyzing the way events in the news affect how the country says it intends to vote. Berger is a cultural historian, curator, art critic, and the author of numerous books, including White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness.

The site needs, and will no doubt acquire, polish. Copy is required to help the first-time user understand what the site is about and make better use of its features. The design feels more like a wireframe than a layout, and the stock photos on the home page are unneeded and poorly chosen. Intended to humanize, they merely cause the site to feel generic—and it is anything but.

But these are fixable problems, and almost beside the point. What matters is that PollTrack delivers insights and information on the most important election in years.

[tags]polling, election, vote, websites, webdesign[/tags]

Filed under: Election, links, Polls, Voting, Web Design, Websites

9 Responses to “Tracking Elections From the Ground Up”

  1. Breandán said on

    Though not as flashy, you’ll probably find that the site http://electoral-vote.com does just as good a job at presenting polls and commentary on the race. I look forward to seeing PollTrack continue its development, especially to track the Senate and House races on a granular level, but for the moment you can get all of that information from electoral-vote. (Full disclosure: I contribute polling data to electoral-vote, though it’s not my site.)

    Actually, electoral-vote is an interesting example of having all of the information available, years of daily commentary, thousands and thousands of polls, all sliced and diced for your polling pleasure … but without the graphics and IA that you’d expect to tie it all together. Any volunteers out there? It’s a non-profit site, run as a personal project.

  2. RayMcK said on

    That was both concise and illuminating. Thanks for sharing.

    Book marked

  3. owasow said on

    I discovered polltrack recently and have been a daily visitor ever since. If I want the simple numbers I can get them anywhere, what I find polltrack offers is non-partisan, insightful commentary and a context for the numbers. And it can only get better. Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride…..

  4. Steve Milledr said on

    Polltrack is actually a very sophisticated but easy to use and understand site. My problem with Electoral-Vote.com is that it lacks detailed analysis of any kind or real historical or demographic understanding. You can get raw numbers everywhere on the net, but not the smart stuff like Berger’s map and blog. Polltrack seems to compliments sites like Realclear because of its smart, sharp analysis and its ability to chart the race into the future. It’s a nail biter, indeed.

  5. Joanne Cassullo said on

    Polltrack really is a compliment to realclearpolitics.com. I find the numbers intiguing in realclear, but I really can’t figure out what they mean. The good thing about Polltrack is that it presents a clear and frequently updated analysis of what these numbers mean. I have to say, this is the first website that has told me exactly where we are in this election. I would VERY much reccommend it.

  6. Alan Gresley said on

    American history would seem to indicate that you vote for neither Republican or Democrat if you want real change.

  7. leon falk said on

    Given I am a political junkie in the electoral season of all seasons, I must say I’ve become addicted to polltrack.. while other polls I am familiar with need to be discounted to one extent or another due to bias, I find that polltrack is the first “call it as it is unfolding” website that I have found that I can rely on completely for unvarnished data and daily analysis. .. check it out

  8. Jeff Behrens said on

    Hey all,

    A few more sites you might find interesting:

    http://www.pollster.com – cool maps and great analysis
    http://www.electoral-vote.com – for the raw data
    http://www.perspctv.com – web buzz aggregator (interesting, but I would be VERY careful in interpreting this data)

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