On this historic Election Day, TV network pundits and pollsters are supposed to refrain from calling a state for either presidential candidate until that state’s polls have closed.
Yet raw data abounds during any presidential election and, given the momentousness of this one – between Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois – constituents have the option of hundreds of cable, network and Web options.
) today is adding its own tool to that list.
Shown above, the Google map – viewable from the site’s “News” tab – is based on information from The Associated Press and will paint a red and blue United States as this night wears on and the two major candidates each make for the magical 270.
That’s how many electoral college votes McCain and Obama each need in order to start working in the White House next year.
Though most polls have shown Obama in an overall lead as well as leading in five of eight so-called “key battleground” states, races in important areas such as Ohio and Florida are far too close to call.
In this age of multiple cable networks producing political shows that parse the election season into thousands of pieces, polls themselves have emerged as more than a tool – polling methods, sponsors, and results have come under a microscope.
After each presidential debate this year, and after major announcements that affect the campaigns – such as an endorsement, TV interview, revelation or gaffe – networks have conducted their own “mini-polls” to try and suss voting trends.
Technology has helped hasten the spread of polls.
As TMCnet reported
, Seattle-based Chimp Software and online magazine Slate, users of Apple’s (News
) popular iPhone and iPod Touch devices have had instant access to data about where the nation is leaning in the race for the White House.
Slate last month introduced “Poll Tracker ‘08,” which uses data from Pollster.com to deliver the latest polling numbers from each state, with graphs depicting historical polling trends and charts about previous elections’ voting patterns, according to the companies.
Today, with the ultimate poll underway – the election itself – the hundreds of polls that have been making headlines since late-summer will come to an end. The Google map – now empty and showing McCain and Obama in a dead heat at zero electoral college points apiece – should start filling up as the first East Coast polls close this evening.
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan