Election Backpack

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Your one-stop-shop for all things election related that you need to make an informed decision. Links to polling sites, news sources, candidate profiles, and much more!

Election Day Prep

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Watch & Listen

 

YouTube

Every major network live streams the presidential debates on their YouTube Channel. If you’re not near a TV, tune in online. Every candidate also has their own YouTube Channel, so you can follow them along the whole way.

 

POTUS – XM Radio

If you’ve got XM / Sirius radio in your car, tune in to Channel 124 – POTUS (Politics of the United States). It has a great rundown of programs throughout the day that get into the nitty gritty of politics. It’s nonpartisan, objective, and they also live stream the debates if you’re on the road. (Note – requires XM/Sirius subscription)

 

Politico’s Nerdcast (Podcast)

If you’re really, really into politics, this is the podcast for you this election cycle. Typically 30-50min long, this podcast is hosted by some of Politico’s top reporters and editors and gets into the mechanics of this election cycle. We’re talking campaign leadership, campaign finance, media buys, poll break downs, historical context, and much more. It’s released every Thursday on wherever you get your podcasts. You can stream each episode on their website linked above in the title.


Presidential

 

News

Here is a list of news sites that you can peruse regularly to get a complete picture of election coverage.

Politico
NPR Politics
FOX News
The Hill
Arts Action Fund

Pro-Tip: Read everything you can, and don’t just read stories you agree with. Broaden your horizon.

 

Real Clear Politics

We’re big fans of RCP.  It’s all pure data – no news, no spin, not even a lot of commentary. You can get lost in this site, it’s great. They also have Senate, House, and Governor race polling data when available. Also a great site to watch results roll in on election day.

Pro-Tip: focus on poll averages, not specific polls, to get clearest picture. 

 

FiveThirtyEight Politics

Nate Silver has been scarily accurate in the past, although his 2012 predictions were a bit off. His predictions rose to fame after calling the 2008 election almost down to the vote count. He’s focused on sports predictions when it’s not an election season. What makes his data interesting is not only does it rely on polls, but also includes external factors that may impact election results.

 

Gallup

Viewed as the “gold standard” in political polling, Gallup is a single polling firm, not a mix of polls. But their scientific method and consistency in good polling structure are well respected. We list this one so that you get an idea of what a “good poll” is.

Pro-Tip: Those “quick hit” polls after debates are not scientific in nature and have a lot of flaws, so it’s always best to let the pros, like those at Gallup, get the real data a few days after the debate.

 

Sabato’s Crystal Ball

Larry Sabato’s team at the University of Virginia have an excellent model for their predictions. They back it up with links to specific polling data and give a great breakdown of what changed over the last few weeks in their predictions, and distill what some of the polling data means for each candidate.

 

Make Your Own: 270toWin

Try your hand at creating your own electoral map results with this tool. It also allows you to share your map or embed it in your own website.

 

Make Your Own: Washington Post’s “The Fix”

Try your hand at creating your own electoral map results with this tool. This one is different because it allows you to see the past few election results, current polling electoral math, and other criteria.


State Races

It’s important to note that no one really does minute by minute coverage of statehouse races across the state at this time. You’ll have to peruse each resource frequently to make sure you don’t miss anything.

State House Candidate Roster

State Senate Candidate Roster

News

Here are links to statewide news sources you may want to keep up with:

The State (Columbia)
The Greenville News
Post & Courier (Charleston)
Aiken Standard
The Herald (Rock Hill)

 

Real Clear Politics

Aside from the Presidential stuff, RCP also has Senate, House, and Governor race polling data when available. Also a great site to watch results roll in on election day.

Pro-Tip: focus on poll averages, not specific polls, to get clearest picture.

 

BallotPedia

A great resource for everyone to bookmark. They list every statehouse race and have profiles on every candidate including relevant news stories. Take it with a grain of salt though – content is computer generated based on what’s public online, so while the information on the candidate may be correct (pulled from campaign website), some of the news articles are not really relevant, they just have some of the same key words. Still, an excellent resource for statehouse races.

 

Buzz @ The State

The political blog from The State newspaper does a great job covering the statehouse and elections.

 

SCIWAY

A great resource for all things South Carolina. Their Elections section has links to voter registration info, candidate listings, and more.

 

SCVotes

The state’s online election commission website. If you have a question about an election, at any level, the answers are here.

Pro-Tip: As election results roll in, you can track them here. You can also download post-election data.

 

Local County Election Office Websites

Be sure to check out your local county election website for specific election data. Post-election data is also posted there before anywhere else, so you can dig into polling results as they roll in to the office.