What's a Canadian Election Junkie to do? - The Intrepid

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's a Canadian Election Junkie to do?

To get their daily fix during the Presidential election season, American political junkies have an unending stream of professional sites to visit. By contrast, Canadian election prediction and polling sites look like they were designed in 1997 and updated just as frequently.

For instance, take a swing by Pollster.com and Election Prediction Project, respectively two of the most prominent American and Canadian prediction and polling sites. The contrasts in quality are immediately apparent. While Pollster.com sports a sleek design, Election Prediction Project looks like a train wreck. The site’s colors are off-putting and the design is cumbersome to navigate. Several of the title bars are also out of date. Apparently, it’s still 2007 or maybe 2006.

Pollster.com is updated daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Election Prediction Project has only been updated twice since the election began on September 7th and structure of the site makes it difficult to determine what has been changed after each update.

Where the Election Prediction Project shines, however, is in the details. The site, usually, correctly predicts riding outcomes at a rate of 80-90%. But, for a Canadian political junkie, this just isn’t enough.

Unfortunately, the problem goes beyond independent polling sites. American newspapers tend to have better polling statistics than Canadian newspapers. Even the way they convey this information is better than Canadian newspapers. The New York Times has a fantastic interactive electoral map that displays up-to-date polling information and analysis. Alternatively, the Globe and Mail’s “Poll of Polls” is non-interactive and often seems to contradict polling results in the Globe’s election coverage articles.

Perhaps there isn’t enough of a market in Canada for a political predication site like Pollster.com. Where ads and Polimetrix.com support Pollster.com, Election Prediction Project is still desperately looking for advertisers. Instead of complaining, I should probably just be happy, and thankful, that a group of University students banded together to produce an accurate Canadian election prediction site.