Make Your Own Electoral College Pool

A campaign blog.
Oct. 28 2008 5:09 PM

Make Your Own Electoral College Pool

Politics is a horse race whether you like it or not , so you might as well gamble on it with your friends. Here are the rules the Slate staff is using for our (no stakes) Electoral College pool.

Contestants choose a winner for every state. Points are awarded based on how certain the state looks to go to one candidate or the other, rewarding correct picks that go against the current political winds, like so:

  • 3 points for correctly guessing a tossup state
  • 2 points for correctly guessing a leaning state in the direction it's leaning
  • 6 points for correctly guessing a leaning state against the direction it's leaning
  • 1 point for correctly guessing a safe state in the direction it's leaning
  • 10 points for correctly guessing a safe state against the direction it's leaning

The status of each state is determined by our " Election Scorecard " feature, which uses data from . As a tiebreaker, players guess the percentage of the popular vote for both McCain and Obama.

If you want to organize your own pool by these rules, here's a form ( Google spreadsheet or Excel file ) that lists the tilt for each state and calculates the electoral score for each set of picks. We'll post another spread after the election that calculates the score for each set of predictions.

A note on strategy: Some have wondered whether it would make sense to gamble the other way on all the safe states, given that an upset in one of them is worth 10 times as much as guessing according to the polls. This strategy would pay off only if more than 10 percent of the safe states flipped between now and the election, a sufficiently low probability to make it a risky move.

Got any good stories from your office Electoral College pool? Send them along . (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the sender specifies otherwise.)

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

Even if You Don’t Like Batman, You Might Like Gotham

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059


Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Nobody Knows How Many Gay Married Couples Live in America—Not Even the Census Bureau

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Dear Prudence
Sept. 22 2014 3:33 PM Killing With Kindness My in-laws want to throw me a get-well-from-cancer bash. There’s no way I can go.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 7:46 PM Azealia Banks’ New Single Is Her Best in Years
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 11:23 AM Two Impacts, One Landslide … on Mercury
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.