We at TeamPurple rely on many sites to help provide insight into how the campaigns are unfolding and also try to avoid some others as being completely meaningless.
The first page we want to direct you to is FiveThirtyEight’s polling coverage of both national and early state polls. People often forget that the election is actually 50 individual elections that require one to get a total of 270 electoral votes. In the primaries, it’s 50 caucuses and elections that lead to a majority of delegates. FiveThirtyEight has an EXCELLENT page covering both the national polls and state polls separately and allow you to assess how your favored candidate is doing separately.
Other than FiveThirtyEight, there are several other polling and analysis sites we regularly monitor, and suggest everyone check, along with follow their collaborators on social media:
- The Cook Political Report, Including Charlie Cook, Amy Walters, Jennifer Duffy and Dave Wasserman
- Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Including Larry Sabato, Kyle Kondik, Alan Abramowitz,
- RealClearPolitics, particularly Sean Trende
In regard to news, a truly undervalued and underappreciated site is the Des Moines Register. On any given day, a constant flow of candidates wander around Iowa trying to appeal to voters. The Des Moines Register captures it all. They even maintain a schedule that tracks what candidate is where from now through election day. Check their site, follow them on Twitter, pay attention.
There are others, including state Secretary of State sites (some states are better than others), traditional news sites (although we like Washington Post and New York Times, there often is more national bias there as opposed to what is happening at the grass roots) and other popular sites for news (Vox.com, Politico.com, etc), often the best place to find out about particular candidates are their own campaign websites and news releases. That is why on each of their analysis pages, we include a link to their campaign sites.
As for what to avoid, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Far too often, commentators try and cover every minutiae of the horse race as if it is ultimately consequential of a candidate’s chances. Don’t listen to them. They’re the equivalent of tabloid fodder. That’s why any “Power Rankings” are stupid and inane (follow polling, its more reliable and less biased). CNN is particularly egregious in this regard. While their Town Halls and Debates are required viewing, and their regular coverage is fine (big fans of Jake Tapper), their online presence is click bait, and often their primetime lineup has too many commentators (seriously, do you really need 7 regular pundits at the same time on Anderson Cooper 360?), not enough news on their programming. Far worse, they often offer nothing of value; Chris Cilliza’s whole schtick is just covering politics in the same vein as the Red Carpet for a mediocre awards show; in can be funny and sarcastic but hardly substantive. And this is about who is going to run our country!
To be fair, they are far from the only ones. NBCNews has had FirstRead for some time now, which is a daily newsletter of events. Some days it can be an excellent synopsis of events, and others it can be a snarky, equivocating, headslapping mess that overthinks itself. Take the daily grind with a grain of salt. Many candidates have up and down days and just because someone wins a day or a news cycle means absolutely nothing during the summer and fall of 2019. What counts are the votes in 2020.