With political candidates in today’s 24-hour news cycle, it’s less “what have you done for me?” and more “what have you done for me lately?” Who cares which political candidate is best for the country when you could know which political candidate had the best day yesterday? This useful trend has led obsessing over minor daily updates to the FiveThirtyEight election forecast to become a time-honored tradition. Come election season, the site would become a mecca for people looking for a daily dose of anger or schadenfreude. Turns out driving people insane is pretty lucrative . Who knew?
The design for this year’s FiveThirtyEight forecast interface, however, takes pains to communicate the forecast’s built-in uncertainty, to the point where it’s no longer a useful tool for inducing arbitrary stress. The new forecast eliminates one significant figure from the user interface, and no longer features a map of all 50 states’ predicted voting patterns. For years, FiveThirtyEight was the industry standard in making people’s head spin about whether Hillary was leading 73%-27% or just 72%-28%. And they gave it all up in the name of “intellectual honesty.” Suckers.
All that anger-fueled web traffic had to go somewhere. So we built this tool to feed our collective obsession with politics as a horse race. This page will display hyper-recent changes in topline probabilities in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, now free of all that pesky context. And with the rhetoric in the 2020 race flying at an apocalyptically frenzied pace, this site is guaranteed to be more agonizing than ever.