Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Yahoo Projects Obama To Win Reelection


Update 11/6/2012. 2:52 pm EST I checked to see if Yahoo is still displaying a projected winner and they are not. Search results for "2012 presidential polls" now look like those for any other search.

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Search "2012 presidential polls" on Google and you will get a standard-looking set of results, none of which provides any conclusive headlines.


But, if you run the same search query at Yahoo, the search engine projects a winner! On the eve of the election, the winner was projected to be Barack Obama.  I found about about this "enhancement" to the Yahoo search engine when it was announced yesterday on the Yahoo official search blog. They are quite proud of it. The political search function aggregates and averages most Presidential tracking polls and prominently displays a projected winner.


However, when you click on the result, you see that Yahoo's projection is arrived at by including electoral votes that "favor" or "lean" toward one of the candidates as votes they will win.


When you read the detail in each of the polls, you see that the race is within the margin of error and too close to call.

It's a cool aggregation graphic but displaying it prominently as a projection gives it an unwarranted appearance of weight and authority. Better that Yahoo simply direct you to the polls and let you distill them yourself. Obama may indeed win, but I think I'll tune in tonight and tomorrow and see what the more authoritative projections say, the ones based on exit polls.