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Frequently Asked Questions

What does 538 mean?

FiveThirtyEight, sometimes rendered as 538, is a website that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics, economics, and sports blogging. The website, which takes its name from the number of electors in the United States electoral college, was founded on March 7, 2008 as a polling aggregation website with a blog created by analyst Nate Silver.

What is the difference between 538 and Real Clear Politics?

For example, Real Clear Politics takes all polls averages to develop a score, whereas 538 uses weights on each poll based on demographics and much more. One can argue this is more accurate and 538’s early track record proved it was.

Why isn't the 538 polling database publicly available?

As for why the complete 538 polling database had not been released publicly, Silver responded: "The principal reason is because I don't know that I'm legally entitled to do so.

Does 538 lean to the left or right?

In general, 538 tends to stick to poll related news, but when discussing politics, they usually slightly favor the left through story selection and wording. A factual search reveals that FiveThirtyEight has never failed a fact check.

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