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The tricky business of analyzing poll data




A voter places her ballot into a ballot box after voting for the midterm elections at Los Angeles County Lifeguard headquarters on November 2, 2010 in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
A voter places her ballot into a ballot box after voting for the midterm elections at Los Angeles County Lifeguard headquarters on November 2, 2010 in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Today, the Washington Post calls the presidential race a contest "as close as any in recent history." NPR reported this morning on some potential nightmare outcomes, including an electoral college tie. 

Looking around at all this with a little amusement is Princeton neuro-scientist Sam Wang.  His day job is studying the cerebellum, but his hobby is analyzing poll data.

Wang publishes the Princeton Election Consortium, a blog that's popular with "poll geeks" and is now getting a lot of attention from general political junkies. And he has a great track record.

In the 2008 election, his calculation missed the actual electoral vote count by...one electoral vote.  Sam Wang joins us from Princeton.