Data

All data are publicly available and free to use under the MIT license. We provide forecast data for the PollyVote and its components at the national and the state level. You may obtain the data through our API call generator, which allows you to specify your exact request via URL specification. Please do not scrape the data as it is updated multiple times per day but not necessarily regularly (i.e., hourly). Details and instructions can be found below.

Data description

Please read the page about combining forecasts first as it allows you to understand what kind of data we provide. Next, in order to retrieve the data, you need to specify various parameters, all of which are described here.

Time of data

The API allows you to obtain live data for the 2016 presidential election as well as historical data from past elections. However, historical data are only available for some components and not for all states. For an overview of availability, see the chart below. Live data is always limited: On the national level data up until a week ago is presented, on state level only data from today and the previous day is presented.

time = historical | current

That said, on the national level you can “travel back in time”. That is, you can specify the maximum age that you want data to be provided. In order to, for instance, retrieve not only the last week (i.e., 7 days) but the last three weeks (i.e., 21 days), specify a parameter displaydays and provide it with an appropriate number. Keep in mind, though, that this is limited to national-level data.

displaydays = 21

Data level

Starting with the 2016 presidential election, the PollyVote provides live data on both the national and state level. Historically, state-level data are only available for the 2012 election. This means that you can look at forecasts for the general presidential race but also at forecasts on the race in, say, Missouri. As not all states provide data for all components, forecast availability might vary.

level = national | state

Type of data

The PollyVote comprises several methods of gained knowledge from various sources of data. The forecast follows a two-step concept where similar methods are, first, aggregated into one component (e.g., all intention polls into one intention poll component). Second, all components are aggregated into the PollyVote forecast. You need to specify which data you want to receive at this point.

In addition to the PollyVote data, there is also some World Knowledge available, such as past elections’ outcomes, the candidates’ names, the number of electoral votes per state, the fact that a state is a swing state (for historical data, this is presumed post-hoc, for current/2016 data, this is based on Larry Sabato’s forecast on swing states).

type = pollyvote | polls | expectations | markets | experts | econ_models | index_models | world_knowledge

Data format

You can download the data as CSV or JSON, where the latter includes the request as object properties (i.e., timelevel, and type) along the timestamp of the last update (in UNIX and ISO-8601 format) and a data property containing an array which depicts the data itself (which is exactly the same as the CSV depicts). For JSONP/JSON-P, proceed as you would do for JSON but include a callback parameter with the JavaScript function to call.

format = csv | json

API call generator

Select what you need and use the URL generated below. Basically, the URL consists of up to four _GET parameters ( timelevel, type, and format) and returns the data on-the-fly. No key/authentication is necessary. Current data is updated irregularly but daily at least.

Data output

Depending on your chosen format (CSV or JSON), you’ll either get a table or an object containing a data array at position “data”. Both data collections, however, include the variables described below.

If you need JSONP/JSON-P, include a callback parameter to the JSON call (e.g., ?format=json&callback=myFunction).

Note that all variables within the datasets (i.e., the CSV and JSON files) are without any underscores. However, as this makes it harder to read, we split them for explanatory reasons in the following table.

Variable Description
PK_year_day_state_fc Primary key (year, day, state, forecast)
PK_year_day Primary key (year, day)
PK_year_day_state Primary key (year, day, state)
FC_component Component the forecast belongs to: intentions, expectations, prediction_markets, index models, econometric_models, comb_experts, comb_econometric_models, comb_index_models, comb_prediction_markets, comb_expectations, comb_intentions, PollyVote
Election_year Year in which the election was held
Days_to_election Number of days remaining to election day
FC_date Date the forecast was published
State Target area of the forecast, either national or state (indicated through two-digit abbreviation)
Forecast Identifier for the forecast/source
n_fc_vs Number of component forecasts in the combination
n_fc_win_prob
n_fc_win_freq
fc_ev_rep
fc_ev_dem
fc_winner current winner according to forecast (R or D)
fc_winner_vs current winner according to two-party vote share (R or D)
fc_winner_win_prob
fc_winner_win_freq
fc_winner_pollyvote_freq
fc_rep_vs two-party vote-share of the republican party
fc_dem_vs two-party vote-share of the democratic party
fc_rep_win_prob
fc_dem_win_prob
fc_rep_win_freq
fc_dem_win_freq
fc_rep_win_pollyvote_freq
fc_dem_win_pollyvote_freq
FC_error Forecast error (Forecast – Actual)
Absolute_FC_error Absolute forecast error
FC_update 1 if new or updated forecast available; otherwise 0
Last_survey_day Provides the first day a survey went into the field
First_survey_day Provides the last day a survey was in the field
Inc_2party Calculation of two-party incumbent vote
Resp_rep Survey result for Republican candidate
Resp_dem Survey result for Democratic candidate
Resp_oth Survey result for other candidates
Resp_undecided Survey result for respondents that indicate not to have decided yet
Released Day the survey results were published
Sample Sample size of survey
moe margin of error
Question_txt Exact wording of the question in the survey
Sample_desc Information about the sample of respondents, where RV means “registered voters” and LV stands for “likely voters”.
Int_method Interview method
Survey_org Survey organization
Survey_sponsor Survey Sponsor
Source_document_link Link to the source document
matchup For single forecasts which rely on direct candidate comparison (e.g., intention polls throughout the primaries), this column indicates for which candidates the values are representative for.

Here is the same for the world knowledge results.

Variable Description
PK_year_state Primary key (year, state)
election_year Year of election
state state (or National)
election_date exact date of election
inc_party party of the incumbant (D or R)
inc_person name of the incumbant
inc_person_short short name (nick name) of the incumbant
inc_image link to an image of the incumbant which is free to use
inc_image_credit credits to state under/near the image
inc_gender incumbant candidate’s gender (m or f)
dem_person name of the Democratic candidate
dem_person_short short name (nick name) of the Democratic candidate
dem_image link to an image of the Democrat which is free to use
dem_image_credit credits to state under/near the image
dem_gender Democrat candidate’s gender (m or f)
rep_person name of the Republican candidate
rep_person_short short name (nick name) of the Republican candidate
rep_image link to an image of the Republican which is free to use
rep_image_credit credits to state under/near the image
rep_gender Republican candidate’s gender (m or f)
win_party D or R, representing the winning party
dem_pop popular vote of the Democrats
rep_pop popular vote of the Republicans
dem_elecoral electoral votes of the Democrats
rep_elecoral electoral votes of the Republicans
dem_vs two-party vote-share of the Democrats
rep_vs two-party vote-share of the Republicans
swing_state 1 if given state is a swing state (for historical data, this is presumed post-hoc, for current/2016 data, this is based on Larry Sabato’s forecast on swing states)
electoral_votes total number of electoral votes for the given state in this year

Data availability

As the PollyVote is based on other forecasts, data availability is largely dependent on other data sources. Hence, not all combinations of data types, geographical, and time dimensions are available. The following table shows a list of currently available combinations.

Type of Data Time of Data National Level State Level
PollyVote forecast historical yes yes
2016
PollyVote electoral votes historical yes
2016
Combined Components
quantitative econometric models historical yes yes
2016 yes
quantitative index models historical yes
2016 yes
expectation polls (citizen forecasts) historical yes yes
2016 yes
intention polls historical yes yes
2016 yes
experts historical yes
2016 yes
prediction markets historical yes yes
2016 yes
Single Sources
quantitative econometric models historical yes yes
2016 yes
quantitative index models historical yes
2016 yes
expectation polls historical yes yes
2016 yes
intention polls historical yes yes
2016 yes
experts historical
2016
prediction markets historical yes
2016 yes
World Knowledge
world knowledge historical yes yes
2016 yes yes

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2015-2016 LMU Munich (Dr. Andreas Graefe, Mario Haim)

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.