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About The Election Scorecard

With NPR's Election Scorecard, you can explore how some of the most influential political watchers are calling key House, Senate and governor races — in just one stop. Click through the tabs to find more information about each race, and follow NPR's predictions for how the balance of power will shake out.

Who's Making The Calls

NPR's picks are the work of political editor Ken Rudin. He writes the Political Junkie contributions to the It's All Politics blog and is a regular on the network's Talk of the Nation. Over the years, he's also worked for ABC News and The Hill. Ken's an avid collector of political buttons. He's the proud owner of more than 70,000.

Sabato's Crystal Ball is run by the University of Virginia's Center for Politics and headed by director Larry Sabato. In July 2008, Sabato projected that Barack Obama would win that fall's presidential election with a 364-174 Electoral College advantage. He nearly nailed it. The final tally: Obama, 365 Electoral College votes; Republican Sen. John McCain, 173.

The Cook Political Report takes its name from publisher Charlie Cook, also an analyst for the National Journal Group and NBC News. A frequent guest on the political chat shows, Cook has been called "one of the best political handicappers in the nation" by The New York Times.

The Rothenberg Political Report bills itself as "a non-partisan political newsletter." It's run by editor and publisher Stuart Rothenberg, who is also a contributing writer at Roll Call. He has been an on-air analyst for CBS News and CNN.

CQ has been "rating" key political races since the early 1950s. Over time, it developed categories — "safe," "favored," "leans" and "tossup" that other news outlets emulated. Its editors based their conclusions on such factors as district voting patterns, candidates' track records and the major parties' spending strategies. CQ teamed up with the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call last year.

Note about the ratings: All of the above race watchers have adopted their own terminology for making their calls (phrases like "Democrat favored" and "likely Republican," for example). To make this Election Scorecard an at-a-glance resource, however, we have condensed the ratings into "tossup," "leans" (which includes categories like "favored" and "likely") and "safe" (which includes "solid" and the like). If you'd like to see the nuances of any particular analyst's calls, please visit their individual websites.


Designer: Alyson Hurt/NPR

Developer: Chris Schetter/NPR

Editors: Mark Memmott and Erica Ryan/NPR


Brooke Shaffer is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, where she is majoring in German and journalism. She is focusing on strategic political communication and says her interest in politics was sparked by the "dirty, mud-slinging, worthy-of-a-reality-show" campaigns in her hometown of Shelby, N.C.

Nick Weidenmiller is a Roy H. Park fellow at the University of North Carolina, earning his master's degree in journalism/mass communication. He is a 2006 graduate of the University of Florida, where he covered the 2004 presidential campaign for the Independent Florida Alligator. The Naples, Fla., native hopes to cover politics and sports full-time when his master's program ends.

Michelle Cerulli is a Roy H. Park fellow at the University of North Carolina, focusing on narrative journalism as she works toward a master's degree in journalism/mass communication. A native of Boston, Cerulli graduated from Harvard College in 2008 and has reported for two health-related book projects and interned as a metro reporter for the StarNews in Wilmington, N.C. She is preparing to write a series of long-form stories on caregiving for Alzheimer's patients for her thesis.

Candidate photos and biographical information, past election data: The Associated Press

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