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Center for Politics, Ipsos Public Affairs release new midterm election forecasting tools

(WASHINGTON, DC) — The University of Virginia Center for Politics and Ipsos today launched the UVA Center for Politics-Ipsos Political Atlas. The new site combines Sabato’s Crystal Ball race ratings for every House, Senate, and gubernatorial race; Ipsos’ poll-based modeling; and Ipsos’ tracking of social media trends.

Ipsos and the Center for Politics unveiled the Political Atlas,, at an event at the National Press Club on Tuesday morning.

The idea behind the Political Atlas is that election projection is done best by offering readers several different sources of information, which the Atlas provides through the Crystal Ball’s qualitative race rating assessments and the Ipsos’ poll-based model and social media tracking. The three methods provide separate race ratings (Toss-up, as well as Leans, Likely, and Safe Democratic or Republican) to assess the likelihood of either side winning a given race.

“The best practice in forecasting understands that no single approach leads to knowing the future. The most robust predictions use multiple, independent indicators and looks for common conclusions or divergent directions,” said Clifford Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs.

The Political Atlas will include:

  • Daily updates of the main issues affecting citizens in all 50 states.
  • Polling and social media indicators for every congressional, senate, and gubernatorial race where available, as well as expert assessments.

“After the 2016 election, we strove to try to find new data sources and perspectives in political forecasting and to present these to Crystal Ball readers and the general public. Our partnership with Ipsos combines into one place, the Political Atlas, several different methods for looking at the possible outcome of the coming election.” said Larry J. Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and editor-in-chief of Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

The Political Atlas will be frequently updated throughout the campaign season. Crystal Ball race ratings are adjusted on an ad hoc but frequent basis; the poll-based Ipsos model will be updated weekly; and the social media data will be updated daily.

The polling that undergirds the Ipsos model will be supplemented throughout the fall by 20 separate state-level polls that it will conduct in conjunction with Reuters and the Center for Politics. The first state-level polls will be released next month.

The Political Atlas represents the latest collaboration between the University of Virginia Center for Politics and Ipsos, an international, independent marketing research firm, over the last year and a half. The Center for Politics and Ipsos released two polls on Americans’ attitudes toward recent presidents, and the Center and Ipsos, along with Reuters, released a poll last month on Americans’ racial attitudes at the time of the one-year anniversary of a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, as well as a poll on racial attitudes conducted in the aftermath of that march.