All contents of this website © Thom Jones, 2016.

Election Class Content


There are several links to websites that I will ask students to visit throughout the course.  I’ll provide a brief introduction for each.   You can click on anything underlined below and go straight to the specific sites from here.

I had mentioned Nate Silver, the statistician who is eerily accurate in most of his predictions last Friday.  His website is  It is currently owned by ESPN, so it is not quite as independent as it was during the last election, but it is worth checking out.

The above site has a neat interactive page which allows visitors to alter voter groups’ voting behavior to see how that would flip states to the opposite party. To go to that page, click HERE.

One of my favorite interactive sites is  This site allows you to use a map of the U.S. And flip states between blue (Democrat), red (Republican), and gray (undecided).  As you do this, you will see how the electoral vote total changes.  As we get closer to the general election, you will be able to see how certain states will be crucial to the election’s outcome.  You can also look at the results of all past presidential elections, but it is a bit tricky.  You have to click Historical Interactives in the yellow box in the upper left of the main page.  Then, you will see June 2, 2015 and under that a red “here.”  Click that to get to the drop down menu of the old elections, or to go directly to it from this page, click HERE.  You can then select any year, all the way back to 1789.  One of the neat things is that under each election, you can see details about the election and which issues were important then.

When it comes to election nights, I watch the returns come in, even if it’s a state that is not in doubt.  I usually start at because I like the way they have it set up.  You can click on the state that’s voting, and then pick D or R.  From there, you can go to a map of the state broken into counties and see the % of votes in and the totals.  This gives an interesting view into who is voting for which candidates.  I like to look at how rural vs. urban votes are affecting each candidate.  I also look at counties with cities that have large universities, such as Dane County in Wisconsin, and Washtenaw County in Michigan.  Here in NY, we have such a unique situation with a massive urban metropolitan area and then the rest of the state.  But, I’ll be looking at votes from places like Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and Buffalo to get some insights for later.

Every news outlet has coverage of the election returns, and I’ll add specific links later on.

One of our in person parents (thanks, Kim) has sent me links to Times Union pages with information about upcoming local appearances of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and John Kasich.  The latest update has one page that discusses all of their appearances.  Just click HERE.

The five remaining major party candidates’ websites are listed alphabetically below:

Bernie Sanders:

Donald Trump:

Hillary Clinton:

John Kasich:

Ted Cruz:  One interesting thing is that someone bought the domain name before the campaigns started and uses it to support immigration reform and oppose Ted Cruz.  This sort of thing has happened many times in the past, but has to be frustrating for campaigns whenever it does.

4-18-16:  For those of you who are interested in Bernie Sanders, there is an interesting article on Slate about the novelty (or lack thereof) of his campaign. movement.html

4-20-16:  The New York primaries are behind us.  Clinton and Trump won big in our state.  How do we analyze the general election fight in this state when two candidates won so convincingly?  I am doing an analysis that will go up in the downloads section below.

5-1-16:  I’m adding a new link to the sites I’d like you to visit.  It’s  That site is a compilation of articles and polls from other sources.  Some people think there is a bias (slight?) toward one party.  After reviewing the site, what do you think?  Also, I will say that I like that they have lists of lots of polls, but they don’t seem to discuss why some polls aren’t as reliable as others (i.e. Rasmussen isn’t that reliable).

8-26-26: We are getting ready to start the fall semester, so we will begin meeting regularly again.  A few things to keep in mind.  538 has an election predictor that assigns a percentage possibility to win to each candidate based on polls.  They also have a map which shows a % for each candidate in each state.  Take a look at these, as well as the last week or so of polls on realclearpolitics.

I have created a chat room for this class.  It will be used by the in person and online students.  I will post rolling information during primary returns, and we can use it to share ideas about things we will discuss.  The url is  The password is: election.

Also note that I am working on a website dedicated entirely to this class, but that may be a month or so out.

In this section, I will list downloadable readings or documents for class.

Reading 1

Political Ads

Reading 2

New York Primary evaluation

Election Issues Reading and Project

I would like everyone to read an opinion piece from Foreign Policy about Americans’ attitudes of our actions in war.  This is tied to American Exceptionalism, which I will be explaining, and which is an underlying theme in much of what we hear candidates say about our foreign policy.  Article Link

Optional topics:  As I said, I’m pretty much an election geek.  I see a lot of ways that this election (or any presidential election) can be used in other areas of study for homeschoolers.  I will be posting some things in this section in the next week with ideas how families could incorporate details of this election into their schooling.  Examples include:

Hiroshima speech reading.  This reading deal with President Obama’s recent speech in Hiroshima, and the political impact it may have in this election.