how do I play this game and use this website?
Watch this short video here to understand the game and this website.
who chose the elections and points?
We did! We picked some of the most competitive elections in the country and assigned points based off of how a number of political experts see the candidates’ odds of winning and losing. Candidates with fewer points are slight to moderate favorites. For example, a 4/6 point spread translates *roughly* to a 40%/60% race, where the favored candidate (40% chance of LOSING) is assigned 4 points and the underdog candidate (60% chance of LOSING) is assigned 6 points. A 7/3 spread translates *roughly* to a 70%/30% race, respectively. But, political forecasters (both quantitative and qualitative) disagree about these rough odds, which is why players get more points for correctly picking upsets. We also picked elections with interesting dynamics that make the selections more difficult than they first appear.
why did you make this site?
We made this site for our students but thought it would be fun to share. People want to learn when they are interested in a topic. We hope people will learn more about elections if it’s a little more fun.
who are you?
Eric Gonzalez Juenke is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. He made this game during the COVID pandemic because it made him happy. He had help and support from his incredibly patient wife Emily Katz (MSU). Matt Grossmann is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MSU and he was crucial to outreach and development. Eric also received invaluable feedback from the following colleagues, although all mistakes and errors are his own: Kjerstin Thorsen (MSU), Ezra Brooks (MSU), Danielle Barnes (MSU), Ryan Black (MSU), David Peterson (Iowa State), Nate Birkhead (Kansas State), Josh McCrain (MSU), Ana Bracic (MSU), Jennifer Wolak (Colorado), Robert Lupton (UConn), and Andrew Katz (Dawson College).
wait, are you studying us?
No, this is a teaching site. We are not collecting anything from you without your express consent (students will take a short survey to see if the game makes them more interested in politics). We are serious about getting people interested in elections. We are not making any money from this site or you.
politics is not a game.
That’s right. Politics is the most serious business. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. However, many people are not interested in, or do not have the time to follow, politics and elections. We do not think a little fun should prevent more civic education. FDR wrote, “Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.” We believe that when you love something, you will make time for it. We hope you love playing this political game.
are there prizes for the winning players?
No, but having a sense of accomplishment is a kind of prize. Will you beat our experts? Your friends? Your co-workers? Nothing is stopping you from making your own prizes!
can I use these scoresheets to make an office or friendly pool with others?
Heck yeah. Millions of people play march madness every year. That game forces you to choose 63 winners. This game only asks you to pick 21 winners. That’s only 1/3 of the choices. We encourage you to have fun.
who decides the winners?
We do. We will base our choices on the official declared winner within a state. For the presidential race we will go off of electoral college vote. If there are any weird legal discrepancies, we make the final call on this website.
i am a teacher or instructor and I want my students to participate in the official game. how do I do that?
See our instructor resources page.