>> My fellow Americans, the U.S. Presidential race is in full swing and as usual has captured the attention of the news media. But, where can you go to dig deeper than the headlines? I'm Tom Merritt from CNET.com and I'll show you a few places to get started on today's Insider Secrets.
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>> Obviously, there are a million news resources, like, oh, I don't know, CBS News.com, where you can go to find news stories, but the web offers more specialized websites that can give you even more insight. Some give you predictions, so you can see who's ahead, others give you facts and figures, so you can check who's doing what, especially regarding money. And still others dig into the actual beliefs and histories of the candidates, so you can gain a little insights into how they think. Let's start with predictions. I just discovered fivethirtyeight.com. The number is spelled out in the URL and refers to the number of voting members in the U.S. Electoral College. That's the 18th century institution that actually elects the president of the U.S. The site is run by a couple of admitted Chicago Democrats who endeavor to provide an impartial look at the surveys being done across the country. By weighing the history of the poll along with some other statistical analysis, the pair provides projections on how each candidates is doing in the different states and how many electoral votes they seem to have at the moment. Another great prediction website is one you can take part in and to make money from. The Iowa Electronic Markets allow anyone to buy futures in an event, and in this case, that event is the election of the president. This is done for research purposes and there are a few different ways you can participate. That is an example one way is through vote shares. You buy shares in a candidate and are paid off based on the election results. The better your candidate does, the more money you make. The idea is that the candidate more likely to win will tend to maintain a higher market value. Experience has shown the predictive market to be pretty good at predicting results, so it's worth paying attention to, even if you don't actively participate. What about money given to candidates? On to facts and figures. OpenSecrets.org is dedicated to educating the public about campaign finance. You can read up on lobbyists, check to see how the fund raising is going for the candidates, and even look up who gave how much money to whom in your local zip code. Followthemoney.org is another resource for funding info. Of course all these research is more fun on a map. And Political Base provides a Google map where you can actually browse around the country and see which regions are supporting which candidates. But once you have the money, next come the lies. FactCheck.org keeps track of statements from campaign speeches and ads, and ascertains just how truthful they are. PolitiFact.com has an Attack File that pays attention to attacks on candidates and how true they are. But in the end, you need to figure out who to vote for, right? Time for some websites that help you figure out just how these candidates think. Project Vote Smart at votesmart.org attempts to arm voters with what they call a "Self-Defense Manual" that provides the facts about every candidate, including congressional candidates. The League of Women Voters provides similar candidate information, as well as more practical stuff like polling places and dates. All of which is available at vote411.org. Glassbooth.org is one of many websites that asks your opinions on the issues and then shows you how they compare to the candidates' views. Helps you figure out who to vote for. I know those are a lot of websites to slog through, but hey, nobody said democracy was easy, except my grandpa. He just voted straight ticket, but that was a long time ago. I think he was a Whig or maybe an anti-federalist or something. In any case, you can now be the most educated voter on your block. Use your vote wisely, but do vote. That's it for this Insider Secrets. I'm Tom Merritt and I approve this video.
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