Picking winners in electoral contests is a popular sport in Germany,
as in many places elsewhere. During the 2002 campaign for the
Bundestag, pre-election polls tracked the horse race of party support
almost daily. Election junkies were invited to enter online sweepstakes.
They could also bet real money, albeit in limited quantity, on
the parties’ fortunes on WAHL$TREET, a mock stock market run
by Die Zeit and other media. As usual, election night witnessed the
race of the networks to project the winner the second the polls
where voters had cast their ballots closed. But in 2002, there was
also one newcomer in the business of electoral prophecy: a statistical
forecast based on insights from electoral research.