Why is media obsessed with the presidential race?

Kurys asked this question on 8/5/2000:

Television and all the websites that I've found seem obsessed with the Presidential elections, although there are many important House and Senate elections. The national networks are hopeless, iwon has dated CBS polls, and even acts as if there is only a Presidential election coming up. Does anyone know of a website who reports all published polls of political races in a timely fashion?

JesseGordon gave this response on 8/5/2000:

On we intend to cover every Senate race. It's at So far we cover 34 senate candidates but we've sent questionnaires to 100 others. By September, we should have pretty good coverage of most of the Senate races.

On the "VoteMatch" quiz at, we will soon include a "SenateMatch" section, where the results of the Senate research above will be included in the analysis of your issue selections (which now just covers the presidential candidates). You can see the preliminary SenateMacth results for all of the incumbent senators on each of their pages from the Senate main page. It's in a section called "SenateMatch", for exampke,

The intention of and is to include all 100 senators after the election is over (i.e., to add coverage for the 66 senators who are not up for election this year). It will then be a resource for people looking for senator's views on the issues. That coverage should be complete around January.

I've had lengthy discussions with about how to cover the House races, and the result is that we simply can't do so in a cost-effective way because there are 435 races. However, if our Senate coverage is successful, we do intend to have an equivalent "HouseMatch" coverage for the 2002 elections.

The same applies to the gubernatorial elections -- it can't be done cost-efectively. There are fewer races, but the issues differ in each state, so we can't use a method like for the Senate, where we looked at 70 key Senate votes.

The reason for the "obsession" with the presidential race is that people are more interested in it. And with a national audience, the costs of coverage (which are very high) are offset by the potentially large viewership. That just doesn't happen with senate races -- they're money losers, which is the main reason there's no coverage. and are willing to endure the loss in order to build tools for the future.

As an example, even in a hot race like the NY Senate, Hillary & Rudy's pages at the peak of controversy never came close to generating enough viewership to cover costs, and in fact never even matched the viewership of minor presidential candidates like Alan Keyes.

There is one web site that covers every House, Senate, and Governor's race -- it's They work on a huge semi-volunteer system, and have large grants, so the immense research costs are reduced enough that they can cover everything. If you're willing to read through massively long surveys, they indeed have coverage, although it's not very "timely."

I think the real answer to your question is that the political internet is not a mature industry. I tried to start four years ago, and the Internet itself was insufficiently mature to even get it going. This is the first election cycle where the Internet works at all, so give us a few more years. By 2002, we should have pretty close to the coverage you're talking about.

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