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FiveThirtyEight Sets Traffic Records on Election Day & Night


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Throughout the day on Tuesday, November 8, users turned to FiveThirtyEight for real-time analysis and updates of the 2016 Presidential Election, especially as the polls closed throughout the evening.  More than 16.5 million unique users – an all-time record – visited the site, spending more than 209 million minutes with the content.  Additionally:

  • The site reached a peak hourly visitor count of 3.6 million visitors from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET and a peak average minute audience of 685,000 from 10-11 p.m.
  • Between 6 p.m. – 2 a.m., the average hourly visitors to FiveThirtyEight were +1,112 percent higher than the average of the previous four weeks.
  • 7 million users engaged with the FiveThirtyEight Liveblog, specifically, for 154.7 million minutes.
  • At several points in the evening, the site had more than one million concurrent users.

In the most uncertain U.S. election in modern history, FiveThirtyEight’s model put the probability of a Donald Trump win at 28.4 percent leading into the election – the most conservative of all available models, which were much more confident about Hillary Clinton’s chances.

As FiveThirtyEight noted throughout the lead-in to the election, no poll is perfect. Therefore, the site’s model was built to account for risk and uncertainty. FiveThirtyEight also noted that several factors made uncertainty this year higher than normal, including:

  • More undecided and third party voters;
  • A broader map with more states in play;
  • The fact that polling errors in states are correlated (Clinton underperformed in Michigan and Pennsylvania and Minnesota, for example).

FiveThirtyEight covered these uncertainties in several posts, including:

FiveThirtyEight, which launched as an ESPN entity in 2014, is a data journalism organization delivering compelling stories across the verticals of politics, economy, science, life and sports. The site was founded by award-winning author and statistician Nate Silver. Since its debut at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight has built a team with a broad set of skills and experiences in order to apply statistical analysis, data visualization, and data-literate reporting to topics in the news and in everyday life.