Counting the Votes is a website devoted to the past — at least at first.

If you take a look around, you'll find detailed statistics for every presidential election since George Washington won the office in 1789. That's 57 races in all.

You'll also encounter the career records of all 289 qualified candidates who pursued the nation's highest office. ("Qualified," you should know, is not a judgment on the relative merits of these contenders. A qualified candidate, as defined by this site, is one who has reached certain statistical benchmarks.) 

And you'll see election-by-election breakdowns for all 51 states. (Yes, 51. The District of Columbia, don't forget, is considered a state when it comes to choosing a president.) 

Counting the Votes has all of the basic statistics you would expect — popular votes, electoral votes, percentages of votes cast. But it also features an array of entirely new stats — among them, campaign score (CS), potential index (PI), return on potential (ROP), personal state index (P-State), equalized popular votes (PV*EQ), and equalized electoral votes (PV*EQ).

You can find explanations of these original indicators in the Definition section of Counting the Votes, and we'll talk more about them as the site rolls forward. If you'd prefer an extensive discussion — replete with variables and exponents and subscripts — you'll get your wish when my book about these new statistics (unsurprisingly entitled Counting the Votes) is published by Praeger next year.

But that's getting several months ahead of the story.

The gradual expansion of this website is of more immediate interest. You can expect to see additional statistics unveiled in the coming months, along with a new section devoted to the 2016 election. We'll even search for the past candidates who most closely resemble the current contenders.

Hillary Clinton as the new Martin Van Buren? They have much more in common than you might expect.

AuthorScott Thomas