Posted November 2, 2004 Atlanta
Communications and Marketing
Contact David Terraso
Unlike most things at Tech, poll is unscientific
John Kerry is the winner of Georgia Tech's Web site poll on the presidential race. Close to 29,000 votes were cast for one of three presidential candidates, George W. Bush, John Kerry or Ralph Nader, in the informal poll, known as Buzzpoll, on Georgia Tech's homepage, www.gatech.edu. Kerry edged out the incumbent Bush at the last minute with 14,522 votes to Bush's 12,944. Nader garnered 1,481 votes.
"The poll is not scientific," said Jeff Smith, web developer at Georgia Tech. "It reflects people who have voted more than once."
Still, Buzzpoll, reflects the closeness of the presidential race, said Smith. That's because, in general, "for every Kerry voter who voted more than once, we had a Bush voter who voted more than once," he said.
The presidential Buzzpoll made its debut on Georgia Tech's homepage on Thursday, October 21 and gathered 28,947 votes before closing on November 1. The week-and-a-half-contest was hotly contested throughout.
"I've seen the lead change at least seven or eight times," said Smith. As the poll headed into its last day, Bush was up by close to 1,500 votes. By the end, Kerry had regained the lead.
Despite its informal tone, the poll was not without controversy. Smith received several emails concerning the absence of Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik. Badnarik is on the ballot in Georgia, while Nader, who was included in Buzzpoll, is not on the ballot.
"We considered candidates who we thought were going to have the strongest showing in the race," said Smith. "We included Nader because of his historical position as a spoiler in the presidential race. In hindsight, maybe we should have included the Libertarian candidate."
Buzzpoll is a new feature of Georgia Tech's newly redesigned homepage, which was launched August 25. The presidential poll was the ninth Buzzpoll and by far the most popular.
"It was a poll that got a dramatic spike in interest and brought in a lot of visitors to Georgia Tech's Web site just so they could weigh in on a poll," said Smith.
The latest poll was launched today and asks voters whether the Electoral College should be replaced by direct voting.