Why do Election 2012 swing states matter? 5 resources to explain.

Looking for better analysis on swing states? D.C. Decoder has compiled a list of excellent resources to help you understand the impact swing states really have.

3. 270 to Win

Tony Dejak/AP/File
This January file photo shows a woman voting at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland as early voting began in Ohio's March presidential primary.

270 to Win is a website that claims it will predict the outcome of the election.

The site's creators wanted to build something to help Americans better understand the Electoral College. In the end, they created a vast history of America's voting record, with data and maps dating all the way back to 1789.

Readers can also click through state by state to see the latest poll results compared to historical popular votes, displayed in a variety of charts. Dying for a graph on both the increase of Electoral College votes in California and the state's shift from Republican-leaning to solidly Democratic? This is the site to go to.

270 to Win also digs into the primaries and the Senate and House races.

The site's goal, to predict the election results, is an open invitation to voters. 270 to Win invites visitors to build their own map, picking which states they expect to be blue versus red. The first person to have correctly predicted the real outcome of the election will win a cash prize. Contest aside, the historical reach of the site is remarkable.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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