Evanston-based website promotes political diversity

Nathan Shankar, Online Executive Editor

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If you’ve been following the election, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about RealClearPolitics.

The website, which has roots in Evanston, has become one of most visited sources for political news since its founding in 2000, attracting nearly six million unique visitors each month.

“We envisioned RealClearPolitics as a one-stop shop for people interested in politics, policy, and elections,” says co-founder Tom Bevan.

In addition to some original material, the website aggregates content from a wide variety of sources, running across the country, as well as across different political ideologies. On the site, one can find articles from progressive sources like The Huffington Post alongside articles from conservative-leaning networks such as Fox News.

“We work very hard to make sure viewpoints across the political spectrum are represented on the site,” Bevan says. “We don’t use any algorithms, we do it the old-fashioned way: reading and sifting through content we consider to be the absolute must-read stories of the day.”

But the site’s real claim to fame is its polling averages, which are perhaps the most influential and trusted on the internet. They are widely accepted as the gold standard, referenced and respected by Democrats and Republicans alike (they currently have Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton ahead by 5.5 points). Outlets from the New York Times to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight– which the website has a friendly rivalry with- can be found citing them come election season.

“I’m immensely proud of that, and and I think it has had a real impact on the way people view election polling,” says Bevan.

Indeed, they have been endorsed by prominent scientific commentators such as Neil Degrasse Tyson, who said them to be “an especially effective predictor of which candidate will win the election” in a 2008 opinion piece.

Just weeks before the presidential election, Bevan has one main piece of advice for students looking to get involved in the political process.

“I always urge high school students to be critical, independent thinkers when it comes to political news and information. Issues and arguments are never black and white, even though politicians and the media often like to portray them that way.”

The website can be visited at www.realclearpolitics.com.