Venn_2 Remember the good old days, way back in 2000, when NBC’s Tim Russert showed how important “Florida! Florida! Florida!” was by scribbling on a whiteboard with a marker pen? That whiteboard is now sitting in a museum – the Smithsonian, in fact – and computer wizards are serving up a whole new set of tools for visualizing politics. Visualizations can cut through the myriad opinion polls to show you where Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Democratic rival Barack Obama stand int the only polls that matters – and which states could be as important this year as Florida was in 2000.

For online users who aren’t content with one source for their political prognostication, “The Takeaway” radio show offers an electoral-vote tracker that combines predictions from 15 media organizations, ranging from Fox News to the FiveThirtyEight blog. The squares for each state are proportional to the vote count, and the placement of states in the toss-up section could lead you to conclude this is the year of “Virginia! Colorado! Florida!”

More here.