Today is Opening Day for presidential politics in the US. For those of us living here, all of the hoopla leading up to today has been pre-season fervor but today the season begins for real. You may be a big fan of politics or wish it were over before it started, but either way the next ten months will be filled with news coverage of the presidential campaigns. All of this will come to a head on the big day: November 6, 2012, when the United States of America elects a president for the next four years.
Whether you can’t get enough of political news or have had enough already, this election, unlike a sports season, will have a direct impact on your life for the next four years (if you live in the United States, that is). To help you follow the ins and outs of election season, this tech guide provides plenty of resources for information about presidential politics, polls, predictions and punditry.
Google Politics and Elections
Google Politics and Elections was a feature-filled website for all of your political news needs. The page was split into three sections with a list of candidates, trends, and issues in the left column. The center of the page gave you the latest political articles so you can read about breaking news as it happens. This website is no longer available.
The right column lists other resources available to you, including a YouTube page, a 2012 political calendar, and a ToolKit, handy if you’re a political journalist, media consultant, campaign manager or a presidential candidate.
Google+ Politics & Elections
If you’ve been waiting for a compelling reason to join Google+, you may now have it with Google+ Politics & Elections. Form a Presidential Politics Circle and add this page first. You can follow news from the political arena, join Hangouts with candidates and the press, watch YouTube videos from campaigns, preview new television commercials, and read comments about the candidates.
You may also want to add the candidates to your new Presidential Politics Circle on Google+. Here are the links to the declared candidates with pages on Google+:
270toWin is a website filled with graphics to give you the big picture of how the campaigns are faring. The site has lots of interactive features, including a political map of the US, with the number of delegates for each state. The site opens with the map filled in with blue and red states, according to the voting in the 2008 presidential election. You can reset the map and make predictions about the outcome of the coming election as the primaries commence.
You can view historical data about previous presidential elections and see how states have voted over the years. Also see how the results of the 2010 Census have affected the number of delegates for each state.
Last month, 270toWin launched an iPad app that has interactive maps, including voting history for each state, maps with your predictions, and much more information for you to explore.
One of my favorite features of the app is the Same Since section, showing the states that have voted with the same party since a certain election year. I won’t spoil your fun, but you may be quite surprised to see how far back you have to go to find an election year in which every state voted for a different political party than in the 2008 presidential election.
The app is available for the iPad in the iTunes App Store for $4.99.
Election 2012 is an app from the New York Times packed with presidential election coverage. The app is split into four sections with news (including news from sources other than the New York Times), Opinion, Election Guide and Multimedia. The Election Guide provides information such as a primary calendar, polls, candidate information pages, statistics for each state, and dates for upcoming Republican debates (yes, there are more to come). Multimedia includes video and slide shows of political events.
The app is free for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store, but to access all of the features, you must be a New York Times print or digital subscriber.
Show of Hands
Show of Hands isn’t purely for presidential politics, instead the app takes daily polls of US residents about a variety of issues. But the app has frequent political polls asking for users’ preferences among the candidates. The app also surveys users about key political issues that influence the campaigns.
Although the polls are unscientific, the results are broken down into various categories so you can see the outcomes by state, income, gender, party affiliation, age and income.
Make sure to check out the Showdowns, Politicians and Blog sections for more election coverage.
My full review of Show of Hands is here: Show of Hands: A Poll Lot of Fun!
Show of Hands is available free for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch in the iTunes App Store.
Are you following election news closely? Do you enjoy analyzing election news? Let us know in the Comments section below!
*Flag image by Luigi Anzivino