Election 2012: Your Tech Guide

by on January 3, 2012 · 24 comments

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 is a feature-filled website for all of your political news needs. The page is split into three sections with a list of candidates, trends, and issues in the left column.  The center of the page gives you the latest political articles so you can read about breaking news as it happens.

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+:

Mitt Romney
Newt Gingrich
Ron Paul
Rick Perry

Barack Obama

Gary Johnson

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

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

Comments on this entry are closed.

CarolB January 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Thanks for the inside track on these latest apps for the 2012 election. It can be a bit daunting following TV politics. Now I have an app for that too!
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Hi Carol, You’re right, there are a lot of apps to help you follow along with the election. I really like Google’s website as well. It’s interesting how you can monitor the election without even watching the news on TV!
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January 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Now that’s interesting and I know a few people I’m forwarding this post to.

Me personally, I wish it were over already and once again, my Mom will keep me up on what’s going on. Oh sure, I’ll hear about who said what and who is promising what and then toward the end I’ll measure them all up before I head to the polls.

Thanks for sharing this though Carolyn. Let the games begin! :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Hi Adrienne, I’m thinking people in Iowa must be very tired of this by now. But at least they get the process over with early in the political season. Just wait until they come to your state, Adrienne! You’ll be truly weary of the process.

Thanks for sharing this post, Adrienne! :-)
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David January 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm


I encourage you to check out Americans Elect. It’s an organization that is using the Internet to transform the presidential nominating process in order to give more power to citizens and encourage centrism.

Here is their website: http://www.americanselect.org/about

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Hi David, Very interesting site, thank you for sharing the link!

Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog January 3, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Once again, as a Canadian, I have to live vicariously through my neighbours to the South. I must say, your elections are FAR more interesting and exciting than ours, and with these resources…perhaps even more so! Thanks Carolyn!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Hi Ruth, During the 2008 election, I was living in England and I was surprised at how closely Brits followed the US election process. In 2010, when the new Prime Minister of the UK was elected and I was still living in England, I was amazed at how minimalistic the election process was.

The US is over the top with all of the events leading up to the election over almost a two year period. But we are providing entertainment for the rest of the world! :-)
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Bill Dorman January 3, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I know how important this election is, but I am not impressed with the choices. Hopefully this app can help make a more educated pick.

Can’t we all just get along?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Hi Bill, These apps and websites can definitely help you learn more about the candidates, though they can’t provide you with a more desirable choice.

I agree with you. I believe all candidates deserve respect. It’s a tortuous job running for President and anyone willing to try to serve our country deserves respect. You may be opposed to a candidate on every single policy issue but still be grateful that someone is willing to take the job. It’s a tough slog.
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KathyF January 4, 2012 at 5:31 am

Thanks, Carolyn. As much of a political junkie as I am, I had no idea these apps and tools existed. But I’ll be following for sure from here in the UK, especially now that things seem to have narrowed down.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Hi Kathy, I’m so glad you enjoyed this article. I know from living in the UK during the US presidential election in 2008, it can be challenging to keep up with the news from the States. I hope these sites and apps can help you keep on top of all of the events here.
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January 4, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Election time- This is my third Presidential election cycle as a blogger. It is kind of interesting to see how tech has evolved with it but sad to say that the process is uglier than ever before.

I am praying that people will actually educate themselves on the issues so that they can comment intelligently instead of talking about how they think it should be.

Sorry for the mini rant.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 6, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hello Jack, No need to apologize. You’re right, an educated voter is the best hope for a democracy. I hope that these tech tools will help others learn more about the candidates and the election process.
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Cindy January 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Really nice suggestion, I’ve just installed the Election app, I find it really easy to use and very practical. Thanks for the idea;)

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Hi Cindy, I hope you enjoy the Election app! It’s a great way to keep track of the developments with the campaigns.
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Janet Callaway
January 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Carolyn, aloha. Thanks so much for this info which will be of interest to several of my friends. Personally, other than educating myself I attempt to avoid it as much as possible.

What I do wish is that people would look at the incumbents’ records, past promises and future promises and make some more intelligent decisions.

The role of social media in the elections is huge and any politician who avoids it does so at his/her own peril. Oops. I’d better better stop there because I was about to say something better left unsaid. Until later, aloha. Janet

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 6, 2012 at 11:14 am

Hi Janet, Yes, politics is an especially ugly business, but it affects our lives significantly. Tools such as these websites and apps help us to sort through the ugliness to give us the information we need in order to make an informed decision.

Mahalo for stopping by and leaving your wonderful comment, Janet! :-)
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Jens P. Berget
January 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Hi Carolyn,

I am following the US election on the news, but I’m not keeping track of everything just yet. I’m going to wait a while, even though I’m a political scientist :)

But, your tech guide is awesome, and I wish I had something like this for the Norwegian election… hopefully we’ll have it by 2013.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hi Jens, I don’t think anyone can keep track of it all at this point. But as the field narrows, it should be easier to follow along with the news.

I’m glad you liked the tech guide. Perhaps this inspires a Norwegian to create a tech guide for 2013?
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January 7, 2012 at 2:31 pm

The US elections i not only a big thing for the country but for the rest of the world. And thanks to you for keeping us technologically informed! :)

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

Hi Hajra, you’re right, there are plenty of people outside the US who are interested in following the US elections but may not have access to the media sources we have here in this country. These tech tools can be accessed wherever you may be! :-)
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Jamella Biegel January 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Count me as one of those who wishes the election were over already. The campaign in 2008 was exhausting and I am not ready to go through one again! But since the season is upon us. I better get ready. The websites you shared look interesting, especially the Google+ Politics & Elections. I will definitely check them out.

Thanks for the info. By the way, I’m viewing your site in red today!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr January 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Hi Jamella, you’re right, the 2008 election was very interesting. I don’t remember another election where a party took quite as long to decide upon a nominee. It doesn’t look as if this election will be as mysterious, but it’s still important to follow along.

These sites and apps should be helpful. The Google+ site is especially helpful. It’s interesting to think that Google+ only came on the scene last year. I wonder what new tech tools we will have for the 2016 election, Jamella!
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