Monitor the American Presidential elections online

Where to go, which internet sources to follow in order to monitor the most internet heavy and savvy elections in history. By the way, to back this up, Pew Research has found that although television remains the dominant source of election news (although losing share of attention by 4%), the internet has tripled its significance since October 2004 (from 10% to 33% today) on a par with newspapers. Not surprisingly, the picture is different to the younger age groups (18-29 y.o.) where TV still comes first but three times as many mention the internet over newspapers as a main source of election news (49% vs.17%). The findings are here. Anyhow, here is my proposed list of internet sources which a lot of you may know already of course.

  • If you only need one single source, you can’t go wrong with the Perspctv, which aggregates mainstream and user-generated media. Polls, electoral maps, constantly updated news items, blog posts, diggs and tweets (watch them changing before your eyes) and many more in an impressive no gimmicks but user-friendly single entry point. See how Obama holds a decisive lead in every internet-related buzz factor, namely twitter mentions, blogosphere mentions, google search volume etc. The big next-day question here is of course how far will this buzz translate into actual votes (no doubt many books and articles are waiting in the printing press for this million dollar question).

  • A different kind of analysis made by PresidentialWatch08 is particularly interesting, since it tracks the internet share of voice for the two candidates. The researchers say that it may be a loose predictor of the final result, since in the case of the French presidential elections it yielded up to 1% accurate data in the days prior to the first round and those figures were almost identical with the actual ballot results. They admit of course that they do not yet propose this as a valid statistical model but as an indication. Nevertheless for the month of October, the result is 57,8% for Obama and 42,2% for McCain.

  • Pew Research Center, one of the most authoritative sources for research offers a FastFacts Google Gadget for your iGoogle customized homepage. By the way, their latest poll, shows that Obama leads with 52% over McCain with 46%. You can also add the general Google Elections 2008 Gadget.  
  • The list would not be complete if we did not mention the iPhone “Poll Tracker 08” application (find and download here) that brings the latest polls directly on your iPhone screen, made with the Slate magazine and developed by Chimp Software.
  • The TwitterVoteReport -useful to US voters only – in cooperation with techPresident, is set to add some real reason for existence and substance to a controversial platform like twitter and will undoubtedly set a precedent for online activism. Users are able to report on voting progress, various problems etc and great visualization applications (e.g. on voting waiting times) are on offer.
  • The Historic US Presidential Elections KML in Google Earth is great while you wait for those election results to come in and you debate a bit of history with your friends.
  • No need to mention the media portals here, but CNN, BBC and NYT are my preferred choices offering more than the average internet user needs to track the elections.
  • Finally, there are a lot of sources and initiatives which monitor electoral procedures and voting for fair elections and a post by the Citizen Media Law Project, has a very good account. This is a good glimpse into the power that the internet places in the hands of citizens and some real gems in terms of technological applications, but this really deserves a separate post.

If you know of any other really must-see source (out of the hundreds out there), please share…

STOP PRESS: Nikos Drandakis will attempt a live blogging event on Tuesday night after 11pm. Good idea, wish it goes well! I will try to follow it…

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