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15 Ways to follow the 2008 election online

The power of the net to provide more innovative political coverage than what is possible in traditional forms of media has never been more evidenced than in this political season. Major news organizations and citizen journalists alike have harnessed the power of the web to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the US presidential election than has ever been possible. Here are some of the best ways to follow the political landscape online:

1. perspctv

If there weren’t 14 other sites on this list then perspctv would be the one stop for any election news seeker. The site culls the latest news, blog posts and tweets and provides insightful charts and maps as well as an embeddable widget for keeping track of it all.

2. Patchwork Nation

We know the candidates are campaigning all over the country, but who are they campaigning in front of? The Christian Science Monitor has the answer. The site’s analysis shows both Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama spent a good chunk of their time in wealthy suburbs and big cities.

3. Election ’08 Twitter Chatter

Everyone knows Twitter is abuzz with political views, skews and insights, including the observations of Twitter stars FakeSarahPalin and CNN’s Rick Sanchez. Twitter Chatter is one way to wrangle these conversations as well as to see on a map where they are coming from.

4. FiveThirtyEight.com

FiveThirtyEight.com is the dream of any political statistics hound. The site has the latest polls, the latest news, the latest charts, graphs, statistics, hypotheticals…the latest everything. It’s like a political rabbit hole…check it out only if you have time to spare.

5. Map of 2008 Presidential Contributions

“Show me the money!” Okay it’s 2008, not 1996, but if you’re curious to know where the campaign money is coming from, Political Base has you covered with a well-designed Google map as well as a list of big name contributors and a handy search form.

6. Tube the Vote!

Tube the Vote strives to provide a balanced view of issues that are affecting this year’s presidential election by scouring the web for video, blog posts, Flickr photos and more that celebrate or repudiate either side.

7. Candidates’ life journeys

Get to know the presidential and vice presidential candidates a little better by following the milestones of their lives on a Google Map. Anyone can follow the journey of John McCain, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin or Joe Biden.

8. PolitiFact’s The Attack Files

Voters tired of the spin and searching for the truth will appreciate PolitiFact’s analysis of recent campaign assertions. Was Sen. Obama referring to Sarah Palin when he mentioned “lipstick on a pig?” No way, says PolitiFact. Does Sen. McCain support tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas? Not that simple, according to the site.

9. Election 08

iPhone users will be glad to know that they don’t have to be at a computer to track the latest on the 2008 presidential race. The iPhone application is a great source for tracking the latest polls as long as you don’t check to often — Election 08 is sometimes behind in its updates.

10. McCainPedia/Obamapedia

To say these two wikis are unbiased would be a big misstatement — the former is run by the DNC, the other is populated by Obama fans. Still, using modern technology to encourage citizen participation is never a bad thing.

11. What Would You Say to the President?

This genius bit of citizen participation encourages everyone to not only speak their mind to President Bush, but to presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama as well. Recent responses — which are themselves wholly interesting and telling — are displayed on each page.

12. Google Maps (campaign trail)

This Google map knows where the candidates will be and when and makes that information at the click of a button. Campaign appearances for both candidates are listed in reverse chronological order as well as marked on a map.

13. Google Maps (video)

Video of campaign speeches from both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are tracked and mapped on these map mashups that incorporate video from YouTube.

14. Everymoment Now

Everymoment Now uses a unique graph to chart the number of times a candidate was mentioned on any particular day since August of this year. Clicking on a bar in the chart reveals news stories that were published that day as well as more detailed charts and graphs.

15. ABC News’ Match-o-Matic

If you plan on voting in the upcoming US election, but still don’t know which can
didate to vote for, the Match-o-Matic is sure to help. The humorous, interactive quiz gives the user two quotes — one from Sen. Obama and one from Sen. McCain — and the user selects which one they agree with most without knowing who said it. The final tally reveals which presidential candidate’s platform the user is more likely to side with.

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