11:02 am Pacific Time
I’ll be live-blogging the Super Tuesday election day here in the U.S. and will be highlighting all the efforts online to cover the day’s events and results. I’m especially interested in finding the best social media sites, mainstream news sites and blogs and video coverage — and am asking for your input on any innovative efforts you see online. You can leave links and analysis in the comments below or email me through the Feedback Form, which goes directly to my in-box.
I’ll be updating this post throughout the day and night. Also, I’m going to experiment in reaching out to various people to see how they’re following the races online. I will be using my “Twitter posse,” messaging people on Facebook and LinkedIn, and even using Yahoo Answers to get more input from people. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tap the intelligence of more people and do a networked journalism report on what’s happening online — without angering all my contacts in the process.
So what sources are you using online to get your news of Super Tuesday? Big newspaper sites? Liberal or conservative blogs? Online video sites? Audio podcasts? Photo sites? Let me know in the comments and I’ll keep updating the meta-list below as the day and night go on.
12:08 pm Pacific Time
I’m really enjoying the mashup of Google Maps and Twitter, where you can see a map of the world and updates from people as they post micro-blogs to Twitter. The interesting part is that the map will show you where each person is located as they Twitter. Below is a screen shot taken of the map. It’s a personal stream of consciousness from voters, observers and techie types as the voting continues.
Also, Google’s Brittany Bohnet is touting all of Google’s Super Tuesday efforts on its official blog, from the special Google Map to a widget/gadget that lets you follow the election results (pasted in below) to a special section on Google News. Though the search giant usually demurs from creating original editorial content, these mashups and special sections show how the company can help combine technology with journalism and micro-blogging.
“Super Tuesday gives us a chance to try out new features and to see how people are using technology to participate in elections,” said Bohnet.
3:13 pm Pacific Time
I’ve had CNN TV on in the background for white noise as I compile the big list of online resources. Was it just me or was Wolf Blitzer being a bit obnoxious with his constant blog promotion? It seems like almost every pundit who comes on gets attacked with the query: “Did you read my blog post today?”
OK, Wolf, I’ll bite. He said his blog post would explain how he prepares for doing a day of election results, and here’s what it says:
My answer is simple. I am always preparing — every single day. I do my homework. I have discovered over the years that if you know your stuff, you will be prepared.
But there is also the matter of preparing physically for what will be a very long night. People always ask me about that. Don’t you get tired? The answer is that I am too pumped up to get tired. Still, I work hard at being ready. The night before, I always get a good night’s sleep. I exercise in the morning. It’s always a great way to start the day. I ran five miles this morning — as I try to do every morning. I eat a healthy breakfast. And the rest falls into place.
Wow, brilliant. (Tone of sarcasm added.) But I’ll give him credit for not only blogging, but also pumping the blog on the air.
It’s hard not to tune out the early exit polls on TV, as they have proven to be so faulty in the past. What about social networking sites as possible bellwether? Popular Facebook widget maker Slide is saying that Obama leads Clinton by 3-to-1 by people who are using Obama-themed skins on applications and adding him as a “top friend” vs. Hillary.
Some people prefer to think that web traffic is a sign of candidates that are getting last-minute support. In other words, undecided voters will visit the sites of candidates they are likely to vote for. If that is at all true, then the Hitwise traffic charts might be worth checking out. Unfortunately, the data ends on Jan. 26, but the standings were:
1. www.barackobama.com 30.16%
2. www.ronpaul2008.com 23.84%
3. www.mikehuckabee.com 15.71%
4. www.hillaryclinton.com 14.43%
5. www.mittromney.com 8.25%
6. www.johnmccain.com 7.01%
4:06 pm Pacific Time
I’m still wary about the exit polls, going back to the ugly mistakes made by TV networks back in 2000, when they called Al Gore the winner based on those polls. But if you believe in them, the Drudge Report was early to reveal some numbers online, showing that Obama was winning more states than Clinton:
WARNING: EXIT NUMBERS EARLY AND DO NOT REPRESENT ACTUAL VOTES:
OBAMA: Alabama: Obama 60, Clinton 37… Arizona: Obama 51, Clinton 45… Connecticut: Obama 53, Clinton 45… Delaware: Obama 56, Clinton 42… Georgia: Obama 75, Clinton 26… Illinois: Obama 70, Clinton 30… Massachusetts: Obama 50, Clinton 48… Missouri: Obama 50, Clinton 46… New Jersey: Obama 53, Clinton 47…
CLINTON: Arkansas: Clinton 72, Obama 26… California: Clinton 50, Obama 47… New York: Clinton 56, Obama 43… Oklahoma: Clinton 61, Obama 31… Tennessee: Clinton 52, Obama 41…
Now we’ll see who mentions these numbers and who tries to ignore them. Some talking heads on Fox News TV mentioned them in vague terms, “Bloggers are mentioning online that Obama might be winning more states than expected.”
On the GOP side, National Review Online has a whole slew of exit polls posted=. But NRO’s Jim Geraghty warns:
Fascinating and fun as it is, I remind my readers that this doesn’t tell us that much, as we don’t know what the district-by-district breakdown is. Also, there are three million absentee votes that I’m pretty sure are not included in this. So while these numbers are nice to hear for McCain fans, I take them with even more caution, skepticism and grains of salt than usual.
I can’t believe I have to write this, but if you’re in a state that votes today and you haven’t yet, go out and vote. Don’t let some report on a blog discourage you from exercising a right that our forefathers fought and died for.
It’s nice that these exit polls are being viewed so much different than they were in 2004, when people totally believed that Kerry would win as per the polls that were leaked online. This time, the skepticism is apparent and I’m guessing that readers are less willing to believe them after being burned so many times before.
Traffic alert! I’m noticing that liberal blog Daily Kos has less ads on its home page, and am having trouble getting into TPM Election Central, probably due to heavy traffic. Any other sites giving you problems? Share what’s happening in the comments.
6:46 pm Pacific Time
I was just away from home for the last couple hours and relied on my smartphone to follow results. The Twitter feeds can feel a bit overwhelming but are helpful. Most of the mobile sites worked well for NYTimes.com, CNN.com and other major news sites — and even the blogs loaded without issues. It’s great to be away from a computer and TV and still be able to follow the returns as they come in.
What’s slightly weird is that we keep hearing that one candidate or another “won” a state, but in the grand scheme of things, we don’t know how the delegates will be apportioned, at least on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, many states are still too close to call, and all the candidates seem to have one a race or two. Even with all the information, maps and charts, it’s still going to take some time to see how the delegate race will shape up.
One person I saw who was following the race on his computer said, “When will they know who won this tonight?” I told him it might not be until tomorrow or very late, and he just shook his head. I think all the election marketing made it seem like Super Tuesday would basically crown the nominees on both sides, but now it seems like quite the opposite will be true and that the races will continue to be competitive over the next month or two.
I’m still looking for that perfect snapshot of exactly what is happening in all the states and how the candidates are doing in real time. CNN has a nice results page but you have to cycle through results. I’m liking the Google gadget, inserted below, though the results are a bit behind the bigger news sites.
As for reader participation, I’m enjoying the collaborative live blogging and commenting mixed together on TechPresident using the Cover It Live application. According to the developer, there are 29 sites using this live-blogging/collaboration tool tonight. It’s really a nice way of doing blogging, instant messaging and forums all rolled into one simple interface. People ask questions and the bloggers can answer them or set up polls on the fly. It really has a personal, water cooler feel to it.
8:20 pm Pacific Time
Who will call California first on both sides? Let’s see.
Twitters note that exit polls show Clinton 50 to Obama 45, but it’s very early in results, that Hillary is leading, probably with absentee ballots.
Now Obama is entertaining the late night crowd in Chicago at 11:44 pm ET.
ABC makes the harsh move on Obama, cutting away from his speech to say that Clinton has the early lead in California. Right when Obama was gaining momentum, Charles Gibson cuts him off. Ouch.
Both AP and MSNBC had called Missouri for Clinton, and are now backtracking, with Fox News calling it for Obama, saying 17 precincts are in Kansas City and St. Louis, that have been trending to him. Great that we can trust the big media outlets to call it right. Ugh.
CNN calls California for Clinton at 12:30 am ET. Were they the first?
11:50 pm Pacific Time
Was this a watershed election for the online world? Not exactly, as far as innovation goes. The New York Times’ videos from voters was nice, and the Google-Twitter mashup looked so natural you have to wonder if Google might just buy Twitter for all the possibilities. Google certainly proved itself capable as the technology provider for the elections.
Once again, the “projected winner” had to be unprojected due to reliance on exit polls, with AP and NPR and others having to switch projections on the Missouri Democratic race. They had called it for Clinton and later retracted the call. Blogs often parroted those calls, and provided conflicting vote counts, not really “fact-checking” anything.
Because there were so many states having elections — in fact, a record number of states — it was difficult to find a real snapshot of all the returns in one place, on one map. Why did it seem like the CNN TV crew had the best tech tools in its studio, and why couldn’t we play with something similar online or on our smartphones? Why couldn’t we stretch and touch the screen on counties we wanted to check out? Even the official state vote-count sites in Missouri and California were weak in showing county-by-county maps.
But hey, we can dream about it for the general election.
One thing is for sure: Online sites and maps and mashups gave a lot more color to what average folks were thinking (and snarking) than the talking heads on TV, who often threw up graphics and talking points that created more of an echo chamber than original thinking.
What was your take on the online coverage and how it may have supplemented the TV or radio coverage? What sites did you use and which new ones were added to your media diet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Super Tuesday Resources Online
Major News Sites
ABCNews.com’s Politics page in association with USAToday and Facebook
CBSNews.com’s Super Tuesday coverage with tons of video
MTV’s ChooseOrLose page with 50 citizen journalist contributors
New York Times’ Voices from the Polls with audio from voters
BlogNetNews has state-by-state blog posts
Drunkblogging Super Tuesday by VodkaPundit’s Stephen Green
Huffington Post’s FundRace guide to who’s giving what to which candidate
Twitter and Micro-Blogging
NPR News Blog feed from Andy Carvin
Politweets feed of political Twitter posts
Citizen Journalism Sites