How to Follow the Election Online

Whether you’re a hard-core political junkie or just an ordinary citizen who’s concerned about the outcome, there are a wealth of ways to follow election night 2012 on your laptop, tablet or even your smart phone. Here are some suggestions:

  • News websites. ABCNews.com will be offering a dizzying array of information, from live streaming of its regular TV election-night coverage, to an interactive map that will allow viewers to track real-time results in key battleground states, and “Breaking Hashtags,” a feature that will look for trending topics on Twitter. CBSNews.com plans to offer a similar live stream of its TV coverage, plus extras such as exit-poll data and a running summary of the balance of power in Congress. NBCPolitics.com will offer analysis from its correspondents and pundits in the First Read blog, plus real-time vote percentages across the top of its homepage, and running analysis of public reaction on Facebook and Twitter. CNN.com will be streaming live video from both the Obama and Romney campaign headquarters. FoxNews.com will be providing a live stream featuring its regular cast of conservative commentators, plus a separate Spanish-language version on Fox News Latino. If you prefer to see information from a range of different sources at once, you may want to go to the election-coverage pages of aggregators such as Bing.com, Google, or the Huffington Post. But your best bet may be Yahoo! News’ The Ticket, which not only aggregates stories from the wires and publications such as The Week, but also offers original reporting and commentary by Yahoo’s own staff of journalists, including veteran political scribe Walter Shapiro.
  • Social media. Twitter offers its @President aggregation of election news, while the political consulting firm 140Elect.com amasses tweets from a variety of sources, including the Obama and Romney campaigns. A British newspaper, the Guardian, offers a voluminous list of top Twitter accounts to follow on election night, from pundits to pollsters. YouTube’s Politics Channel offers videos from a range of news sources, from the Wall Street Journal and Al Jazeera to Univision, in addition to user-generated content such as the now-famous “Tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney” viral video.
  • Smart phone apps. The New York Times mobile app for iPhone, Android and other phone formats recently was upgraded to provide live election-night coverage, including videos, interactive maps, and county-by-county results. (The app is free, but to get the full content, you have to be a Times subscriber.) The ABC News app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry provides a similar array of content. Election Results 2012 for Android displays updates on vote totals in states across the nation.

-Patrick J. Kiger