Tag Archives: Elections

Iran goes to the polls

The Iranian presidential elections have led to rise in blogging activity – but what does it look like?

Interactive Persian blogosphere map

A project at the Berkman Center for Internet and Democracy has been following the Iranian blogosphere and has produced an interactive map illustrating the various types of blogs and blogging activity.

It’s part of a wider programme of research that has been Mapping Iran’s Online Public for some time, that is looking at the effect of the Internet in the Arab world – but a quick look at the snapshot above shows a mixed picture, with the key surprise being the importance of poetry!

Follow the news about the Iranian election and see whether President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gets re-elected or whether Mir Hosssain Mousavi can force a run-off if no candidate secures 50 percent of the vote.

There is a BBC News: Special Report on Iran elections 2009 plus similar updates from Radio Free Europe and the Al Jazeera English site.

More on the academic background is available from Centre for Iranian Studies at Durham University or the Keele Guide to Middle East Government and Politics section in Iran.

Intute features more Internet resources on Iran, Elections in Asia and Islamic Studies.

A slice of American PIE

Alas this will be pretty much my last contribution to the Intute: Social Sciences US election coverage on this blog, as I will be away for election week itself.

During the next few days our Politics and Government editor Heather Dawson will be supplying you with further updates, some of them centred around various themes and issues, as well as the more news and results based updates.

I thought that this may be a good opportunity to review how my own Internet habits have changed over the last few months and see which sites have had a good campaign. A final chance to see which ones made it into my own Personal Information Environment or my bit of American PIE!

If the 2004 campaign saw the rise of blogging then the 2008 campaign has been the YouTube election or at least the one where online video has come to the fore. While I have enjoyed the daily updates from Hotline TV and the focus on hard polling numbers from Dr. Frank Newport of Gallop, it’s been Kotecki TV that has helped to keep me sane.

Kotecki started recording videos for YouTube from his college bedroom, getting responses from a number of the candidates who ran in the early primaries, before being signed up by Politico.com. His irrevent style and fast paced delivery are a welcome break from the at times all too serious debate, plus it’s all done with inside three minutes. I think there is a gap in market for a British Kotecki in the run-up to the next UK general election.

In terms of textual analysis, my weapon of choice has been Electoral-Vote.com with a single daily summary of the issues, backed up with an easy to understand map of the make-up of the electoral college based on current polls. A more considered view that filters out the buzz from other sites that feel the need to update themselves dozens of times a day, makes Electoral-Vote.com required reading.

For more in-depth analysis of various polling issues, I’ve been heading over to FiveThirtyEight.com on a regular basis, where those of you who get drawn deep into the numbers can find an analysis of just about every nuance and shift in the tracking polls.

I have been impressed by the coverage of the election from some of the non-election sites I keep track of as part of my job. TechCrunch and Mashable have both kept an eye on the role of the election online, while the daily round-up from TechPresident has been invaluable in terms of keeping up-to-date.

Finally, I have tried to keep any pro-Obama tendencies in check and one of the ways I have been doing that is by reading The New Nixon blog every day. I’m a bit of Watergate buff and so I’ve enjoyed their roll-call of the various mentions of candidate x or pundit y as the “New Nixon” – there have been quite a few!

Well, that’s all from me – I’ll see you again, sometime on the other side of the results – have a great election night!

Intute: Social Sciences features more Internet resources on the US elections.

Photo from Flickr by Su-Lin under a Creative Commons license.

Good polls, bad polls and real polls

With just over a week to go, what you might call “poll fever” is descending on the race for the White House – which polls should be trusted and why? Plus does it matter when real polling ie voting has already begun?

Tracking polls or polls where the same sample for example the same group of voters are followed over time to assess shifts in political preferences – are a vital tool in the pollsters arsenal. FiveThirtyEight.com has a great analysis of eight of the most in/famous tracking polls you may encounter and considers their various strengths and weaknesses.

Gallup analysts have been polling citizens from around the world and their analysis shows that residents of other countries favour Barack Obama by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, however the majority of those surveyed did not express an opinion on the subject.

So much for the perspective of the polling experts, what about an academic viewpoint? Well Stanford University are offering a course on the Geography of U.S. Presidential Elections over the next few weeks, with freely available lectures online – showing that the picture is much more complicated than headline poll numbers may imply and demonstrating that things have certainly changed a lot over time.

… and finally, there’s a timely reminder that early voting has already begun in many states, with estimates that over 30% of votes could be cast before election day – plus there’s no shortage of ways to vote with roadside access for disabled voters, absentee ballots (postal votes) for those who will be away from their home state and even drive through voting for fast food addicted voters!

Intute: Social Sciences features more resources on the issues of polling, voting and the US elections.

Favourite blogs: Elections

ESRC Festival of Social Science 2008 logoWelcome to Our Favourite Social Science blogs.

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 7th –16th March, Intute: Social Sciences is featuring a series of articles by our subject editors presenting their favourite blogs.

Today, Paul Ayres from the Intute: Social Sciences team in Bristol, looks at the role blogs can play in elections.

The political blogosphere is probably the most heated part of the world of online social science comment. With the US Presidential election in full swing, it seems apt that I take this as my subject for looking at the effect blogs can have on elections, by looking at some of my favourites.

Most mainstream media outlets now supplement their news coverage with a blog. One of my favourites is the Hotline on Call blog, a team blog from various political correspondents who work for the National Journal. It’s a rapid fire round-up of the latest election news, which can generate a lot of blog posts at key times of the campaign and provides an excellent summary of what is happening in the mainstream media Stateside. However, my favourite part is the HotLine TV daily video update, which usually features editors Amy Walter and John Mercurio.

During the campaign they have made a habit of posting special videos marking the departure of various candidates from the Presidential race.

But what about proper academic sources? No one site stands out above the rest, but The Monkey Cage features some good writing from four professors of political science at George Washington University. Among their number is Henry Farrell, who is also a contributor to Crooked Timber, one of those rare interdisciplinary blogs which cover a range of social science topics, including US politics. Another team blog is PolySigh, which includes analysis from Philip Klinker and has been particularly strong on racial and religious aspects of voter analysis. While the CalTech Election Updates blog and the Election Law @ Moritz blog provide valuable round-ups on the mechanics and legal aspects of voting.

Elections of course mean polling and the joys of polling data, undecideds breaking towards the challenger, margins of error and all sorts of other psephological nuances. While not presented as a blog, Electoral-Vote.com presents a daily analysis of the latests polls, maps of how this affects the overall national picture and occasional think pieces on broader issues – the latest of which is How Good Are Experienced Presidents? Or if you would like an alternative, The Gallop Poll presents updates of election data and their Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Frank Newport gives you the stories behind the latest polling numbers on their YouTube channel.

If you are interested in the broader role that the Internet can play in the campaign, then you really need to read TechPresident, set up by the Personal Democracy Forum to track “how the candidates are using the web and how the web is using them”. It presents a daily round-up on the latest on the web about and by the candidates, it tracks their popularity in terms of a number of popular Web 2.0 sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Technorati, and takes an activist stance asking Who will be America’s first TechPresident. If you want to supplement your TechPresident reading, then why not try PrezVid from Jeff Jarvis, which is tracking the YouTube element of the campaign.

Of course, there are plenty of other elections where the blogosphere can make an impact. In London, there’s a mayoral election coming up where MayorWatch is rounding up the latest news about the campaign and some say that political blogging is becoming more relevant in the Arab world too. In Europe, Roland Abold looks back on their role in the 2005 German elections and there is even an interesting visual representation of the French political blogosphere that reflects on their presidential election last year.

For some further academic analysis of the electoral blogosphere try:

You can contribute to this event by leaving a comment on this article, perhaps letting us know about your favourite election blogs or by helping expand our catalogue of academic blogs by filling in our suggest a site form.

Intute: Social Sciences features more resources on blogs and elections, US elections and elections in general.

US Elections on Intute: Social Sciences

Welcome to our coverage of the US Presidential Election here at Intute: Social Sciences. We have a dedicated section looking at US Elections, as well as a related area that examines the ultimate goal of the various candidates, Presidential Government itself.

It will be interesting to see the role that the Internet plays during the course of the campaign and if you are in any doubt as to whether online video will impact on the campaign, CitizenTube has produced a round-up of some of the key video moments from the pre-campaign campaign!

For following the twists and turns of the campaign you also may want to sample the Hotline TV YouTube channel, where Amy Walter and John Mercurio provide daily updates.

Elsewhere you can sample a UK perspective from the BBC News US Elections page,  which includes a poll tracker related to key events and a roadmap of the various primaries on the road to Super Tuesday.

All of the mainstream US news sources have dedicated sites, but the CNN site puts  the recent Iowa Caucus in some sort of perspective, showing that only a tiny proportion of the delegates for the nominating conventions have been selected.

But if you would like an individual perspective on the polling numbers, then we can recommend Electoral-Vote.Com, which provides a wealth of data, maps and thoughtful analysis.

We will be producing weekly round-ups looking at key events – for example the New Hampshire primary tomorrow – but keep an eye on the New resources for Politics page for the latest additions to our catalogue.

Intute: Social Sciences features more resources on the 2008 US Presidential elections.

Nice video, shame about the politicians

The BBC reported last week that the Electoral Commission and Ofcom will be keeping a close eye on the main political parties and their use of online campaigning in the run-up to the local elections next month – not only for the amount spent on their websites, but also their use of online video.

All three main UK political parties are dabbling in the world of online video with YouTube being home to a Labour Party channel and the official Liberal Democrat video channel, while the Conservatives got their first with WebCameron.

In the States, not only are candidates announcing their 2008 Presidential bids online as well as in person, but the political punditry is also online for example the editors of the respected National Journal’s Hotline, offer a daily vlog

YouTube have brought together the video offerings of the various 2008 Presidential hopefuls into the YouChoose portal site that can help voters make up their minds.

Meanwhile in France the run-off to choose the successor to Jacques Chirac will see contenders Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal make use of online video to help get their messages across.

Intute: Social Sciences links to more resources on the issues of online campaigning and political uses of video.

US Midterms

With the US midterm elections less than 2 weeks away, Intute: Politics brings you a round up of some of the websites you can use to keep track of the state of play between the Democrats and the Republicans.

Electoral-vote.com is updated daily with the latest polls for the Congressional races, with an easy to view map showing how the new look Senate might look. This site was a major hit in the Presidential election in 2004 and their dedicated webmaster is working hard again to make it an essential visit for the psephologicaly minded.

BBC News has set a special blog called The Reporters: US mid-terms where a team of correspondents are providing updates on the election and daily digests of key stories from US the papers.

The Hotline is the National Journal’s daily briefing on politics. As well as their blog, they are providing daily video updates which are posted to the video sharing service You Tube, with 3 or 4 minutes clips, plus a longer show on Fridays.

Intute links to many more resources on the issue of US Elections