Wicked-cool political Web sites

I can't eat, I can't sleep, and I can't seem to pull myself away from the Net. Election time must be near.

While obsessing over politics, I found some wicked-cool sites I had to share with my faithful readers.

Election 2008

Technology, elections, e-voting, paper trails

Map: E-voting State by State

A couple of weeks ago I wrote here that YouTube has forever changed our electoral politics. (I also did a podcast on this topic with Geekazine's Jeff Powers earlier this week. If you've got half an hour to kill, check it out.)

At the techPresident blog, Micah Sifry has put dollars and sense on YouTube's value. First he asked YouTube metrics company TubeMogul to calculate how much time YouTubers have spent watching each campaign's videos (not including those submitted by partisans and jokesters on either side). The answer: Obama wins by a huge margin.

obama youtube pie

Writes Sifry: "The total in absolute time (views * video length):

Obama 14,548,809.05 hours; McCain 488,093.01 hours."

Then Sifry asked political guru Joe Trippi how much Obama's YouTube hours would be worth in actual dollars, using typical TV ad spending as a measure. The answer? A whopping $46 million.

The value of McCain's YouTubing? About $1.5 million. So Obama has gotten about 30 times as much free air time on the Web as his rival. Tells you a lot, don't it?

More cool analysis of video can be found at Shifting the Debate. Here, social media metrics company Morningside Analytics tosses up a fascinating Political Video Barometer that shows which YouTube videos are being linked to the most by conservative and liberal bloggers.


Turns out the libs favor Pro-Obama videos, the conservatives like pro McCain (or anti-Barack). In a word, Duh. But according to Morningside, the big news is the clever "Wassup" [video] Pro-Obama beer commercial parody is at the top of the charts for bloggers, including many with no political bias. And that too could spell trouble for the McCainers.

Per the blog:

Based on the current growth patterns of all the top videos, the gap between Wassup 2008 and the others will likely expand in the next few days....Could it be that the best spokespersons to reach Joe Six-Pack are the same ones selling him beer?

Finally, polls. They're multiplying like bacteria, and no two agree on every point. A site that turns these polls into poetry is FiveThirtyEight, so named for the number of electoral votes at stake next Tuesday. The site's pugnacious pollster-in-chief, Nate Silver, looks at all the national and state polls, runs some voodoo on the numbers, and comes up with odds and projections for every race. If you're a statistics geek, the site is a absolute feast. And if you believe Silver, McCain fans are in for a long night (or a short one, depending on your point of view).

Of course, that's just the short short list. John Brandon at the Web 2.0 Watcher blog has named his 10 essential political sites; I've listed five more ways to rock the vote here.

Less than a week from now, it will all be over (we hope -- no more replays of the 2000 fiasco, thank you very much). And then maybe I can get back to more mundane matters, like sleeping and eating.

Got a favorite political site not listed here? Post it below or email me direct: dan (at) dantynan.com.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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