10 Tools, Apps, Interactives And Other Projects Around 2012 U.S. Elections

Election season is just around the corner, and the summer has been a prime time for news organizations to start releasing new tools, projects, APIs and other awesome apps around the election. Here’s a collection of a few of my favorites, ranging from a polling API to a Canadians in America project.

1. USA Today’s Candidate Match Game II

This fun tool asks you about whether you agree or disagree with certain statements, then asks you to adjust your “importance” gauge. As you answer questions, the graphic on the right changes to display whether you align more closely with Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. It’s functional, fun, shareable and well-designed. See the full project

2. Huffington Post pollster API

The Huffington Post released an API that provides access to results of tens of thousands of opinion polls about candidates and topics. HuffPo has been collecting polls since 2004.  According to the API’s about page, “Our polling data is organized into charts, collections of responses to related poll questions on a single subject and geography, like Obama’s job approval in Florida or the Wisconsin Senate race between Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson. For each chart, we’ve calculated an estimate of the current opinion on that subject. Related charts are in turn organized into topics like Obama’s job approval or the 2012 senate races.” See the full project


3. NYTimes electoral map

The New York Times’ electoral map is a visual projection of how states may vote, based on polling and previous elections results. You can scroll through different scenarios or build your own scenario. See the full project



4. California Watch’s Rainmaker App

CIR’s California Watch has released a tool to explore top political donors in California. Adding a layer of “gamification” to the data, California Watch has assigned various badges to donors so you can learn about the donors at a glance. For example, the “sugar daddy” badge is for donors whose contributions made up at least 25 percent of all money that committee received and the “fence setter” badge is for donors who gave to opposing candidates in the same election cycle. See the full project. (Also see the Rainmaker API)


5. WaPo’s “Predict Obama’s Odds” tool

WaPo’s tool, based on a forumla from various political science professors, lets you predict Obama’s odds of winning the 2012 election based on various models. See the full project.


6. NYTimes’ guide to political donations

This interactive tool helps you learn about how the complicated world of political donations work. It presents a sample of donation goals and shows you options for achieving those goals. See the full project


7. ProPublica’s PAC Track

ProPublica’s PAC Track lets you track what and where the super PACs are spending. You can see the latest spendings and top contributors. It uses the NYT’s campaign finance API. See the full project.


8. FactCheck.org and USA Today’s Political Ad Tracker

The ad tracker takes a closer look at statements made in ads from candidates, parties and outside groups to rate the believability of an ad. See the full project


9. WNYC “Tax” tweets tracker after Health Care Ruling

Though not a direct project around the election, this WNYC is a project worth noting. After the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare last week, WNYC’s data news team visualized tweets that use the word “tax” over a span of two hours. See the full project.


10. Globe and Mail’s Canadian Guide to the U.S. elections

Through this fun video project, Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail offers a unique perspective on the U.S. election — from the eyes of Canadians living in the United States. They answer reader questions through blog posts and online discussions.  See the full project or read more about the behind-the-scenes.