The Six Apps You Need This Election Season

By Caitlin O'Connell from original

With more Americans turning to mobile devices for political news, navigating the plethora of politics apps camouflaged in red, white, and blue can be overwhelming . We’ve tried a bunch and found six we really like. They’re all free and will keep you well-supplied with up-to-the minute campaign news, analysis and other fun stuff. Here’s what’s on our ballot:

1. NBC Politics (iPhone and iPad)

The NBC Politics app is a comprehensive guide to NBC’s campaign coverage, presented in a visually-appealing and easy-to-navigate format. In addition to social sharing (users can opt to share their favorite stories directly to Twitter or Facebook), one of the app’s stronger features is the Tip Sheet, which breaks down the most important moments along the campaign trail into a digestible timeline of quotes, stats, and photos. A fun bonus feature on the app’s iPad version is an election simulator that invites users to predict how each of the 50 states will vote in the presidential election.

2. The New York Times: Election 2012 (iPhone and Android)

The New York Times is a no-brainer for exceptional political coverage. For their Election 2012 app, the Times editors highlight the best of their politics reporting from the day’s print edition as well as the web, including my personal favorite, the excellent statistics-driven FiveThirtyEight blog. Another nice feature of the Election app is access to the Times’ comprehensive Election guides – helpful primers on the presidential candidates as well as the congressional campaigns.

3. TPM PollTracker (iPhone only)

PollTracker from Talking Points Memo is exactly that: an app dedicated exclusively to tracking state and national political polls. Users can even enable push notifications to receive new polling results as soon as they become available.

4. POLITICO Playbook (iPhone, Android, and tablets)

The brainchild of Politico’s chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, Playbook is Allen’s daily rundown of the all the insider political news that outsiders need to know. The app is a simple yet effective single stream of reads directly from the POLITICO website.

5. Campaign 2012 (iPhone and Android)

Although Campaign 2012  is independent of any news organization, I like that it allows users to swipe-through the top political headlines of major politics outlets such as Salon and the Huffington Post. The app also has a neat feature that lists the feeds from the official @BarackObama and @MittRomney Twitter accounts, side-by-side for your viewing pleasure.

6. Real Clear Politics (iPhone, Android, and tablets)

The popular political news aggregator has an app that closely resembles the website: a running list of the day’s top politics stories alongside detailed polling data. Though basic, it’s an excellent place to get your politics fix.

Photo credit: © Comstock/Thinkstock