Updating of polling app reflects a return of the silly season
The election cycle in the U.S., I think it is fair to say, is ridiculously long. Off years, like 2013, almost feel like a vacation. Well, it is 2014, and that means this is a Congressional election year, with all seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs, and one-third of the Senate.
One of the new features of the 2012 cycle was the dedicated election app. The New York Times released ‘NYTimes Election 2012’ at the end of 2011 and it got its first workout with the Iowa Caucuses. The mobile app was your basic news reader, and the NYT probably decided that it didn’t really add much to its existing app product line as it was pulled from the app stores after the Presidential election last November.
Talking Points Memo (TPM), the Josh Marshall website, launched its own iPhone app in 2012, called PollTracker. It launched in the summer of 2012, and received a couple of updates prior to the November election.
The idea was a pretty good one in that as the election neared everyone was obsessed with polls. Or maybe it was the political blogs that were obsessed with the polls. Because as most of the websites covering the election published every poll conducted, even ones that were “unskewed”**, there probably wasn’t a need for a separate polling app.
But TPM has now updated its app, a sure sign that the election season is starting.
PollTracker, oddly, is TPM’s only app. Josh Marshall launched his blog in 2000, inspired by bloggers such as Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan. The TPM website, and its staff, has grown tremendously since then, but Marshall didn’t prove to be as pioneering as other web properties when it came to mobile apps, and then tablet magazines.
It will be interesting to see if this election cycle is as active for media apps focused on the election. One thing that is guaranteed, however, is that we will see plenty of new apps from the candidates themselves as this has become a common part of the marketing of any political figure.
** This is a reference to a now defunct website that altered poll results to provide more comforting results for its readers.