US Presidential Election 2008
American democracy hinges on the knowledge of the American people. With the presidential election race now upon us, it’s a good idea to learn about the details of the election process. Our Presidential Election 2008 Web Guide provides the best resources for recent election news and information, so you can be on top of your facts and figures as readily as any expert. Welcome to the fast track of U.S. presidential elections 2008. We also offer a Spanish-language version of the Guide.
With so much information available about the 2008 election, it can be difficult to stay on track and find what you’re looking for. Let findingDulcinea take you directly to the best sources of information on the 2008 presidential candidates’ backgrounds, platforms, and voting records. Stay abreast of the evolving list of contenders, and know where they stand on the issues that matter.
- For the latest information about the candidates, visit Election News Roundup at findingDulcinea's Beyond the Headlines.
- The Web sites listed below offer some of the best overall candidate coverage available, as well as valuable news content and current campaign information. Once you’ve gotten the background information you need, visit these sources for daily updates.
- Open Secrets keeps a list of all of the ongoing and terminated campaigns in the 2008 election. The list tracks candidates’ finances, but is also a good way of remembering who participated in the race.
For general background information …
outlines all of the candidates who are running, as well as any who are possible contenders. You’ll get a brief political and personal synopsis of each candidate, links to Web sites that cover the candidate (both positively and negatively), and contact information.
The Online NewsHour
from PBS offers election coverage with dense background information about each candidate. You’ll find biographical content as well as links to coverage of their campaigns. These articles, which are presented chronologically, make it easy to track any evolving campaign. Browse through the site for constantly updated coverage. Don’t miss “States to Watch” for detailed calendars of the primaries and caucuses.
Project Vote Smart
offers detailed information about many elected American officials. Enter the last name of the candidate who interests you into the search box and you’ll get background information, including outlines of candidate biographies, positions, campaign finance, interest group ratings, voting records, speeches and public statements. Links to candidates’ Web sites are listed along with links to the official Web sites of any committees the candidate is on.
offers a unique approach to candidate coverage. You get a brief synopsis of each candidate along with video postings of moments from his or her campaign. Visit “Comments” to see what users are saying about candidates, or to participate in the discussion yourself.
For information on where a candidate stands on issues and tracking voting records …
lists the actions candidates have taken on specific issues throughout their careers. To see where candidates currently stand on a specific topic, visit the “Issues
” section on the left side of the homepage. Virtually all major political issues are covered on this site, including “Budget & Economy
,” “Civil Rights
,” and “Education
,” to name a few. Click any candidate's name for a voting record, along with explanations of each vote he or she made.
The U.S. Senate
provides links to and contact information for all of the U.S. Senators. Because all of the current candidates serve in the Senate, this is a worthwhile resource for getting contact information, or for visiting a candidate's official Web page. Use this site to track voting records as well.
For information on a candidate’s religious position …
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
profiles each candidate’s religious affiliations and beliefs. You’ll get a background of his or her religious stance, along with a list of “Must Reads”—articles or books that further outline the candidate’s faith.
Following the election closely is an exciting challenge: developments happen so frequently that it takes a great effort to stay abreast of current election news. Plus, there’s the added challenge of staying on top of what pundits are speculating. Below you'll find both mainstream and independent sites that track details of the campaigns with up-to-the-minute information and predictions.
- Many of the sites you’ll see in this section have a political slant. However, we don’t endorse any of the opinions or biases on the sites we recommend.
- If you're looking for the official Web site of a candidate, visit Ron Gunzburger's Politics 1, which lists sites for each candidate (both official and unofficial). In addition to campaign Web sites, you'll find individual sites with both positive and negative messages.
For major media sources …
offers some of the most thorough coverage of Election 2008. You’ll get candidate bios, including spending patterns and polls. Visit “States to Watch
” for statistics and news about the most influential states in the primaries. Go to “Issues”
to see where each candidate stands on the major concerns of the nation. Or check out “Debates”
to view videos or to read transcripts of past debates. Scroll down for “Campaign News and Analysis," which hosts the latest headlines and links to up-to-the-minute political blogs.
The New York Times
has an extensive index of candidate information along with articles and photographs that give detailed, up-to-the minute coverage of the campaign trail and election discussions. Its political blog, “The Caucus
,” stays abreast of the most current, essential topics. Spend time browsing the wealth of archived articles, voting records and financial information provided by the site. You may have to register for free access to some of the older content. Note that the Times has a liberal slant.
offers headline news with a conservative slant. Track the polls, fundraising, delegate counts and other candidate-specific information by visiting "Candidates
." Visit "Blog Spot
" for blogging form the Fox News team.
offers a look at the U.S. election from a foreign perspective. This U.K. paper provides complete and thoughtful coverage, including headlines, analysis and background information on the remaining candidates.
For blogs and other media …
covers the politics of Capitol Hill. Because it is primarily dedicated to Washington politics, this site gets into the nitty-gritty details of the upcoming presidential election. Articles that speculate on possible running mates for candidates and discussions of which states are most crucial to the primaries are some examples of the specificity offered here.
Real Clear Politics
aggregates the day's biggest headlines from both national and international sources. You'll find polling reports, op-eds and breaking news all in once place. News topics are arranged by category, allowing you to browse the happenings of the Clinton, Obama and McCain campaigns.
’s Indecision 2008 offers surprisingly detailed news coverage. Video streams of interviews are supplemented by coverage of the latest headlines—with a comical bent, of course. Links to legitimate news sources like The New York Times offer election coverage plus commentary. The site calls itself “Something approximating election news with something approximating honesty.”
, presented by the St. Petersburg Times, is dedicated to clarifying the truth behind the candidates. Visit “The Truth-O-Meter” for illustrated scales of honesty: the site fact-checks and exposes the truth or lack thereof behind the candidate’s recent claims. Also look for coverage of the facts being discussed during the campaign trail.
As you do current research of Election 2008, the overwhelming speculation offered by politicians and pundits can make your head spin. If you want to go straight to the hard facts yourself, visit the sites in this section of the guide. You’ll get the data that drives speculation, and can draw your own conclusions as you see fit.
- Polls and statistics represent ever-changing data. What you glean from these sites today might be totally different tomorrow. Check in with these sources regularly to make sure that your facts are current. Another way to enrich your research is to look back in time; see what polls were saying weeks, months, or even years ago to broaden your understanding of the general public opinion and what affects it.
- Although only reputable organizations are represented in this guide, even the most meticulous polls are flawed. No statistic can grasp the truth; too many opinions and demographics are inevitably omitted from any controlled polling system. The truest poll is the election itself.
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
conducts polls and research regarding the 2008 campaign with specific groups and candidate information in mind. Look at the “Featured Survey” for a consistently updated public opinion poll of issues relevant to topics in the campaign. The “News Interest Index” evaluates public opinion on actual campaign events. You’ll find a list of the polls under “Survey Reports
.” Commentary, data, and news polls are also available on the site.
, home to the Gallup Poll, is one of America’s best-known polling organizations. This link covers the 2008 election specifically, and clarifies where Americans stand on candidates and issues. Visit the “Related Items” section on the right for links to the most recent polls covering election issues.
compares the popularity of many defining elements of the 2008 election. Topics include “Top Presidential Candidate 2008 Websites,” “Top 10 Political Search Terms,” and “Candidate of the Month.” Categories are arranged by popularity, according to the percent of the market share each site attracts. Hitwise tracks what users are most interested to know as the election progresses.
For interactive polling sites …
Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections
is a vast, interactive tool that allows visitors to participate in mock elections. The site tracks this information in its “Presidential Predictions 2008” map. You can cast your vote in the current primaries or look at past mock elections for gubernatorial or senatorial predictions.
Presidential primaries help determine which candidate will get his or her party's nomination. Caucuses are an important part of the primary process as well. Only a handful of states have caucuses, although the results are telling and highly anticipated. The Iowa caucus marks the beginning of the presidential primaries and the first steps towards each party’s nomination of its official candidate. Below you’ll find information on caucuses and primaries and how you can participate in the process.
- For the most recent primary and caucus results, as well as background information on the primary process, go to Today's Election News Roundup at findingDulcinea's Beyond the Headlines. To get more involved with politics in general, visit findingDulcinea's Getting Politically Active Web Guide.
- If you want to track how a candidate fared in past primaries, CNN Election Center 2008 keeps a calendar that includes detailed results from any race thus far. Just go to the month of interest and click on the day of the primary for full coverage.
- findingDulcinea’s Beyond the Headlines article, “Superdelegates Could Sway Party Nomination,” explains the role of Superdelegates in the upcoming primaries and their potential influence in deciding party nominees.
For an overview of caucuses and primaries ...
Des Moines Register.com
has an extensive section on the caucus process and its history. Although this is an Iowa publication, the background information it offers on caucuses is comprehensive and applies to caucuses nationwide. You'll find out about how to participate in caucuses throghout the county. The Des Moines Register
also has a section on its history covering presidential debates
, which gives great insight into the primary process.
Project Vote Smart
presents this article “How Does the Primary Process Work?” You’ll find out what a caucus is and how it fits into the presidential primaries at large.
For information about the role of party delegates …
The Council on Foreign Relations
explains the role of delegates during the primary process, including how Democratic and Republican delegates are selected, what constitutes a “superdelegate,” and how independent voters are represented in the election process.
provides this “Delegate Explainer,” a colorful chart of the number of delegates of each party. The chart highlights how many delegates are needed for each candidate to win. Go to “Winning Delegates
” for a pie chart of electoral numbers: you’ll see the percentages of delegate, superdelegate, and popular votes that go into determining the Democratic election, and what percentages are needed for the “winner-take-all” system used by the GOP.
For advice on voting in the primaries...
in its article, “Make Your Primary Vote Mean Something,” offers advice on how you can effectively influence the election process at an early stage by participating in a caucus or primary.
Campaign spending is one of the biggest issues in the current political debate. This section of the guide illuminates the importance of campaign finance and shows how it applies to the progress of each of the 2008 presidential candidates. Use it to track the specific funding given to each candidate and the sources of those donations.
- If you want to learn a lot about a candidate, track his or her donors. Use these sites to find out who has given to a campaign, and then do some independent research on the groups or individuals who have given to each candidate. You can gain valuable insight into a candidate based on who supports him or her.
- If you don’t want to donate money to a campaign but are interested in supporting it, you can always offer your time. Go to your candidate’s official Web site to find out how you can volunteer. Otherwise, go to Meetup to learn how you can get involved in individual campaigns through meetings and other volunteer opportunities.
For an overview of campaign finance …
, a Web site of the Hoover Institution’s Public Policy Inquiry initiative, explains the history and current structure of campaign finance. You’ll find information on Supreme Court cases, reform proposals and reform legislation. In addition, a “Who’s Giving To Whom
” section lets you trace campaign finance in some past presidential elections.
The New York Times
presents this archive of articles in its “Times Topics” section on campaign finance. You’ll find archived articles that chart the course of campaign finance through this election cycle and beyond.
For tracking campaign finance …
presents a list of candidate campaign funds and their donors. Click a candidate's name, and an alphabetical list of donors appears. Click the donor's name for background information, plus the date of the donation.
The Federal Election Commission
is a government organization whose charge is to administer and enforce federal campaign finance laws. This site maintains detailed records of candidate funding. Go to “Disclosure Data Search
” for information on candidate and party summaries. You can also do an individual search for specific donors or search by committees or organizations that have donated. Or use the “Candidate Search
” option to look up specific candidate records.
For finance reform information …
is an organization dedicated to "holding power accountable." This site explains the imbalance in political spending and campaign finance; it details how huge corporate contributions put corporate interest before the rights and needs of individual citizens. The site makes it easy to learn about the issue and get involved, either through a free membership or by signing petitions.
The Campaign Finance Institute
is a nonpartisan organization affiliated with The George Washington University. The Institute conducts objective research on corporate finance and seeks to educate the public on the importance of policy change in the field of campaign finance. You’ll get updates on the issue as well as current studies that highlight how each party handles its campaign finances.
For information on how you can contribute …
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