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Quarterly investment outlook: Apps to help you keep track of the 2012 election

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Talking Points Memo PollTracker

Some people use polls to uncover nuances that hold keys to the outcome of an election. Others just want to know who’s up and who’s down. Talking Points Memo’s PollTracker is made for both kinds of people and comes with a lot of analysis.

This app will give you a rundown of polls in aggregate and also let you drill down into individual reports. You can also take a closer look at, say, how presidential candidates are polling in swing states or with key voters, or how Marylanders feel about the race for the U.S. House. It’s a lot of data, but it’s packaged in a user-friendly way that makes all those numbers make a little more sense.

Free, for iOS devices.

Ad Hawk

Watching campaign ads is rarely fun, but Ad Hawk from the Sunlight Foundation aims to make the activity a little more interesting. When an ad comes on, you can hold your phone up to the television and — after a wait — the app will tell you who’s paying for the ad. The app will also tell you how much money a certain political action committee has raised and who its biggest donors are. Ad Hawk can take quite a while to puzzle through some ads but has a pretty good accuracy rate.

Although the app has limited use, you really have to admire Ad Hawk’s goal of making this election as transparent as a campaign promise -- in this case, transparent in the good sense of the word.

Free, for iOS and Android devices.

White House

Once the election is over, there’s still that whole “governing” business to address. The White House app, launched in January 2010, is a useful guide to what’s going down at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The app serves up blog posts, photos, videos and live events from the White House, as well as “briefing room” remarks and releases to keep you in the loop.

The app doesn’t pull in news articles or organize items by issue, but it’s good as a pure information tool. You can even mark favorites — for those of you wonky enough to have a favorite White House blog post.

Free, for iOS and Android devices.

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