Your Chance to Vote ... For Your Favorite Election Graph!


Elections in the US are a 'target rich environment' for data analysts. There are surveys and forecasts before the election, and the presentation of results during and after the voting. What's your favorite election-related graph of all time?

For the current (2016) presidential election, my favorite graphs are on the fivethirtyeight.com website. They have a nice map, and a really nice line plot (see partial screen-captures below, and click on the images to see the real thing). They put a lot of thought into these graphs, and they contain a lot of information. The best part is that they use several data sources, and update their graphs any time new data is available (often several times a day!). They also allow you to plot the data in several different ways (such as popular vote, electoral vote, chance of winning), via buttons above the graph, and along the left side of the page. (Based on their articles, I think they might be slightly biased towards Hillary, so keep that in mind when you view their graphs -- aside from that little caveat, these are some great graphs.)

So, what other types of graphs might be helpful in understanding the flood of data around election time? Over the years, I've created quite a few election-related graphs, and I've now pulled them together into one location for your easy viewing. Click the screen-capture below to go to my samples page, where you can drill into each graph thumbnail to see all the details. Note that when you click the text-link below the thumbnails, there's a link to the SAS code, and I've also added links to previous blogs about the graphs. (Are you overwhelmed yet!?! Hahaha!)

election_cap

election_cap2

Did any of my graphs catch your attention? Which one is your favorite? And which election-related graph (other than mine) is your favorite? Feel free to leave your reply in a comment, and elaborate on what you do and don't like in election graphs!

This content was reposted from the SAS Learning Post. Go there to view the original.

Robert Allison, The Graph Guy!, SAS

Robert Allison has worked at SAS for more than 20 years and is perhaps the foremost expert in creating custom graphs using SAS/GRAPH. His educational background is in computer science, and he holds a BS, MS, and PhD from North Carolina State University. He is the author of several conference papers, has won a few graphic competitions, and has written a book calledSAS/GRAPH: Beyond the Basics.

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Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 12/28/2016 9:37:49 AM
NO RATINGS

The hotspot type of maps seem to readily capture my attention, maybe because I tend to look at weather maps a lot, and can easily and quickly see just how temperatures stack up around the county. Similarly, a political map likewise ordered allows my eyes and hopefully my brain to make some quick analysis of what's going on.

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/14/2016 5:43:04 PM
NO RATINGS

Yes, just like the race track, some "bettors" appeared at the last minute before the race, changing the odds a bit. But odds are just odds and not a guarantee of who is the ultimate winner of the race. Even a long shot has a chance to win over the "favorite."

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/12/2016 7:04:48 PM
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@Terry the kids know best!

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/11/2016 7:00:32 PM
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Ha! Yes, the trends are clear here, @tinym!

Take that, jumbotron touchscreen fanatics.

Getting warm
  • 11/11/2016 6:59:16 PM
NO RATINGS

Thanks for assembling this amazing array of data depictions, Robert! I really liked the "Votes by Hotspot," graphic, especially for areas where the counties are enormous but the population is tiny.

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/9/2016 1:49:51 PM
NO RATINGS

Ahh! Yes, it appears the pollsters mistakenly assumed the Trump supporters would respond to their polls. It appears the "silent majority" waited until election day to make their preference known.

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/9/2016 1:42:34 PM
NO RATINGS

I meant very bad predictors of this election.

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/9/2016 1:22:58 PM
NO RATINGS

'these' (the examples in my collection) are all from previous elections - are you sure they're all wrong? :)

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/9/2016 12:40:09 PM
NO RATINGS

These all turned out to be wrong.

Re: The right graph for the occasion
  • 11/9/2016 12:33:02 PM
NO RATINGS

@Robert

You're right of course, the shapes are nearly unrecognizable.

I've seen other projections, which try to keep the shapes the same; but the population densities are so large that any solution adds a lot of distortion.

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