Data Visualization Electorate polarization

Published on June 29th, 2016 | by Alexander Kostura


Visualizing What Influences Polarization in U.S. Elections

The New York Times has created a series of data visualizations called “The Voting Habits of Americans Like You” illustrating how demographic factors including race, education, gender, and age increasingly influence voting preferences in U.S. presidential elections. Using interviews from pre-election polls and data from the Census Bureau, the visualizations depict the electorate in 2012 with voter turnout on the vertical axis and support for Democrats on the horizontal axis. The charts reveal how factors like race and gender affect party choice, with racial minorities and women more likely to support Democrats. Age and education level, on the other hand, are more aligned with voter turnout, with older and more educated voters more likely to vote. An interactive visualization also allows users to find how they compare to the rest of the electorate by entering their sex, race, age, education level, and state to see how similar Americans voted. The visualizations reveal that from 2004 to 2012, the polarizing effects of these demographic factors have increased and could increase even further in the 2016 election.

Take a look.

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About the Author

Alexander Kostura is the 2016 Google public policy fellow at the Center for Data Innovation. Alex is passionate about information and communications technologies as tools for inclusive economic growth, good governance, and social welfare. He has most recently conducted research in corporate data sharing for social good, specifically in international development and humanitarian response. Alex holds a B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University and an M.A. in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

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