The Price of Petrol

How much does a gallon of milk cost? That, of course, is one of the classic election questions asked of candidates to see how in touch they are with the common man. But the same can be understood by enquiring whether or not they know how much a gallon of petrol or gasoline costs. And Bloomberg asked that very same question of the United States relative to the rest of the world. And as it turns out, here in the States, fueling our automobiles is, broadly speaking, not as painful as it would be in other countries.

The piece includes the below dot plot, where different countries are plotted on the three different metrics and the dots are colour coded by the country’s geographic region. But as is usually the case with data on geographies, the question of geographic pattern arises. And so the same three metrics presented in the dot plot are also presented on a geographic map. Those three maps are toggled on/off by buttons above the map.

How the US ranks compared to the rest of the world
How the US ranks compared to the rest of the world

A really nice touch that makes the piece applicable to an audience broader than the United States is the three controls in the upper-right of the dot plot. They allow you to control the date, but more importantly the currency and the volume. For most of the world, petrol is priced in litres in local currencies. And the piece allows the user to switch between gallons and litres and from US dollars to the koruna of the Czech Republic.

Credit for the piece goes to Tom Randall, Alex McIntyre, and Jeremy Scott Diamond.

Moderate Voters

In US presidential politics, the common sense truth is that candidates run to the wings of the parties to get primary voters. They say ridiculous, inane things, but with the hope to walk them back later. Why? Because while they commonly run to the outsides edges during primary season, candidates recognise that in the election itself, victory comes from the moderates. And yesterday, the Economist published a really nice piece on this point.

Moderate voters vote in the autumn
Moderate voters vote in the autumn

For a sample of battleground states, the Economist examined who voted in the recent primaries versus who voted in the last general election. Given the aforementioned common thinking, not surprisingly self-identified Democrats voted in droves for the Democratic primaries. And self-identified Republicans voted in the Republican primaries. When one looks at the historical 2012 data, however, with the exception (barely) of North Carolina, moderates out voted Democrats and Republicans in all the battleground states.

Not every chart needs to show revolutionary data. Sometimes data can simply validate widely-held truths that people know without knowing the data and facts behind them. And that is what this piece from the Economist does.

Credit for the piece goes to the Economist Data Team.

Basketball Finals

So the basketball finals begin tonight with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the Golden State Warriors. This is also the part of the post where I fully admit I know almost nothing about basketball. I did, however, catch this so-labelled infographic from ESPN contrasting the two teams.

Point differential
Point differential

What I appreciate at this piece is that ESPN labelled it an infographics. And while the data might be at times light, this is more a data-rich experience than most infographics these days. Additionally the design degrades fairly nicely as your browser reduces in size.

The chart formats themselves are not too over-the-top (that seemed like a decent basketball pun when I typed it out) with bars, line, and scatter plots. Player illustrations accent the piece, but do not convey information as data-encoded variables. I quibble with the rounded bar charts for the section on each team’s construction, but the section itself is fascinating.

I might not know most of the metrics’ definitions, but I did not mind reading through the piece.

Go Red Sox.

Credit for the piece goes to Luke Knox and Cun Shi.

Where Is Pennsyltucky?

So last week I mentioned Pennsyltucky in my blog post about Pennsylvania’s forthcoming importance in the election. And then on Friday I shared a humourous illustrated map of Pennsylvania that led into an article on Pennsyltucky. But where exactly is it?

Luckily for you, I spent a good chunk of my weekend trying to find some data on Pennsylvania and taking a look at it. You can see and read the results over on a separate page of mine.

Where is Pennsyltucky?
Where is Pennsyltucky?

Trump Conservatism

Another Tuesday, more primary and caucus victories for Donald Trump in his quest to become the Republican nominee. However one of the refrains you hear from the right is that he is not a true conservative. How true is that? Well the BBC put together an article comparing Trump to the other candidates and some previous Republican presidents on various issues like foreign policy.

Republicans on foreign policy
Republicans on foreign policy

Okay, so it sort of works with cutout photos of people pasted onto an American flag background. But I cannot quite take the piece seriously because of its amateurish design. Maybe the American flag makes sense as a background graphic? But the heads? Surely not.

So what happens if we take a more serious approach—though I admit originally the idea of a Trump candidacy seemed farcical—to this graphic? Well I took a quick stab this morning.

My take
My take

Credit for the original goes to the BBC graphics department.

Predicting the UK General Election Results

(To be fair, I forgot to schedule to publish this post before I left somehow.)

Your humble author is still on holiday. So, today, you can enjoy a nice interactive piece from FiveThirtyEight that predicts the results of the 7 May general election. Of particular interest, the box part of the plot that shows the 90% confidence range.

Dot plotting the results
Dot plotting the results

The piece also has a choropleth map. My only feature request(s) would be to have a zoom feature for urban constituencies and/or to have a search field that allows the user to see the predicted results for a specific constituency.

Credit for the piece goes to Matthew Conlen and Ritchie King.

Boston’s Snowy 2015

Boston has finally had it. And by it I mean the snowfall that broke the record. And by record I mean the record for the most snowfall in a year. Well, at least since they started recording it in 1872. The Washington Post has a nice chart placing the season not just in context, but also showing how quickly the snow fell. Most of the snow has fallen only from 25 January onward. And winter is not yet over.

DC is puny compared to  Boston

Credit for the piece goes to Kevin Uhrmacher.

American Football Videogames

This week we have been looking at baseball (and Leonard Nimoy’s Star Trek). Today, we are going to turn to a sport I know nothing about: American football video games. Okay, so video games are not really a sport, but they are based on a sport. The reason I bring it up? FiveThirtyEIght has a really nice two-article story on how the Madden game franchise uses ratings to build characters for the game.

Rate yourself
Rate yourself

The above graphic is an interactive part of the story that lets you compare yourself to the real sports people, as estimated by the video game company. The second article in the story then builds upon that by using a reporter as a basis to test/understand the ratings.

And pay attention to the sidebar content. It’s actually worth heeding for once.

Credit for the piece goes to Reuben Fischer-Baum.

Baseball Is (Almost) Back

As the title says, baseball is almost back. Red Sox spring training games begin as the Red Sox take on Northeastern today. The off-season is perhaps the hardest part of the year for a fan, because unless you take super interest in trades, there is no baseball. But what about on Twitter? Well, today’s piece is an article from Fangraphs that looks at team-by-team off-season Twitter use.

Twitter engagement
Twitter engagement

Personally, I am not really a fan of the graphic. As a static image, it does not allow me to easily compare the different retweets or favourites. But, in the aggregate, you can see that the Seattle Mariners are perhaps the most active Twitter account.

Credit for the piece goes to Sean Dolinar.

Presidents Day Popularity Contests

Yesterday was Presidents Day and I had the day off. So today’s post is a bit late, but it still works. Pew Research Centre pulled together data they had on presidential popularity from Eisenhower to Obama. The data point was job approval.

There has been a widening polarity gap
There has been a widening polarity gap

Credit for the piece goes to the graphics department of the Pew Research Centre.