Predicting the Electoral College

Well the Democratic DC primaries were last Tuesday and Hillary Clinton won. So now we start looking ahead towards the July conventions and then the November elections. Consequently, if a day is an eternity in politics we have many lifespans to witness before November. But that does not mean we cannot start playing around with electoral college scenarios.

The Wall Street Journal has a nice scenario prediction page that leads with the 2012 results map, in both traditional map and cartogram form. You can play god and flip the various states to either red or blue. But from the interaction side the designers did something really interesting. Flipping a state requires you to click and hold the state. But the speed with which it then flips is not equal for all states. Instead, the length of hold time depends upon the state’s likelihood to be a flippable state, based on the state’s partisan voter index. For example, if you try and flip Kansas, you will have to wait awhile to see the state turn blue. But try and flip North Carolina and the flip is near instantaneous.

Starting with the 2012 cartogram
Starting with the 2012 cartogram

While the geographic component remains on the right, the left-hand column features either text, or as in this other screenshot, smaller charts that illustrate the points more specifically.

Charts and cartograms and text, oh my
Charts and cartograms and text, oh my

Taken all together, the piece does a really nice job of presenting users with a tool to make predictions of their own. The different sections with concepts and analysis guide the user to see what scenarios fall within the realm of reason. But, what takes the cake is that flipping interaction. Using a delay to represent the likelihood of a flip is brilliant.

Credit for the piece goes to Aaron Zitner, Randy Yeip, Julia Wolfe, Chris Canipe, Jessia Ma, and Renée Rigdon.

Long-distance Amtrak

Today’s post is not super complex, but we all know I am a sucker for transit. Especially Amtrak. Back home on the East Coast, it runs both quickly and reliably along the Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor. But as this graphic from the Wall Street Journal shows, that does not quite hold up for the longer distance Amtrak routes. Why? Freight trains.

Long distance is always difficult
Long distance is always difficult

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

Nova Beats the Buzzer

As you may know, while I presently live in Chicago, I hail from Philadelphia. I grew up there and most of my best mates did too. And some of them attended a small school called Villanova. And as you may know, their men’s basketball programme just won the national championship in dramatic fashion. So today’s post shares with you a graphic from the Wall Street Journal that explains how Villanova won the game in the final few seconds.

The final shot won it all
The final shot won it all

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

Party Demographics

Alas, these are not the fun type of parties, but the two main US political ones. But overall, before some more primary and caucus votes tomorrow, I think this Wall Street Journal piece nicely captures and illustrates the changes in and the differences between the bases of the two parties.

The makeup of the two large US political parties
The makeup of the two large US political parties

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

Another Tuesday Another Election Day

Well, here’s another Tuesday so here’s another election day. Today we have an animation from the Wall Street Journal that succinctly shows how important this evening’s results are for Donald Trump. If he wins everything, his path to the nomination is easier, if not, it is doable, but far from easy. That sounds obvious, but it contrasts with other candidates who, if they lose, no longer have a chance.

Trump's route to the nomination
Trump’s route to the nomination

The really nice bit about this piece, however, is that at the end you can make your own predictions for each state and see how that impacts the delegate count.

Credit for the piece goes to Randy Yeip and Stuart Thompson.

Blizzard of 2016 Snowfall Totals

You may have heard that the East Coast received a wee bit of snow. Here is the snowfall map from the Wall Street Journal.

Where the snow fell
Where the snow fell

I can report that my family received 30 inches. Which makes sense, because they live somewhere near here. That’s a lot of snow.

My hometown
My hometown

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

US Fed Forecasts

Organisations that forecast things are not often inclined to go back and review their forecasts against the actual results. So that makes today’s post from the Wall Street Journal fascinating. They reviewed the Federal Reserve’s forecasts for US GDP growth against the actual growth. And it turns out the Fed consistently overestimated US growth.

US Federal Reserve Forecasts
US Federal Reserve Forecasts

From a design standpoint, what makes this piece interesting is how they presented the range of forecasts. After all, it would otherwise become a plot of squiggly spaghetti lines. Instead, they used colour to group each projection set. A smart idea. Plus a nice literary allusion. I mean if you like Dickens.

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

Job Gains

You should all know by now I am sucker for small multiples. So it should come as no surprise to you that I liked this piece from Friday from the Wall Street Journal. It looks at payroll and wage growth across various sectors in the American economy. And what I really like is that they took a space at the beginning to explain how to read the charts.

Mining, not so good
Mining, not so good

Credit for the piece goes to the Wall Street Journal graphics department.

Your Guide to the Solar System

As New Horizons will soon begin sending back photographs of Pluto, Charon, and the other moons, I figured it would be a good to share a Wall Street Journal piece that looks at the other photographed bodies of the system.

Field Guide to the Solar System
Field Guide to the Solar System

Credit for the piece goes to Jon Keegan, Chris Canipe, and Alberto Cervantes.

Fast Food on the Internets

Let’s aim for something a bit lighter today. Well, lighter in all things but calories, perhaps. Today we have a piece from the Wall Street Journal that looks at the social media presence of several large fast food brands. Overall, it has a few too many gimmicky illustrations for my comfort. But, the strength of the piece is that it does look at some real data, e.g. plotted Twitter response rates, and then contextualises it with appropriate callouts.

Who cares about your tweets?
Who cares about your tweets?

The illustrations are killing me, though.

Credit for the piece goes to Marcelo Prince and Carlos A. Tovar.