If you did not realise it, today is the first day of the second phase of the American presidential election process. Phase 1 was all the posturing and getting-to-know-me stuff from every candidate. A few dropped out, but now the first votes will be placed in the cold and later tonight snowy town centres of Iowa. The big story for Iowa is can Trump fend off Cruz and can Hillary fend off Bernie. (I like how we can clearly delineate the two parties by whether we use surnames or given names.)
I love election season and in particular the visualisations that go along with them. But I have been making a conscious effort not to go overboard. But that phase is over, so today we look at FiveThirtyEight’s range plots that I have enjoyed for some time now.
They are sort of like a more intuitive version of the familiar box plot. Your highest probability falls within the red—what other colour did you expect—and the average value is denoted. But you can also see that the curves are asymmetric. In short, anybody from Carson up really has a shot. But expect to see Trump or Cruz on top in Iowa.
The race, however, is not quite as exciting on the Democratic side. However, much like I am surprised that Trump is not just still running, but leading, I am surprised about Bernie Sanders’ strength. While he is further behind than Cruz is behind Trump, it is still quite possible for Iowa to “feel the Bern” as they say.
There are of course other visualisation pieces out there—on this page even—but how about we ease into the commentary? After the presidential election is much more a marathon than a sprint. Anyway, I guess we will all see how accurate these plots are come this time Tuesday.
Credit for the piece goes to the FiveThirtyEight design team.