Le Calcul électoral

Le Calcul électoral

Organisation: Le Journal de Montréal (Québecor Média) (Canada)

Publication Date: 04/09/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large


«Le Calcul électoral» is a web project aiming to analyse the surveys before the federal election in 2015 in Canada. Using sophisticated mathematical calculations, «Le Calcul électoral» showed how voting intentions among voters in all districts of the country were changing and how they translated in terms of number of seats for each party in the House of Commons, if elections were held at the time. «Le Calcul électoral» was carried out jointly by members of the newsroom of Le Journal de Montreal, programmers of the digital team, an expert blogger from Le Journal and a mathematician. It was published on the websites of Journal de Montreal and the Journal de Québec, September 25, 2015 until the election of 19 October. «Le Calcul électoral» included: 1- A main webpage consists of several interactive whiteboards with results updated almost daily, as in as new data were available. ( http://www.journaldemontreal.com/elections2015/calcul-electoral ) 2- In an objective of transparency, we wrote a methodology page explaining and unveiling all the calculations and mathematical models used ( http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/09/25/le-calcul-electoral-note-methodologique ) 3- Analysis notes written by our expert blogger were published throughout the country to help the reader get a better understanding of the projections obtained through the electoral calculation. 4- Another dynamic webpage consisting of a simulation tool (Le Simulateur du Calcul électoral), where you could change the data and see how it would affect the projections of Le Calcul. ( http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/10/04/le-simulateur-du-calcul-electoral---quarriverait-il-si ) Results «Le Calcul électoral» was a huge success, from the critics and the experts (even from the competition) and also a public success. We reached more that 250 000 pageviews.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

There are many projects of that type in many countries. We think ours was different for a couple of reasons, mostly: transparency and use of facts and empirical observations instead of approximations. At all stages of this project, we favored four basic scientific principles. First, our approach emphasizes transparency. Each component of our approach is explicitly stated and quantified, which in principle should allow anyone who wants to put the time and effort to replicate our results. This will also allow those who wish to criticize our approach to know on what basis to do it. Then, to the extent possible, we have sought to rest the main components of our model conversion of the seats in survey data on verifiable empirical basis rather than arbitrary approximations. In addition, we have sought to account for the uncertainty surrounding the extent of the main components of our model in the presentation of our results. Finally, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by various platforms for graphic presentation, textual and numerical information, we sought to emphasize clear communication, accessible and integrates the results of our analysis. The full description of the methodology can be found here: http://www.journaldemontreal.com/2015/09/25/le-calcul-electoral-note-methodologique . It's important to state that we disclose (on the blog post cited earlier) ALL the mathematical formulas we used to build this tool. This is also unique.

Technologies used for this project:

The front-end was coded in javascript. The data, stored as a Google drive worksheet, was fetched with Tabletop.js and restructured with the help of underscore.js. d3.js then handled DOM data binding and manipulations for the creation of the interactive charts and tables.
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