What Would It Take To Swing the Election?

What Would It Take To Swing the Election?

Organisation: FiveThirtyEight (United States)

Publication Date: 04/09/2016

Size of team/newsroom:large


What does it take to swing an election one direction or another? This project let users control both the turnout and Republican-Democratic vote share for five demographic groups, revealing which U.S. states would be “flipped” if these groups voted differently than they did in 2012. This could be used to reveal some interesting insights: If the GOP could split the Hispanic vote instead of losing 71-29, Florida, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada would be under their control. It also let users devise some more far-fetched scenarios. What if national turnout was 100 percent? What if all college-educated white voters stayed home? Through a series a scatter plots and tables accompanying the election maps, this project taught users about the underlying demographics and voting patterns of each state.

What makes this project innovative? What was its impact?

Demographic components of U.S. elections are widely discussed, but it’s rare to find large-scale interactives that investigate these trends in such detail. This interactive also does an excellent job conveying a critical point about elections: increasing voter turnout for groups sympathetic to your cause is at least as important as trying to win over the other side. The design of the interactive is innovative as well. The animated, cartogram-esque maps at the top of the interactive nicely represent the “flipping” mechanism. In combination with the draggable user input pads, they create an interactive interface that we’ve seen nowhere else.

Technologies used for this project:

This project was built using d3.
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