About Rachel Davidson

Rachel is an undergraduate at Santa Clara University studying journalism with a passion for writing and a thirst for adventure. She spends her free time running, hiking, and exploring all other outdoor activities. Hailing from Portland, OR, she considers herself an environmentalist and has studied a number of courses involved in sustainability and eco-justice. Rachel also spends a good deal of time volunteering and impacting her community in the most positive way possible. As the Director of Member Development of her sorority Alpha Phi, she is extremely loyal to the people around her and holds a steadfast dedication to any project she pursues.

Election Themes and Debate Schemes

Elections fever is in full swing with ballots due in less than two weeks, and Americans are taking to heart everything each candidate says.

In the third and final presidential debate, Obama and Romney voiced over each others opinions about the topic of the evening: Foreign Policy. Each candidate deliberated what their plans were for Libya, Iran, and Israel while ABC News provided audiences with a cheat sheet to recap all that was said.

Previous to the debate night, Gallup conducted a poll asking men and women which topics would influence their votes the most on Election Day. Unemployment, international issues, healthcare, deficit and debt, and birth control were all under the spotlight as key determinants for the 2012 race.

The poll results indicate that men and women - for the majority of the time - agree on the importance of most issues. But there is a substantial difference in the way that either gender view the relevance of foreign policy when casting their ballot. A difference of 7% shows that women are more concerned about the way that either Obama or Romney would handle international issues, as opposed to other hot topics.

Understandably, women and men also differed significantly on the issue of birth control, where women pegged this topic as important 21% more than men did. And even though foreign policy was high on women’s list, their main priority still lay with unemployment, only 2% below what men voted.

How will these issues shape your opinion of either candidate on Election Day? Stay tuned for more coverage on these topics and more on ChartChannel/Elections 2012.

Hit or Miss? Tracking Presidential Candidate Website Traffic

Over the last few decades, the internet has evolved into a treasure trove of information, research, and data. Most of us turn to the web as an all-knowing resource whenever we have questions to be asked or itches to be scratched.

As we’ve discussed before, social media users have a notable influence in the way people vote. Not only is it easier to share information via social networks, but these collective communities tend to vote similarly. (See related Mashable story)

But how else can the internet predict where voters might cast their ballot? We turn to the first place any campaign-information-craving citizen would go: the official website of each presidential candidate.

Experian‘s Hitwise division has been partnered with iCharts since June to showcase the ebb and flow of traffic based on pivotal campaign events and organic inquiries of citizens seeking information. It’s easy to understand why the numbers rise steadily as we get closer to elections, but there are a number of areas where spikes in website clicks call our attention to the events circling that date.

For example, in the last 90 days the biggest increase in online traffic to Obama’s website happened between September 6 and 7; the same day that the Democratic National Convention was held and the subsequent day when media was abuzz with stats and facts from his speech. The same spike occured for Romney on the day he gave his GOP Convention Speech. Yet no matter how large the scale of any Republican event or speech, the hits on Romney’s website have not come close to the President’s.

So, what does this data mean for Election Day results? Truth is, it could be telling of many things:

  • People simply want to know more about each candidate’s policies and they’re reading up on campaign updates.
  • The demographics of online behavior are beginning to shape offline behavior. Undeniably search and social traffic is driven by key age groups and backgrounds.
  • Or, new voter registration, volunteering or donating to either campaign are on the rise.

But the biggest mystery - do these numbers reflect who will receive more votes on November 6?

Let us know what lingering questions you have about the campaigns and keep an eye out on our Live! Elections 2012 ChartChannel to see what topics are trending across the nation.

Changing Minds May Change the Tides

Last Wednesday’s presidential debate was surprising not for all that was said, but in the way that the hour and a half long segment changed the way that the country saw each candidate. Social media was buzzing about both Obama and Romney’s performances, almost even more than the actual topics either was covering.

Pew Research Center compared the public’s perceptions for each candidate the three days following the October 4th debate with information collected weeks before - and the results were telling.

The data shows a significant difference in public opinion between the two time periods.

The first we can see is the rising belief that Romney is a strong leader, tying him with Obama at 44%; whereas before, the Democratic party had a noticeable lead at 51%.

Another standout comparison is Obama’s continuing lead over Romney on being able to connect well with ordinary Americans. However, this number is down 7% since Romney’s performance at the debate, clearly indicating how Americans’ perspectives changed about the Republican candidate.

It seems as though some may have lost confidence in their contender, while others found theirs in the opposing side. Could this have changed after last night’s vice presidential debates? Will any of these figures have enough impact to sway the vote come Election Day?

Only 27 days until these questions and more are answered. Be sure to keep an eye on our Live! Elections 2012 page for weekly updated charts, keeping you current on hot topics circling around this year’s presidential race.

Want to learn more about iCharts? Sign-up for our next monthly live! demo webinar on October 17th.

Gendered Politics - Who’s Talking About Who?

Countless outlets - both in and out of media - are being used today to advertise and promote this year’s presidential candidates, one of the most influential being social networking. Trending likes, reposts, and retweets all weigh in on the digital discussion that’s changing the way our country does politics.

With the help of our partner sites, we’ve been tracking Twitter mentions and other trending elections-related news to find out how people are using social media to predict the turnout of this year’s presidential elections. One of the most interesting: How often males and females tweet about each candidate.

Chart: Daily Presidential Candidate Mentions by Gender on TwitterDescription: Male or Female? Who’s Dominating the Conversation by Candidate on Twitter?Tags: icharts, peoplebrowsr, kred, twitter, data, visualization, gender mentions, presidential candidates, elections, 2012, infographicAuthor: charts powered by iCharts

So far, it seems as though men are more likely to tweet about either candidate. PeopleBrowsr collected data that showed men posting more than 70,000 tweets above that which women were. Of both men and women, the name Romney was used more often than Obama by 255,199 to 217,771: a difference of 37,428 tweets.

What does this data say about the election? Are women more reluctant to discuss these candidates or less politically-inclined? And is Romney’s online popularity going to skyrocket him above the Obama campaign? Not necessarily.

The most important thing to remember about this data is that these are mentions. We can’t tell which of these tweets are positive or negative, so we can’t be sure who’s actually being favored in the online social world - quite yet, that is.

As for the delegation among genders, we know the female population are commanding contributors to social media sites. We’d simply like to hear more of what they have to say about politics.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Live! Elections 2012 charts for info on swing states and more, updating weekly so you can keep track of who’s talking about who. iCharts has teamed up with PeopleBrowsr and Experian to keep our readers up-to-date with elections news and to better help you answer the question: Who will come out on top this November?