Elections Fever: Swing State Trends, Voter Turnout and Controversy

T-minus 21 days to Elections Day, November 6!
Will you vote? How will you vote?

Election fever is reaching a new pitch and, like many others, iCharts continues to track milestones and highlights by-the-numbers to document the course of this year’s political story. A few themes have become stand-outs as the world debates what will define results on November 6. Below are a few we’ve been tracking at iCharts.

Swing States Twitter Trends

There are seven states we’re capturing Twitter mentions for on a weekly basis with a little help from Peoplebrowsr’s API. Curious what last week looked like? Check out trends, by state, based on Twitter candidate mentions for week ending October 13.

New Hampshire

Voter Turnout 

For as much buzz as the Presidential Elections get every four years, only 64.1% turned out to the polls in 2008. It was seen at the biggest turnout since 1908, with a higher-than-norm appearance from the Democratic party and lag amongst Republicans.

In 2008, the boost for the Democratic party came largely from higher-than-average turnout rates amongst the Hispanic and African-American community. In 2012, it remains to be seen if this trend will carry forward as new voter registrations for these demographics and young people have been going down in recent years.

Controversial Topics

Over coming weeks you’ll continue to see iCharts publish data points about opinions on government control (see below chart), foreign policy, job creation and healthcare.

What topics are you most focused on to make your choice on November 6? We’d love to hear from you to spark new charting projects through November.

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.

Elections and Technology: The Transformational Shifts of 2012

At iCharts, it’s fair to say we’re a little data obsessed. We’re particularly data obsessed as it relates to this year’s U.S. Presidential Election.

Why? Because we’re witnessing, first-hand, dramatic shifts in how voters and politicians interact with one another based on technological advances in recent years.  Entertaining or serious, it’s come a long way in four years and even farther in the last two hundred.

Campaign Tracking in the 1800s







Campaign Tracking in 2012







Mashable’s Politics Transformed
 has had some great observations about this shift, highlighting a wide array of factors, all fueled by technological advances, that are shifting political behavior.

Real-Time Communications Have Been Accelerated By…

  • Mobile platforms and increased use of such as primary or secondary news sources
  • Social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) where over 30% of the world spends their time on a daily basis. An Experian-Hitwise chart on iCharts puts more emphasis on this, showing week-over-week how Social consistently leads the pack on where voters seek and share information about candidates.

We Have More Accessibility to (Decision-Driving) Data

  • InfoUSA, Acxiom, Votizen and more are defining how User Data is collected to improve voter targeting via email, social, display media and search channels.
  • Candidate Data is also more rapidly collected and shared, be it poll stats, funding-raising information, or an analysis of how xyz candidate is marketing themselves on the web.

Visual Social Marketing Is the New Form of Communication

  • We touched on this topic a few weeks ago, but worth noting again that visualization tools are changing the way we share information. The explosion of cloud-based interactive, design and data-rich visualizations are proof that how-we-consume-content has changed forever.  Marketers and political candidates alike must face the reality that technology has sped up the frequency and format in how we engage with news, creating an insatiable appetite for uber visual, bite-size news stories versus long-form, text-centric articles.

Which elements do you believe will define which candidate wins on Election Day? 

Trending Debate Topics and the Hispanic Vote

If you spent any time on social media Wednesday night, chances are you were just as bombarded with news on the presidential candidate debates as people watching them live on television from their homes, offices, or the many bars and restaurants who hosted viewing venues.

We organized data collected by PeopleBrowsr to see what debates-related stories people were tweeting about most, and the results display some major themes surrounding this year’s race to presidency.

As you can see, some of the more generic terms like #debate and #debate2012 were the most popularly used. However - other trending hashtags like #zing and #mittlies reveal the popular discussions that had everyone glued to this event. These highlights were collected over a 24 hour period before, during, and after the event to capture the excitement from every angle.

We can also tell that Twitter users were significantly more talkative about Romney than Obama during the Debate, which is an uptick from norm weekly Twitter mention trends showing Twitter users tend to converse more frequently about Obama. Nonetheless, it is impossible to tell whether these mentions were positive or negative, and so measuring each candidate’s popularity by sheer numbers would be a complicated and confusing task.

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It’s Beginning to Look Alot Like…Holiday Season!

Hard to believe we’re approaching that time of year when jack-o-lanterns haunt stoops, when kids ramble around in costumes, when fall dinner parties kick in and when xmas shopping begins.

But - it’s here! And with it, comes a series of fun facts and retail forecasts worth sharing.


Fun Facts via National Retail Federation

Retail % Increase in Spend Forecasts (Nov-Dec ’12)

“You have to be confident to spend, but because you’re confident doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll spend.” Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist at Gallup Poll

  • 4.1% increase (NRF)
  • 3.3% increase (ShopperTrak)

To read the full AP release story, read more here.

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?

The Rise of the Visual Social Media Era

An article today on Fast Company caught our eye. It could not have more eloquently positioned the rhyme and reason for iCharts’ role in the larger publishing industry. And the rapid shift to use of visualizations to create and share stories.

Simply put - consumers, the voice of the people - engage at a more rapid pace with visual content. We saw a similar shift when online video became a more accessible medium for publishers and everyday consumers. The same is now happening with photos, infographics and charts.

The fundamental value-add of including photos, videos or data-driven charts versus a long-form, text-only article hasn’t changed much over the years. These elements have, and always will, improve reader engagement.

But what has changed, and is visibly seen in research and consumer feedback, is that we - the people - are much more apt to discuss something with our social peers that is uber visual and in a format that’s easily distributed and consumed by a scanning, A.D.D. society.

A few snippets from the post for your reading pleasure:

“Pictures have…become a short form way of communicating lots of information quickly and succinctly….The need for publishers to get to the point quicker than ever came about as humans became more pressed for time and content became more infinite. For publishers, it was evolve or risk losing their audience, and the only thing shorter than a tweet or post is a picture.”

The “trend toward the visual is…influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. As more people engage with social media via smartphones…”

“A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.”

How will you embrace this trend? 

Our Side of the Story: Jan 1 to Sept 21, 2021

It’s Friday, nearly 3p PST and most of the world is out enjoying their weekend. At iCharts, we’re not there yet… but will be soon!

But before we join the happy hour crowds, pick up our children from school, or figure out what’s for dinner….we want to share what’s been going on at iCharts in 2012, this week and earlier. Even we, in our busy lives can tend to forget how far we’ve come and what changes are happening behind the walls of Plug and Play SV, where we’re based, and around the globe at remote offices in Germany, India and Australia.

iCharts, as an organization, has always been moving and shaking after it’s initial launch at TechCrunch50 but spent most of the first few years securing clients and building a product that would scale to everyday charters. Mission accomplished! With clients such as CocaCola, IDC, YouGov, MarketWatch and more…iCharts was on the roadmap and geared up for a strong Series A funding found.

Then again in the last six months, iCharts has made significant leaps to push out into the larger data visualization space with an emphasis on enabling publishers - big or small - to tell their story more effectively with a cloud-based charting tool.

Since it’s almost year-end, we thought we’d give you a mini breakdown of 2012 so far.

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Now Live in Beta! Elections 2012 ChartChannel

Presidential Elections - what an exciting time in US history to engage in topics that impact our everyday lives, today and tomorrow. To express our personal passion for politics and to expose the data-centricity of the event, please welcome our newest ChartChannel section: Elections 2012.

Fun Facts About the Project

  • There will be Live! and adhoc interactive charts to rummage through at your leisure, close to 100 charts by time this section closes in November. 
  • Live! charts will be updated on a weekly basis to reflect ongoing US sentiment surrounding the Elections
  • Adhoc charts will pull from a wide array of trending stories and open data sources such as Real Clear Politics, Pew, and more. 

Sneak Peek Info

We have (3) formal data partners who are kicking this project off with us, each with very unique (data) perspectives on what-people-are-saying and how-voters-behave.

The first Live! charts to post are from Experian-Hitwise. In coming weeks you’ll see charts from our other partners, plus charts from partners we haven’t yet announced.

Want to become partner for the Elections 2012 ChartChannel? Please contact us.

Don’t Forget To…
Bookmark the event page, add to your RSS feed list, subscribe to receive ChartChannel email alerts. And of course, VOTE on November 6!

Sample Live! Chart

Sample Adhoc Chart


Introducing the (New) iCharts User Guide

You want to create a chart, now, right? You specifically want to create a chart on iCharts to include interactive features and embed on your blog, but how?

The newly refurbished iCharts User Guide walks you through the essentials to getting started. How to create, design and share your chart masterpieces with the world in the shortest amount of time possible, with fewer tools and without any coding or design expertise.

Take a whirl here:

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