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? 

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? 

The Ugly Duckling [Data] All Grown Up

The everyday consumer is no stranger to data.  You don’t even have to be a data scientist to be touched by it – every day, in virtually everything you do.  It haunts us everywhere – in stock tickers, ad campaign dashboards, political polls, March Madness statistics, office KPI reports, board meetings, and our personal finance alerts.

In recent months though, the subject of big data has become a larger one. It regularly frequents blogs ranging from Tim O’Reilly to Jeff Bullas to Giga.Om.  Some might even say it feels like the song and dance we’ve experienced with mobile technology over the last five years -  “this is the year for mobile” – only to see it ride steadily with no significant bursts in innovation or consumer adoption trends.

Well, honey, the duckling is a swan. Mobile is here. And data …well, it’s growing up.

First, data visualization is here to stay.

What used to be reserved for data junkies and designers, has gone mainstream. With plug-n-play, interactive charting tools for anyone with  a little access to data sets and a decent eye for copy and design…you can_have_charts. Lots of them. Just check out the number of charts  - info graphics, mini info graphics, data illustrations and standard charts – that float across the blogosphere and Pinterest.

Second, data just got way easier to crunch and share.

It’s not perfect yet, but it certainly has gotten easier. On iCharts, it’s only a 3-step process: Upload, Choose Template, Publish. And if you so choose, add a fourth by Sharing it with all your favorite people via blog, Facebook, Pinterest and more.

Third, interactive charts are expanding to enhance surveys.  

(Reader Beware: This one’s a teaser for what lies ahead.) But yes, if you regularly use survey data and even like to share results with friends, peers and colleagues, you will soon have accessible, time-effective tools at your disposable. Think Survey Monkey, on steroids. #awesome

Need a little more to chew on? Check out the iCharts User Guide or FAQs section to get you started with your next data – err, charting – creation.