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Political campaigns and causes have added another powerful weapon to their messaging arsenal: graphs, charts, infographics and other forms of data visualization. Over just the last year, Barack Obama urged voters to distribute and share a bar graph of job losses, a line graph of labor costs by a New York Times columnist prompted an official graphical response from the government of Spain, and an organizational chart of a health care reform bill became the subject of a Congressional investigation in the United States. To be sure, a good graph has been used as an advocacy tool for years, but only recently, with the rise of the Internet, blogs, hardware and software advances, and freely available machine readable data, political data visualizations have exploded into political discourse. Conveying objective authority, yet the product of dozens of subjective design decisions, political infographics imply hard truths despite their inherently editorial nature. This talk, given by a political data scientist who has built persuasive data visualizations for political organizations, will dissect some of the most extraordinary and powerful examples of political data visualization used over the last election cycle, focusing upon the methods that make them work so well.
Alex Lundry is Vice President and Director of Research at TargetPoint Consulting where he works as a political pollster, microtargeter, data-miner and data-visualizer. As a pollster, he has conducted surveys and moderated focus groups on subjects spanning the race for the White House all the way to big budget Hollywood movies. He is one of the country’s leading experts on electoral targeting, voter analytics and political data-mining, responsible for the microtargeting programs of presidential candidates, national membership and advocacy organizations, and Fortune 10 companies. Alex is also a creator, connoisseur and critic of political data visualizations and infographics, and his work in this field has been featured by Wired Magazine, Fast Company, and the Washington Post. In 2009, Politics Magazine named him a “Rising Star” and he is an adjunct instructor of Political Quantitative Methodology at both Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University.
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