Politics Archive:

Three very nice articles analyzing voting patterns:

Razor thin margins in important swing states:


What counties swung to the other party:


And an elegant but slightly hard to understand look at urban/rural differences:


I love how people will spend hours reading yelp to find the best tacos in town, searching for the cheapest flights for their next vacation, looking for costume accessories on etsy, comparing reviews of their next phone upgrade or amazon purchase, yet base their vote for leader of the free world on facebook rants and memes. The reviews are in. The information is available. Go read it. I will try to post some well designed site and tools to help below.

Find personalized info on your voting locations, view down-ticket matchups, and any referendum items.




Want to know how the latest polls look? 538 has the most reliable analysis


Draw Your Own Electoral Map (CNN)
Try your own hand at allocating electoral votes.


Well, actually all maps lie, in some ways or another. This is a nice article about what is wrong with election maps, and some weird maps that try to make them lie less.


I’m not sure what value these have. Tere must me tons of layering and resizing assumptions behind the result. Mostly they are just creepy.

USA presidents from 1789 to 1889:



Soviet Union 1917-1991:

Pretty wonky, but it’s a nice breakdown of content analysis.


I first posted about this awesome graph back in 2010, but it is now available from HistoryShots as print. Besides all the rare economic info, what’s fascinating to me is that this was orginally created as a piece of wall advertising. The most commonly circulated version had it as an ad for an envelope company, though I’ve seen others.



Artist Julian Oliver recreated the horrible powerpoint templates used in Edward Snowden’s leaked NSA powerpoint presentations. Awesome.




Compare high income health care spending on different kinds of care. Guess who is an outlier?


What the USA would have looked like if every succession and state partition movement had succeeded.


Interesting breakdown of the costs of military and national guard personnel, and how they’ve been used this century. (related article)

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I try to stay out of most political debates, but I want to toss a chart out to add a little perspective on the “Obama has added $6 Trillion of debt” talking point.

Check out the below chart (created in about 20 seconds using the awesome free St. Louis Fed online data tools).


The gap between the red and blue lines in each year is our deficit – that’s how much we need to borrow to keep the government running. The sum of all those deficits equals our debt. Make sense?

The rate of expenditure (red line) has been increasing pretty steadily no matter who has been president.

What has really been changing, obviously, is revenue (the blue line): first from the Bush tax cuts (2001-03), and then the recession (2008-2010; because less GDP = less tax revenue).

If you look at the end of the red line you’ll see that spending has been leveling out the past two years – for the first time in a long time. Also, revenue is increasing. We are starting down the path to fiscal recovery. We probably should be patting ourselves on the back a little, but of course no one wants to give either party any credit for this.

Personally I think we can cut expenditures AND increase revenues to close that gap (and turn it into a surplus), but nobody wants to have an adult conversation about that – thus the childlike brinkmanship and finger pointing.

A visualization of where the government spends your money (and the money it borrows).  I prefer previous years’ way of graphing the total budget in the corner with circles vs the bar chart now used.


A wonderful interactive timeline of legislation, rulings, and events related to domestic surveillance in the United States. You can drill down into each event for an explanation, and links to primary sources (like the full text of legislation, etc).


A spiffy annotated interactive visualization by the NYT on what different industries actually pay in taxes. The differences in rates between industries illustrate who is getting tax breaks. The related article is worth a read.



Immigration has always been a tough issue to deal with.


The chart reminds me of this John Stewart bit on immigration and “Traditional America”: