Campaign visualizations: the a moving picture of the national conversation
I've been working with postdoctoral fellow of mine at Northeastern and IQSS, Yu-ru Lin, on visualizations that capture campaign 2010. Over the next couple of days we will be posting some of the visualizations on the blog. The first visualization is a dynamic word cloud based on daily snapshots of all Democratic and Republican campaign websites in October. So, for example, the words for the home pages of all Democratic candidates for the House were pooled together, and for each day, a word cloud was created, where words were sized based on their frequency (certain functional words were omitted, and word counts were normalized so no one website could dominate the count). This process was repeated for Republicans in the House, and for both parties in Senate and gubernatorial races. Below we show the dynamics for the Republican and Democratic websites. For the full set of 6 graphics, with interactivity, we have set up a dedicated website.
A brief perusal suggests some interesting contrasts. You can see jobs in both websites, but more prominently for Democrats, and tax and spending are a lot more visible for Republicans. America is big for Republicans, and education for Democrats. Democrats talk more about veterans and security, and Republicans about business. Republicans use "Republican" a lot, and Democrats "Democrat" very little. Notably missing are: Iraq, Afghanistan, health, and Obama. (For health, there is an interesting contrast with Senate campaign websites, where both parties feature health very prominently.)ç