Visualize the U.S. Election

Visualize the U.S. ElectionThe Presidential election season is awash with data as journalists, pundits, and the candidates themselves try to guess at the outcome. Much of this data comes from the myriad opinion polls conducted across the nation — telephone questionnaires each involving hundreds or thousands of people. Despite reported vagaries and statistical biases, polling data often goes unscrutinized by journalists and readers, thereby ignoring the nuance behind the numbers. 

To help remedy this, the Huffington Post’s Pollster division has collected polling data from tens of thousands of opinion polls dating back to 2004, and they’re painstakingly adding 40-50 per week in the runup to the election. All this data has been made available to developers and designers through their Pollster API. By compiling and aggregating opinion poll data, Pollster offers a picture of what the country thinks and allows us to discuss poll data with greater transparency and insight.  

Your challenge is to visualize the 2012 U.S. Election through the lens of the Huffington Post’s Pollster data. What is the best way to present aggregated poll data for visual analysis? What stories can you draw out of these opinion polls, and how can they be related to other data sources? What can you discover about the opinion polling itself?

Data and Resources

Main Dataset: Huffington Post Pollster API

The API is designed to work well with Javascript, Ruby, Python, and R.

Entries must use data from the Pollster API; it is encouraged, but not required, that the visualization use live, up-to-date data. The use of additional open data sets is encouraged: mix the Pollster data with outside information or statistics that offer a new perspective on the opinion polls.

The Huffington Post Pollster data is provided under CC License.


The winning designer and visualization will be featured on Huffington Post in an interview to discuss their project and process.
The designer will also receive a $2,500 cash prize, courtesy of GE.  


Mark Blumenthal, Founder of and Senior Polling Editor, Huffington Post
Simon Jackman, Professor, Department of Political Science and Department of Statistics, Stanford University
Andrei Sheinkman, Huffington Post
Amanda Terkel, Senior Political Reporter and Politics Managing Editor, Huffington Post
Representatives from Visualizing and GE 


Visualizations will be judged on the following criteria:

Understanding (10 Points): How effectively does the visualization communicate? How well does it help you make sense of this issue?
Originality (5 Points): Are the approach and design innovative?
Style (5 Points): Is the visualization aesthetically compelling?



The winning visualization: Balance of Power by Felix Gonda.

Read the recap to see the Honorable Mentions and see all of the entries.

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