Tuesday, October 26, 2010
iReport election project: Live data stream

 

Whether or not you've downloaded CNN's Election Center App and participated in the iReport Election Project, you're probably interested to see what issues people think are most important for next week's midterm elections.

 

So we've crafted this nifty tool to help you view the political pulse of the country. It pulls in all the data that people are entering into the app, like their political philosophies and which issues they feel are important. You can sort by political identity to see what issues people care about most and what words they use to describe their political beliefs. You can even browse the political philosophies of iReporters who've participated, from the "pragmatic Democrat" to the "disillusioned Libertarian."

 

And! As you use the interactive tool, you might be interested to know a few "behind-the-scenes" tidbits about that word cloud on the right side of the page.

 

To create the word cloud, we took the political philosophies that people entered on the app and counted the number of times each word was used. We used a simple test that does not correct typos or abbreviations, so if someone typed "govt" it was not included in the count for "government." We did control for upper- and lowercase letters, though, so "Government" and "government" are considered the same word.

 

While we only counted single words, there are pairs of words that show up frequently. The most common word pairs are: health care; socially liberal; fiscally conservative; fiscal conservative; take care; gay marriage; lower taxes; tea party; term limits; middle class; elected officials; equal rights; free market; national defense; less government; wall street; low taxes; personal responsibility; small government.

 

We also noticed some trends in the way people used words like "more," "less," "pro," and "anti." Here are the most common results for phrases containing those words:

 

MORE:

"more personal responsibility"

"spend ... more on security"

"more for our military and veterans"

 

LESS:

"less regulation"

"less government involvement"

"less government spending"

 

PRO:

"pro-military"

"pro-second amendment"

"pro-life"

"pro-choice"

 

ANTI:

"anti-war"

"anti-tea party"

"anti-Obama"

"anti-corporate involvement in politics"

 

And the longest word used so far in a political philosophy? "Constitutionalist," at 17 letters. Other long words include "responsibilities," "inconsistencies," "conservationist" and "uncompromisingly."

 

Many thanks to CNN.com Senior Associate Producer Curt Merrill for providing us with these little factoids -- and for building that lovely data visualization in the first place.

11 Comments
October 27, 2010
Click to view Robert333's profile

as a patriotic american, and concerned citizen, i must admit to NEVER being so disenchanted & polarized during an election cycle.  NO ONE (candidates, media, society) is talking about issues &/or solutions.  the good 'ol USA is facing issues/problems never encountered before in our history; the complexities are so profound.  Society in general is stuck in this entitlement mode, and refuses to be accountable for their part in the current financial issues.  so many media icons (anyone with a microphone in front of them) are spreading lies & fear, and supporting re-hashed ideology (same message, different tea wrapper) as if it was some profund new message... and people are buying into it???  Our social fabric, draped in fear & entitlement, feel ALL the problems should be fixed in 1.5 years?  come on people... the primary financial center of the world almost disintegrated???  The quick fix mentality of our country needs to end.  ALL large changes take time to both implement, and work thru the process.  unfortunately, most people want/expect 1 pill or quick fix, to make everything better.  Society seems to refuse to be accountable, or change their approach to life or health, and even as far as continuing to accept the way our politics are both approached, and covered by the media.  It is sad we seem to be drowning, and yet the pool only keeps getting deeper.  People...have patience & a little faith in 'CHANGE'.  it appears however that fear has spawned ignorance, and forgetfulness, and with this are willing to transgress back to the same political ideologies that got us into this darn mess to begin with.   god bless america!!!

October 27, 2010
Click to view Geoffgio's profile

Vomit bags, anyone? All those little responses can be translated thusly: Please take care of me because I can't bear to face the uncertainties of life and make my way regardless of circumstances, the effect of my choices, etc. Oh, and we hate the rich and those who work to gain wealth and anyone who disagrees with us is a backward neanderthal redneck racist.

October 27, 2010
Click to view dwight's profile

Want to know what's really interesting? What is really interesting is how the Republican's and the Religious Right always begin their fear mongering campaigns during the month of October. Does anyone know why? The reason is because of Halloween. The month of October is the scariest month of the year where Republican's will try to use their extortion tactics hidden under the mask of them saying it is Halloween and I was only trying to scare you. Scare you for what reason? Their reason is that they hope they scare you enough to goto church and pay for protection against the demons and ghoul's where the money then finds it's way back into the Republican's pocket's. Dirty Dirty Republican's and Religious Right.

 

Funny how voting comes a week after October is over with where the point of people's fear is winding down and their rashness to make a coherent choice is clouded over by the stigma of Hallowee.

October 27, 2010
Click to view modera's profile

Finding lexical statistics is fine, but doesn't really say much without context. For example, I don't know if "anti-Obama" was being used in reference to their own views or in attacks on others' views (though I'd guess the latter) and, for all I know, all references to "pro-life" and "pro-choice" may have been used in supporting statements exclusively for one side of the issue.

October 27, 2010
Click to view modera's profile

@dwight

 

I don't know if you're a whack-job lefty or a troll, but you have some...interesting...thoughts.

October 28, 2010
Click to view RNButch's profile

Is this the biggest bunch of hooey ever, or what?  So if I don't own an iPhone, Crackberry, or Droid, I can't participate?  Come on CNN, you can do better than this kind of fluff.

October 28, 2010
Click to view perrault's profile

Robert333 you are right and your words were spoken well despite the frustration. I only voted for a major party for one spot (local and national) this election.  This is because the democrats and republicans are worried more about votes than fixing things.  This means that they are making promises that gets votes.  Most people vote on what is going to seemingly help them in the short term.  That brings us to the problem, which is actually the people who are voting without looking at long term implications and processes.  In a democracy people need to know enough about political issues to make informed decisions and we are just not doing that!!!!  In many ways we are all responsible for our predicament ... many friends of mine took out loans that any responsible person would not have take ... many loan officers, who get bet 6 digit numbers due to their expertise, approved these loans.  Many businesses made products that were not necessary for most people, but got loans to manufacture the products nonetheless ... Many people renting short-sale houses or going through foreclosure because the house was a second property never paid the banks what they could afford even though the had the money (they were perfectly willing to make money off rent but not willing to accept consequences for not selling when they moved) ... We only have so much money, individually and in our treasury, so we need to make sure we are spending the money efficiently and appropriately, individually and as a nation, cut back on things that are not necessary (like a $100 cell phone plan or a stupid war), and quit looking for scapegoats to blame our previous woes on!

October 28, 2010
Click to view rusty155's profile

I was always taught that both parties the REPUBLICAN and the DEMOCRATS work for the AMERICAN people. NOT to see with party had control of the House or Senate. like the REPUBLICAN S.C.GOV said party first,I always believe it was too be AMERICAN PEOPLE FIRST and both parties work for the AMERICAN PEOPLE. Not one party trying to make the President a one term President.And with the REPUBLICAN party voting NO all the time isn't working together too get thing done for the AMERICAN people. I believe one party is working for them self and not the AMERICAN PEOPLE at all. Why don't the REPUBLICAN like too tell me why they give BIG BUSINESS tax break too send are JOBS OVERSEAS AND TO MEXICO. AND it may be the first time but I would really like the truth. If most of JOBS wasn't overseas and Mexico you know the AMERICAN people may be able to find a good JOBS 

October 28, 2010
Click to view perrault's profile

Another good point Rusty.  I would like to see both Republicans and Democrats work as toward solutions for the american people and not toward prestige or the financial implications of getting reelected.  Also not campaigning for fellow party members would be a plus.  They are not paid tax dollars to try and get a buddy elected:  They are paid to work just like your managers, machinests, waiters/waitresses, highway workers, doctors, lawyers, stockers, mechanics etc....  They work for the people, but the people should also may enough attention and use enough open-minded inductive reasoning to vote out the politicians that are all fluff and no solutions.  There should be a forum for open minded people to disucss and figure out ways to disseminate open information to those who just don't understand what is going on (of course most of these forums that are theoretically oriented toward this objective become extremely biased).  The Republicans opposed slavery but look what happened to them.  The Democrats originally wanted less central government but look what happened to them.  Oh well just my 1 cent worth.

 

October 31, 2010
Click to view OutsmartMe's profile

Independent speak? How about using just plain logic? Do people tend to wonder what someone who placed 74th in the world in intelligence thinks about everyday issues? NoSuchThingAsAnOpinion nosuchthingasanopinion.weebly.com/no-such-thing-as-an-opinion.html

November 2, 2010
Click to view shunshine31's profile

Voting for me today took no more than five mins. The one bad thing I witness was people being turned around because of address. CNN I hate the way you and  your vistors are relating to our PRESIDENT by his first and last name without the use of PRESIDENT! So DISRESPECTFUL!

 

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