Thursday, October 14, 2010

Visualizing Election Ratings

63% of people like Polls

According to Wikipedia, the first known example of an opinion poll was a local straw poll conducted by The Harrisburg Pennsylvanian in 1824, showing Andrew Jackson leading John Quincy Adams by 335 votes to 169 in the contest for the United States Presidency.

Polling has become a lot more popular since then, and these days any major election will have many polls covering it. Most of the time, a news article will mention just one or two, and it can be hard to see the differences between one poll and another. So we’re happy to be providing a comprehensive Election Ratings Tracker for the 2010 U.S. Senate, Congressional, and Governor races.

This interactive map visualizes the latest data from a variety of the major national polling institutions, color-coding the polygons by projected winner, and letting you quickly see details for any jurisdiction.

We used the App Engine Cron Service to parse the data feeds into thirty separate Fusion Tables, styled the data with Fusion Tables' new styling options, and then built the interactive app you see in App Engine to call them all using the FusionTablesLayer class in the Maps V3 API. For the gory details on how to do this yourself, see our article on Election Ratings and Spatial Data with Fusion Tables.