Twitter has consistently embraced its status as one of the go-to platforms for political dialog. With the 2014 congressional midterm elections less than a week away, the company is launching its #Election2014 data dashboard and partnering with news organizations to build informative data visualizations.
"The data you’ll find in the #Election2014 dashboard is pulled from a curated list of relevant hashtags, @usernames and other related keywords," writes Adam Sharp, Twitter's head of news, government, and elections, on the Twitter Media Blog. "We update it daily around 1 a.m. ET (in other words, it measures the Twitter conversation from midnight to midnight)."
Screengrab via Twitter
Twitter's dashboard allows you to analyze topics by state or district, offering a window into the conversations that are dominating House and Senate elections. The local pages also list the candidates in the gubernatorial, Senate, and House races, with follow buttons embedded right next to their names and pictures.
Each local page includes not only an embedded feed of locally geotagged tweets and a list of top stories, but also a breakdown of the genders and ages of users in that location.
Unsurprisingly, President Barack Obama is the top issue in most states. Terrorism is usually the second-biggest issue.
Screengrab via Twitter
Twitter's media partners for this election visualization initiative include USA Today and MSNBC. While the cable channel's offering is little more than a few embeds of what Twitter's dashboard already offers, USA Today built a nice breakdown of each issue by age, gender, and location. The visualizations allow users to see, for example, that immigration and border security are most important to people who are older, male, and living in or near border states (thus Arizona and Nevada).
Screengrab via USA Today
KUSA-TV, a local Denver station, is also partnering with Twitter on this project. Their story presents demographic breakdowns of Twitter activity about Colorado politics in general, the Senate race between Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R), and the gubernatorial contest between Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Bob Beauprez (R). What is interesting about their findings is that, while there is a lot of talk about Colorado politics (around 18,000 tweets as of Wednesday), there is far less activity (1,000 tweets) about the Senate race and even less (a measly 500 tweets) about the governor's race.
Twitter's full election dashboard can found here. The midterm elections will take place next Tuesday, Nov. 4. Don't forget to vote.
Illustration by Jason Reed