Northeastern University

Hiss boo yay

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Thursday night’s vice presidential debate is bound to be a good one. If it weren’t for the silence rules, I bet we’d be hearing lots of Hoorays and Boos from the crowd — those age-old auditory cues signaling sentiment.

Those same cues accompany David Lazer’s newest visualization, which portrays the way money is spent by the 34 most active Super PACs. The team separated each group into one of two categories, Pro-Obama or Pro-Romney, and then monitored whether it spent its money supporting its candidate or attacking the opposition. During the early days of the primaries, groups now labeled as “Pro-Romney” spent money to opposing him.

In the end, it looks like the Pro-Romney Super Pacs are the most active and have, undeniably, raised the most money, focusing most of their efforts on opposing Obama.

If you watch to the visualization with headphones, you get a sort of surround sound experience with attacks being represented by “boos” and supports with “hoorays.” Since January of 2011, the cacophony evolves from times of high positive spending to serious attack periods peppered with a few cheers here and there.

This is the first time the team has used sound to help demonstrate the ideas. They’re eager to hear feedback on its success so be sure to let them know I the comments below!

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This visualization breaks it down for us a little more:

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As always, you can view these and more of the team’s innovative visualizations, as well as in-depth explanations at www.vispolitics.com.


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