Hiss boo yay

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!


This visu­al­iza­tion breaks it down for us a little more:


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