Isarithmic Maps of Public Opinion Data

By David B. Sparks

Sparks uses isarithmic maps – which are essentially topographic or contour maps, wherein a third variable is represented in two dimensions by color, or by contour lines, indicating gradations – to represent various public opinion data. The map is produced from over 30,000 individual responses to the standard 7-point party identification question. Sparks generated dense grid of points across the map, and calculated a distance-weighted mean value for each point, as well as a distance-weighted response density for each point.

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Billionaires’ Favorite Politicians

By Jon Bruner | Forbes

The billionaires on the Forbes 400 list have given more than $30 million to politicians and political action committees since 2006, along with millions more in soft money to politically active groups. Although Forbes 400 members give about 15% more money to Republicans than Democrats, they fund groups across the political spectrum.

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The good guys from periscopic collected transcripts from the American Presidency Project at UCSB, categorized them by hand, then ranked lemmatized word-phrases (or n-grams) by their frequency of use. Word-phrases can be made of up to five words. Their ranking algorithm accounts for things such as exclusive word-phrases – meaning, it won’t count “United States” twice if it’s used in a higher n-gram such as “President of the United States.”

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