Friday, October 22, 2010

Charty charts

Charts -- like photos -- can lie. Not that this chart is lying -- but I think the secondary point it's making is a little misleading.

To me, this chart is saying the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending a lot of money for Republicans in this year's election. But the secondary point is: But look how much money the Democrats are spending on their side -- more than the Chamber by far!

I think the secondary point of the chart is Republican party supporters are spending more than Democratic party supporters. And that is obscured by the NY Times' chart.

So, I spent some time with Adobe Illustrator to remake the charts.

First, remaking the original chart, but using a straight bar chart. I occured to me that the Times was doing some kind of area chart/ bar chart combo where the bars are different widths. So the height of the bar is not representative of the amount. Odd.

Next, I grouped the bars by party, giving you something of a sense of the different amounts being spent by each side.

Next, the classic pie chart.

And finally, a stacked bar chart which puts an emphasis on the amount spent by both. Just under 110 million for the Republicans and just under 60 million for the Democrats.

The same data. A fairer chart? Maybe. A different secondary point? Absolutely.


big karl said...

very illustrative.

Doug Connell said...

Of the charts you made, Dave, the last one is my favorite as it quickly shows that Republican leaning organizations have outspent Democrats by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. I hope the extra money doesn't lead to a Republican landslide in the upcoming election but I've been disappointed before. Anyway, thanks for the effort you put into your charts. You must have some extra time on your hands. Ha!

Daughter Number Three said...

Excellent. Thanks!

Carmella said...

I love pie charts. (Not as much as I love pies, of course). But I too like the stacked bar graph the best as it piles the money.