Visualizing the Social Graph of Presidential Campaign Donors

July 27, 2012 Paul M. Davis

Money and politics go hand-in-hand, a truism that holds no matter what your own political persuasion may be. With the Presidential election in high gear and hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into both the Romney and Obama campaigns, who’s pulling ahead in funding is getting nearly as much attention as the latest polling data. But the matter of where that money is coming from is more opaque. High-profile and controversial donors get some attention, but they’re only a piece of the puzzle. While the data is available from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), it’s not presented in a particularly dynamic or engaging way on the commission’s website.

Enter the Wall Street Journal‘s Political Moneyball graphic, which visualizes a social graph of campaign donors using FEC donor data. Taking a clustered approach, Political Moneyball maps the connections between individual donors, advocacy groups and PACS, and the campaigns. By doing this, the graphic groups left- and right-leaning donors together, and provides fascinating insight into who’s putting the big bucks into the respective campaigns—and how they all relate to one another, a feat that would elude even the most seasoned Beltway insider.

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