Who are the Republicans/Who are the Democrats

Country/area: United States

Organisation: Reuters

Organisation size: Big

Publication date: 10/12/2021

Credit: Chris Canipe, Sam Hart, Chris Kahn

Biography: The Reuters graphics team publishes visual stories and data. We typically cover all areas of the news, with content ranging from climate to financial markets. The team conceptualises, researches, reports, and executes many of the visual stories published.

Project description:

The two major parties in the U.S. are often discussed as monoliths. But in this pair of interactive graphics led stories, we break down the divisions and fissures within each. These pieces reveal how younger Republics care far less about immigration, and how gender is a dividing line for the democratic party’s views on abortion among other findings. The pieces were based on original polling commissioned by Reuters. We worked closely with the polling firm Ipsos to develop questions and build a sample size large enough to meaningfully break down the party divides.

Impact reached:

This novel approach revealed that there is far more nuance within the American political parties than is typically reported. Based on a poll with an unusually large sample size, both stories offer a unique look within each party and what divides them.

Techniques/technologies used:

The page was built in HTML and styled with CSS. Javascript was used to create the charts and trigger the animations. It uses the javascript libraries D3, rough.js (for the textures) and javascript’s native intersection observer.

What was the hardest part of this project?

Each piece of this project presented unique challenges, starting from the outset with simply designing a poll that would challenge long-held assumptions. Our polling director worked closely with Ipsos to craft a poll that would yield almost anthropological results.

Visualizing this extensively detailed cross-tab data was the next significant hurdle. We wanted to make differences easy to spot despite the complexity of the underlying data which did not naturally lend itself to simplified views. Using dot plots and animation, we achieved that clarity.

Finally, we wanted a cohesive visual identity to help the piece standout against other polling visualizations. Through several rounds of iterations, we landed on the idea of a whiteboard approach. We found this made the piece feel welcoming to readers beyond those already immersed in the polling world.

What can others learn from this project?

Others can learn that polling information can be designed and presented both to be accessible and challenge preconceived notions. Newsrooms can see that by working closely with a professional polling firm, they can design surveys to go beyond the news of the day to understand more about the driving motivations behind a given issue.

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