Real Clear Politics is my favorite site for analyzing the opinion polls and editorials that flood the newscasts and is also one of the best examples of interactive data presentations on the web. Their map of 2012 electoral votes based on polling data gives you a quick assessment of which presidential candidate is ahead in the polls and also allows you to bore down into each state, the polling trends, and the historical results.
What makes this a good web-based data graphic, in my opinion?
- The bottom line message – who is winning where – can be grasped instantly.
- It maximizes the amount of data versus the amount of virtual ink (i.e. there are many data dimensions displayed: lat, long, party, electoral votes, margin, trend).
- There is a minimum of chartjunk (valueless ornamentation like drop shadows, moire patterns, etc.)
- The user can bore down into the dataset (Clicking on the map gets you poll results and trends for each state).
- The metadata is provided with the map (the data source, methods, and provenance are revealed with a few clicks)
- The user can customize the map (omit the tossup states, choose historical scenarios, look at congressional results)