posts about or somewhat related to ‘elections’

BBC using WhatsApp and WeChat to Engage Indians, Push News During Elections →

Via Journalism.co.uk:

The BBC is using private mobile messaging apps to engage with their audience in India around this year’s presidential elections, the first phase of which begins on Monday.

Starting today, BBC News India is sending updates to users of WeChat and WhatsApp to distribute BBC content, engage with the audience and source user-generated content (UGC).

"A lot of these apps have huge, huge audiences," Trushar Barot, assistant editor of the BBC’s UGC and social media hub, told Journalism.co.uk, "so the potential is definitely there as we figure out an editorial product that fits with the platform."

Figures from February estimate the number of global WhatsApp users at 450 million, while WeChat claimed a total 355 million users worldwide in March.

The first messages from BBC News India included stories in Hindi and English, an introduction to users as to how the app process would work and an invitation to share “thoughts, comments and experiences of the campaign as well as their pictures and videos”.

WhatsApp users will receive three messages per day as push notifications, while the capability is limited to one message per day on WeChat

Super clever.

Afghanistan Votes

Amazing photos of today’s election in Afghanistan are making their way through Twitter. A great place to start is with @afghansvote, the feed of a crowdsourced, citizen journalism project that’s monitoring the elections and is based out of Kabul.

Images: A man whose finger was severed by the Taliban after a previous election has a different one marked after he votes, via @ToloNews; a group of voters salute “the enemies of #Afghanistan,” via @JavedAzizKhan; women wait to vote outside of Kabul, via @HabibKhanT; and a woman explains to the AFP why she votes, via @dawn_com.  

Photographing Afghanistan’s Elections
The New York Times has a great photo essay by Bryan Denton on Afghanistan’s tomorrow’s presidential election.
Via The Times:

As they registered with the Independent Election Commission in October, some of Afghanistan’s presidential candidates took offense when told they had to leave their guns at home. Brawls broke out. It was not a promising beginning to the first election in modern Afghan history with the potential to bring a peaceful change of leadership, as President Hamid Karzai’s 12 years in power come to an official end.
In the months since, a Taliban campaign of attacks has taken its toll in lives and fear. Insurgents even managed to strike the election commission, killing workers and setting a ballot warehouse on fire. But the overall violence across the country has been lower than before the 2009 vote, and the most dire predictions have so far not come to pass.

Image: Supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, by Bryan Denton, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

Photographing Afghanistan’s Elections

The New York Times has a great photo essay by Bryan Denton on Afghanistan’s tomorrow’s presidential election.

Via The Times:

As they registered with the Independent Election Commission in October, some of Afghanistan’s presidential candidates took offense when told they had to leave their guns at home. Brawls broke out. It was not a promising beginning to the first election in modern Afghan history with the potential to bring a peaceful change of leadership, as President Hamid Karzai’s 12 years in power come to an official end.

In the months since, a Taliban campaign of attacks has taken its toll in lives and fear. Insurgents even managed to strike the election commission, killing workers and setting a ballot warehouse on fire. But the overall violence across the country has been lower than before the 2009 vote, and the most dire predictions have so far not come to pass.

Image: Supporters of presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani, by Bryan Denton, via The New York Times. Select to embiggen.

New York Times, Washington Post developers team up to create Open Elections database →

shaneguiter:

Senior developers from The New York Times and The Washington Post are looking for volunteers to help collect more than 10 years of federal elections data from each state. With their help — and $200,000 in Knight News Challenge funding — Serdar Tumgoren and Derek Willis are working on creating a free, comprehensive source of official U.S. election results.

The goal is to end up with electoral data that can then be linked to different types of data sets — campaign finance, voter demographics, legislative histories, and so on — in ways that previously haven’t been possible on this scale.

Tumgoren, of The Washington Post, says the idea for Open Elections came from “mutual frustration that there is no single, free source of data — and more importantly, nicely standardized data.” Soothing this frustration isn’t necessarily going to be pretty. The task of finding state elections data — at least some of which will be a godawful, inextricable mess — will require some “brute-forcing,” Tumgoren says.

Paul Ryan Reading Guide: The Best Reporting on the VP Candidate →

As partisans double down and dig deep to define the vice presidential candidate, ProPublica has a great roundup of reporting from the last three years that explore his economic, foreign, and social policy positions.

Some of it’s familiar territory, some if it surprises. 

For example, Mother Jones’ Ryan’s Unlikely Alliance with Organized Labor (surprise), and the New York Times’ A Closer Look at Ryan’s Budget Roadmaps that indicates “the tax cuts in Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget plan would result in huge benefits for high-income people and very modest—or no— benefits for low income working households” (not a surprise).

ProPublica, Paul Ryan Reading Guide: The Best Reporting on the VP Candidate.

The Twitter Political Index
Via Twitter:

Today, we’re launching the Twitter Political Index, a daily measurement of Twitter users’ feelings towards the candidates as expressed in nearly two million Tweets each week…
…Each day, the Index evaluates and weighs the sentiment of Tweets mentioning Obama or Romney relative to the more than 400 million Tweets sent on all other topics. For example, a score of 73 for a candidate indicates that Tweets containing their name or account name are on average more positive than 73 percent of all Tweets.
Just as new technologies like radar and satellite joined the thermometer and barometer to give forecasters a more complete picture of the weather, so too can the Index join traditional methods like surveys and focus groups to tell a fuller story of political forecasts. It lends new insight into the feelings of the electorate, but is not intended to replace traditional polling — rather, it reinforces it.
For example, the trend in Twitter Political Index scores for President Obama over the last two years often parallel his approval ratings from Gallup, frequently even hinting at where the poll numbers are headed. But what’s more interesting are the periods when these data sets do not align, like when his daily scores following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden dropped off more quickly than his poll numbers, as the Twitter conversation returned to being more focused on economic issues.
By illustrating instances when unprompted, natural conversation deviates from responses to specific survey questions, the Twitter Political Index helps capture the nuances of public opinion.

Twitter’s @gov team is creating the Index with two polling firms and data analysts from Topsy.
Image: Partial screenshot of the Twitter Political Index.

The Twitter Political Index

Via Twitter:

Today, we’re launching the Twitter Political Index, a daily measurement of Twitter users’ feelings towards the candidates as expressed in nearly two million Tweets each week…

…Each day, the Index evaluates and weighs the sentiment of Tweets mentioning Obama or Romney relative to the more than 400 million Tweets sent on all other topics. For example, a score of 73 for a candidate indicates that Tweets containing their name or account name are on average more positive than 73 percent of all Tweets.

Just as new technologies like radar and satellite joined the thermometer and barometer to give forecasters a more complete picture of the weather, so too can the Index join traditional methods like surveys and focus groups to tell a fuller story of political forecasts. It lends new insight into the feelings of the electorate, but is not intended to replace traditional polling — rather, it reinforces it.

For example, the trend in Twitter Political Index scores for President Obama over the last two years often parallel his approval ratings from Gallup, frequently even hinting at where the poll numbers are headed. But what’s more interesting are the periods when these data sets do not align, like when his daily scores following the raid that killed Osama bin Laden dropped off more quickly than his poll numbers, as the Twitter conversation returned to being more focused on economic issues.

By illustrating instances when unprompted, natural conversation deviates from responses to specific survey questions, the Twitter Political Index helps capture the nuances of public opinion.

Twitter’s @gov team is creating the Index with two polling firms and data analysts from Topsy.

Image: Partial screenshot of the Twitter Political Index.

Networked Donors: Political Moneyball

The Wall Street Journal takes a close look at political contributions in a thorough interactive that pulls data from monthly Federal Elections Commission reports.

Pictured above are overall individual and committee contributions (top); contributions and contributors to Restore Our Future, a PAC created to support Mitt Romney (middle left); the balance between ideological or single issue committees and the Democratic and Republican parties (middle right); and who health services and HMO’s are donating to (bottom). (Select any to embiggen).

It’s all very clicky with a various data points available under various layers so explore through.

Meanwhile, via the Wall Street Journal:

We all know that politics is awash in money, money that is accounted for in disclosures made public through the federal government. But the degree to which we understand this universe is limited by how well we can imagine how the players and the money are interconnected.

To better understand, we used social network software to analyze the universe of money in politics.

All the money in politics starts with donors — either individuals or groups like companies and unions. Their donations go to Political Action Committees (which represent the interests of companies or groups) or candidate or party committees (which finance campaigns and other political spending). These committees often send money to one another, which tells us a lot about who their friends are.

Based on the money sent between the players (and other characteristics like party and home state), our presentation pulls players toward similar players and pushes apart those that have nothing in common. The players who are most interconnected (like industry PACs who try to make alliances with everyone) end up close to the center. Those who are less connected (like a donor who only gives money to Ron Paul) are pushed away from the center. The resulting picture is a first-ever interactive portrait of the universe of money in politics, complete with obvious macro lessons (like the gulf between Democrats and Republicans) and with many micro stories that are still emerging.

The interactive was created using CartoDB, a geospatial platform from Vizzuality.

Democratic Intel on Allen West (FL-22)
Media Trackers, a conservative non-profit media and government watchdog, uncovered Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opposition research notebooks late last week. The organization says the files were found via Google searches. Put another way, the DCCC left the files exposed on whatever server they were hosting them on.
They’re interesting to read to see how our political parties conduct opposition research on one another.
Via Media Trackers:

The twelve unpublished manuals range in size from a few dozen pages to hundreds of pages, depending on the personal, business and civic record of the Republican target. Incumbent members of Congress, like Florida’s Allen West and California’s Dan Lungren, have long files, whereas the individual Republican candidates in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District share a single book…
…The information found in the documents appears to be routine material one would expect to see. Biographical details, copies of land plots, voter registration records, tax information, business records, and press clippings and for incumbents voting records make up the bulk of the information. It is anticipated that individual Democratic campaigns and the DCCC itself will leverage the information into usable political fodder based on the dynamics of a particular race. Reading the books one can obtain a general outline of where Democrats are most likely to attack the Republican subject of the manual.

Image: Partial screenshot of the table of contents for Representative Allen West of Florida. The PDF for his file is here. Others are available here.

Democratic Intel on Allen West (FL-22)

Media Trackers, a conservative non-profit media and government watchdog, uncovered Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee opposition research notebooks late last week. The organization says the files were found via Google searches. Put another way, the DCCC left the files exposed on whatever server they were hosting them on.

They’re interesting to read to see how our political parties conduct opposition research on one another.

Via Media Trackers:

The twelve unpublished manuals range in size from a few dozen pages to hundreds of pages, depending on the personal, business and civic record of the Republican target. Incumbent members of Congress, like Florida’s Allen West and California’s Dan Lungren, have long files, whereas the individual Republican candidates in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District share a single book…

…The information found in the documents appears to be routine material one would expect to see. Biographical details, copies of land plots, voter registration records, tax information, business records, and press clippings and for incumbents voting records make up the bulk of the information. It is anticipated that individual Democratic campaigns and the DCCC itself will leverage the information into usable political fodder based on the dynamics of a particular race. Reading the books one can obtain a general outline of where Democrats are most likely to attack the Republican subject of the manual.

Image: Partial screenshot of the table of contents for Representative Allen West of Florida. The PDF for his file is here. Others are available here.

I VOTE for Women

In 2008, over 51% of 18 to 29-year-olds voted in the US presidential elections. While numbers are usually down across the board during midterms, in 2010, youth voter turnout dropped to 24%.

To counter that and get young people back to the voting booth, a pending nonprofit called I VOTE has launched an issues-based media campaign to demonstrate that people can affect change on the issues they care about. It really comes down to voting.

The appeal here is different by a level of degree than traditional get out the vote campaigns. Instead of appealing to a sense of “civic duty,” I VOTE is attempting to engage people on issues of importance as a gateway to further political involvement and actual voting. Call it an appeal to enlightened self interest: vote because you give a damn.

The video above focuses on women’s health and was directed by Jessica Sanders, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker.

In the Q&A below, I VOTE founder Haroon “Boon” Saleem talks about his vision for this election season and beyond. — Michael

FJP: What is I VOTE and what is it trying to accomplish?
Boon Saleem: I VOTE is a pending non-profit organization that will produce, acquire and disseminate high-quality, youth-issue based viral campaigns for the 2012 election cycle and beyond.

Specifically, the “I VOTE” campaign will highlight issues that will spur 18-35 year olds to the polls in November — civil rights, jobs, the environment, women’s self-determination, wealth inequality, education, healthcare, and above all, holding government accountable for protecting our future. The multi-platform campaign will utilize social networking, online video spots, organizational partnerships, and cultural creation to funnel the youth into America’s tried and true tool for change: the vote.

FJP: How is it different than other get out the vote campaigns?
Boon: What differentiates I VOTE from current run-of-the-mill campaigns is the quality of the content. The co-creators of I VOTE have worked at the juncture of entertainment and activism and have a particularized knowledge of youth oriented engagement (concerts, comedy shows, debate watch parties, art gallery auctions). There is no group of individuals with a stronger track record of outreach, engagement and activation of 18-35 demographic. Traditional campaigns/politicos simply do not speak in the parlance of the youth. We do.

FJP: Is it partisan?
Boon:I VOTE is proudly non-partisan. We are guided not by political ideology but by American Optimism.

FJP: What is its media strategy and how does reflect I VOTE’S mission?
Boon: The lynchpin of I VOTE is a digital and mobile strategy focused on communicating with the 18-35 target demo through viral videos/PSAs and interactive social media. We will then leverage technology to share the content and promote a two-way dialogue with young voters, inviting them to add their story to the movement using video, photos, blog posts, and tweets.

We will establish this dialogue by tapping into an extensive nationwide network of A-List creatives to produce fresh, original content that resonates with younger voters. Filmmakers, actors, photographers, and musicians, both established and cutting edge, will lend their talents to give voice to the issues facing the youth in 2012.

FJP: What do you hope to accomplish by the 2012 elections, and then what do you want to accomplish afterwards?
Boon: We aim to engage, unify, and motivate the youth aged 18-35 to turn out in November at the same level they did in 2008. We know this will not be achieved by brow-beating them over civic duty - it will only be accomplished by building a cultural groundswell that makes them want to vote.

Moving beyond Election Day, I VOTE as an organization will sustain robust levels of youth political engagement. By continuing to marry fresh creative content with innovative outreach to like-minded individuals, organizations & NGO’s, I VOTE will evolve to fit the issue-based needs of the day, ensuring that the youth culture develops into a dependable activist force — one that participates in the political process every single day instead of every four years.

BONUS: Aren’t registered? You can do so quickly via TurboVote, a nonprofit that uses technology to increase civic engagement.

Modeling Election Forecasts the FiveThirtyEight Way
Via Slashdot:

Years ago Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, a blog seeking to educate the public about elections forecasting, established his model as one of the most accurate in existence, rising from a fairly unknown statistician working in baseball to one of the most respected names in election forecasting. In this article he describes all the factors that go into his predictions. A fascinating overview of the process of modeling a chaotic system.

FJP: It is fascinating.
With national, regional and statewide polling feeding off oftentimes conflicting information, and then still other polling that has what Silver calls “house effects" (meaning that a poll is an outlier, skewing Democratic or Republican in relation to other polls), all within what will be a tight, tight, tight race, Silver lays out both the art and science of his models.
For example, take Silver’s analysis of Florida:

Right now, the polls there show almost an exact tie. But the model views Florida as leaning toward Mr. Romney, for several reasons.
First, the polls showing a tie there were mostly conducted among registered voters rather than likely voters. Republicans typically improve their standing by a point or two when polling firms switch from registered voter to likely voter polls, probably because Republican voters are older, wealthier, and otherwise have demographic characteristics that make them more reliable bets to turn out. The model anticipates this pattern and adjusts for it, bolstering Mr. Romney’s standing by a point or two whenever it evaluates a registered-voter poll.
In addition, the fundamentals somewhat favor Mr. Romney in Florida. The state has been somewhat Republican-leaning in the past, and its economy is quite poor. Mr. Romney has raised more money than Mr. Obama there, and its demographics are not especially strong for Mr. Obama. The model considers these factors in addition to the polls in each state. In the case of Florida, they equate to Mr. Romney having about a 60 or 65 percent chance of winning it, and Mr. Obama probably has easier paths to 270 electoral votes.

If you’re a political junky whose heart skips a beat with the daily polls, read through. As said before, it’s a fascinating look at how political forecasting is done by one of the best in the business.
Image: While US presidential politics — and its electoral college — is a winner take all system that leads to strict Red State versus Blue State divisions across the country, this map of the 2008 presidential elections provided by the University of Michigan’s Mark Newman shows that if you look at the country at a county by county level, the country’s political leanings are decidedly purple. Meaning that slight ebbs can turn an entire state red (Republican) or blue (Democratic).

Modeling Election Forecasts the FiveThirtyEight Way

Via Slashdot:

Years ago Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, a blog seeking to educate the public about elections forecasting, established his model as one of the most accurate in existence, rising from a fairly unknown statistician working in baseball to one of the most respected names in election forecasting. In this article he describes all the factors that go into his predictions. A fascinating overview of the process of modeling a chaotic system.

FJP: It is fascinating.

With national, regional and statewide polling feeding off oftentimes conflicting information, and then still other polling that has what Silver calls “house effects" (meaning that a poll is an outlier, skewing Democratic or Republican in relation to other polls), all within what will be a tight, tight, tight race, Silver lays out both the art and science of his models.

For example, take Silver’s analysis of Florida:

Right now, the polls there show almost an exact tie. But the model views Florida as leaning toward Mr. Romney, for several reasons.

First, the polls showing a tie there were mostly conducted among registered voters rather than likely voters. Republicans typically improve their standing by a point or two when polling firms switch from registered voter to likely voter polls, probably because Republican voters are older, wealthier, and otherwise have demographic characteristics that make them more reliable bets to turn out. The model anticipates this pattern and adjusts for it, bolstering Mr. Romney’s standing by a point or two whenever it evaluates a registered-voter poll.

In addition, the fundamentals somewhat favor Mr. Romney in Florida. The state has been somewhat Republican-leaning in the past, and its economy is quite poor. Mr. Romney has raised more money than Mr. Obama there, and its demographics are not especially strong for Mr. Obama. The model considers these factors in addition to the polls in each state. In the case of Florida, they equate to Mr. Romney having about a 60 or 65 percent chance of winning it, and Mr. Obama probably has easier paths to 270 electoral votes.

If you’re a political junky whose heart skips a beat with the daily polls, read through. As said before, it’s a fascinating look at how political forecasting is done by one of the best in the business.

Image: While US presidential politics — and its electoral college — is a winner take all system that leads to strict Red State versus Blue State divisions across the country, this map of the 2008 presidential elections provided by the University of Michigan’s Mark Newman shows that if you look at the country at a county by county level, the country’s political leanings are decidedly purple. Meaning that slight ebbs can turn an entire state red (Republican) or blue (Democratic).

Face Off: Boy vs Russian Police
Via the NY Daily News:

The New Yorker and Foreign Policy magazine correspondent Julia Ioffe snapped the photo with her iPhone during violent protests by anti-Putin demonstrators on the day before Putin’s inauguration, ABC News reports. She tweeted the photo to her more-than-6,000 followers with a reference to Tiananmen Square.
Ioffe was referencing the huge pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square, China in 1989, iconized by a photograph of one man standing still in front of a row of tanks.
At least 20,000 people rallied Sunday at Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in protest of Putin’s election.
Violence erupted as the protesters marched toward the Kremlin and police fought back with clubs, injuring several people and leading to more than 400 arrests, reports the Associated Press.

Face Off: Boy vs Russian Police

Via the NY Daily News:

The New Yorker and Foreign Policy magazine correspondent Julia Ioffe snapped the photo with her iPhone during violent protests by anti-Putin demonstrators on the day before Putin’s inauguration, ABC News reports. She tweeted the photo to her more-than-6,000 followers with a reference to Tiananmen Square.

Ioffe was referencing the huge pro-democracy protest in Tiananmen Square, China in 1989, iconized by a photograph of one man standing still in front of a row of tanks.

At least 20,000 people rallied Sunday at Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in protest of Putin’s election.

Violence erupted as the protesters marched toward the Kremlin and police fought back with clubs, injuring several people and leading to more than 400 arrests, reports the Associated Press.

Primary Season Political Ads Bring New Low to Negativity

Can the soaring music, sunrises and deep gazes, the Wesleyan Media Group analyzed political advertising through the presidential campaign primary season and finds that negativity isn’t just on the rise, it’s the norm.

Above we see the difference between positive and negative advertising during the primaries in 2008 and 2012. We’re showing the difference by candidate and by special interest (eg., PAC and Super PAC).

Overall, in 2008 nine percent of ads were negative. In 2012, 70 percent are.

Read on at the Wesleyan Media Project for more analysis.

TLDR: Citizen United and the rise of Super PACs are behind the negativity.

TV Mentions for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney: April 25 to May 1
Note the words most associated with them.
Via Bejan Siavoshy.
Select to embiggen.

TV Mentions for Barack Obama and Mitt Romney: April 25 to May 1

Note the words most associated with them.

Via Bejan Siavoshy.

Select to embiggen.

Lincoln, Tax and Spend Socialist

Via Flackcheck.org, a sister project to Factcheck.org from Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

The site “uses parody and humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language, and hold the media accountable for their reporting on political campaigns.”