Where are the candidates’ heads on healthcare?
[Warning: I have assiduously avoided using this blog to promote my own work. Until today. I promise this will be a rare, if not singular, experience.]
I just completed work on a campaign dataviz (data visualization) project for Health Central network, called the Healthcare08 PoliGraph. It plots the presidential candidates’ positions on six health care issue on both left/right and most important/least important axes.
The whole point of the project is to use interactive technology to help people extract themselves from the candidates’ rhetorical mush and actually see their differences in policy positions on issues like stem cell research and drug price controls.
I leave it to others to determine how successful the application is at accomplishing this goal (to say nothing of how accurately we’ve mapped the candidates’ positions. I suspect the campaigns will weigh in on that).
But I will let three utterly biased observations onto the page:
- The application lets you see, pretty easily, when GOPers drift into Democrat territory on certain issues (Rudy Giuliani on stem cells, John McCain on drug prices). Oddly, no Dems, except for the, how you say, difficult-to-pin-down Mike Gravel, drift into the Red Zone.
- I love the way the candidates’ heads reorganize themselves when you click from issue to issue. And the way they get bigger with mouseover. Our Flash guy deserves a case of Stoli and a case of Red Bull, ideally to be enjoyed simultaneously.
- The applications lets you map your own views on the PoliGraph with a little quiz–and then change their answers if you find out you’re close to Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul or someone scary like that. [Don’t worry: Changing your answers is only called a “flip-flop” if you’re the one running for office.]
Any comments, especially constructive criticisms, warmly welcomed.
Meantime, thank you for indulging my self-promotion. We will return to our regularly scheduled harsh critique of others’ work tomorrow.