Graphs Tell the Story of the 2012 US Election

Who will win the 2012 presidential election? I was a bit confused by all the different polls being reported – some saying Romney was gaining momentum, others arguing Obama had the edge. So I decided to create a simple set of graphs that clearly tells the story of the 2012 US presidential election.

1. Romney is favored by 51% of Americans according to Gallup. They not only ask people who they would vote for, but also how likely they are to vote on election day. Those who are not likely to vote are not counted.

2. But Obama has more electoral votes. US presidents are not elected by “national votes” but by “electoral votes“. That is, Americans elect local state representatives. The state grants all its electoral votes to whichever party has more state representatives. Many states have a long history of voting Democrat or Republican, based on their own culture and values, and recent polls show that trend is likely to continue in 2012.

270 electoral votes gives a candidate the majority. And based on state polls (usually “likely voters”) and historical trends, Obama is closer to that goal than Romney.

3. The swing states will decide the election. There are 8 states where the polls are roughly tied, or the candidate has a 1% to 3% lead which changes every few days. We call these “swing states” because they could swing either way.

Florida is the largest swing state, with 29 electoral votes. Romney leads in Florida by 2% and has lead for several weeks, so there’s a good chance Florida will swing to Romney. Ohio is the second largest swing state, with 18 electoral votes, and that’s why Obama and Romney are campaigning so hard in this state.

Romney still needs 79 electoral votes. Even with the 57 votes he’ll get from the 3 states leaning his way, he still needs another 22. Romney needs Ohio. Without Ohio, it will be tough to get the other 22 votes he needs. There’s a good chance Ohio’s vote will determine your next president.

Ohio is currently leaning toward Obama by about 2%. We’ll see if that lead holds until November 6.

If you enjoyed these graphs, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs”. Subscribe to this blog to learn when it’s available.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

What’s Wrong With This Infographic?

I spend a lot of time these days studying infographics. Part of the research for my new book “Storytelling with Graphs”.

But I keep running across atrocities like this – nice design, terrible understanding of data. Do you see the problem? Study the picture, then scroll down for my analysis.

 

My comments

1. First, this donut charts adds up to 138%! What does this even mean?

2. The blue Twitter.com donut slice barely makes it halfway around the donut – it’s more like 60%, not 78%. Unfortunately, some reader is going to grab that statistic and share it with others. This mistruth will be picked up as “fact” by people who don’t double-check the source, and repeated on their blogs, Twitter accounts, PowerPoint decks.

3. There are several donut slices that could be color-coded differently to form mini-groups. Especially, the mobile apps could be different shades of green, grouping them into a mobile access sub-group. Then the message gets clearer: Twitter.com is the most common way people send tweets, mobile phones is the second most common.

Designers are ahead of the rest of us in exploring the possibilities in data visualization for a mass audience. But I hope they will continue to educate themselves on data visualization techniques that bring the truth out. Design can be a powerful tool to reveal the truth, or to conceal the truth.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

 

Infographic – How Secure is Your Password?

I love infographics. So I was intrigued when I came across some stats on how combining more lowercase, uppercase  and numbers increased your password security, measured in number of days/months/years needed to hack it.

And I created this infographic to visualize the increase in security. See how big a difference it makes?

In case you’re interested, this is known as a unit chart and it’s one of many charts I’ll be sharing in my new book, tentatively titled “Storytelling with Graphs.” Subscribe to this blog to hear when it’s released.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

35 Best Books on Presentations

I’m really proud to announce that, based on a recent survey of presentation experts, Speaking PowerPoint was rated the #3 presentation book overall. See the full list of 35 books, according to presentation experts, in the SlideShare below.

The expert judges included Nancy Duarte, Bruce Gabrielle, Dr. Michael Alley, Gonzalo Alvarez, Andrew Dlugan, Nolan Haimes and Al Bonner. (And, no, I wasn’t allowed to vote on my own book 🙂 )

The judges rated books in several categories, and then overall. Top books, in their opinion, were:

 

Top 3 books OVERALL

  1. Presenting to Win, Jerry Weissman
  2. Moving Mountains, Henry M. Boettinger
  3. Speaking PowerPoint, Bruce R. Gabrielle

 

Top 3 books on PLANNING your presentation

  1. Moving Mountains, Henry M. Boettinger
  2. Give Your Speech, Change the World, Dr. Nick Morgan
  3. Presenting to Win, Jerry Weissman

 

Top 3 books on DESIGNING PowerPoint visuals

  1. slide:ology, Nancy Duarte
  2. Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds
  3. Presentation Zen Design, Garr Reynolds

 

Top 3 books on DELIVERING your presentation

  1. Give Your Speech, Change the World, Dr. Nick Morgan
  2. You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard, Bert Decker
  3. Real Leaders Don’t Do PowerPoint, Christopher Witt

 

Thanks to Gonzalo Álvarez Marañón, author of El Arte de Presentar, the driving force behind this study and who helped round up some impressive judges. I helped by analyzing the data and presenting it visually. I hope this turns you onto some books you hadn’t gotten around to yet.

By the way, El Arte de Presentar (the Art of Presentations) is also a pretty amazing book. It’s written in Spanish, but my daughter has been translating the book to me and I highly recommend it if you read Spanish.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

 

Romney Wins First Debate. Should Obama Worry?

The votes are in and 67% agree Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate.

Should president Obama be worried? Absolutely not. Since 1960, the candidates have engaged in televised debates in ten election years. One year was a toss-up but in 5 of the remaining 9 years, the person who “won” the first debate actually lost the presidential election.

Sources: 1960 | 1976 | 1980 | 1984 | 1988 | 1992 | 1996 | 2000 | 2004 | 2008 | 2012

The first televised presidential debate was in 1960, when a fit and tan John F. Kennedy faced Richard Nixon, who was fighting a flu, bravely refused any makeup and ended up sweating profusely under the hot TV studio lights. Kennedy impressed TV audiences and critics agreed Nixon “lost” that debate.

In 1964, 1968 and 1972 the incumbent presidents declined invitations to debate the challenger, possibly spooked by the Kennedy-Nixon example. The televised debates resumed in 1976, with Gerald Ford besting his challenger Jimmy Carter. But Carter would go on to win the presidential election.

Since then, the debates have had little predictive power. In fact, there seems to be a reverse effect where the winner of the first debate goes on to lose the presidential election. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2012.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.