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U.S. Presidential Election 2012: Who would win by TV ads? [infographic]

26 October, 2012

An infographic presenting data about U.S. Presidential Election TV ads and Super PACs

Click on the image to enlarge it

U.S. Presidential Election 2012 is getting closer its big day and the developers of Super PAC App have shared with us their data and their idea to create an infographic about the election.

Super PAC App is an iphone app with which, “while watching a political TV ad, a user can hold up her phone to identify the commercial and receive objective, third-party information. Super PAC App allows the user to rate the ad, while understanding who and how much money is behind the ad, what claims the ad is making, and whether those claims are based on facts.

Using the data the users of Super PAC App have produced we have created two U.S. maps: the top one illustrates the reaction of the users to official campaign ads while the next one shows their reaction to ads funded by outside groups including super PACs. Super PACs are outside groups that can raise and spend unlimited funds on political races. To date, they’ve spent over $546 million.

A few words about the methodology that has been used for the data analysis:

  • States are given a score as to how positively they rated Romney and Obama ads. Scores are normalized to account for differences in number of ratings per state
  • States are ranked 1 (most positive) through 45 (least positive) relative to each other based on these scores (for the 44 states and D.C. for which we have data)
  • State rankings are compared to determine whether the state is deep red, deep blue, or in the middle. For example, on the Outside Group ads map, North Carolina is deep red. It has the 2nd most positive rating for Romney ads and 39th most positive rating for Obama ads, making it one of the most pro-Romney states. Maryland ranks 16th for both Romney and Obama ads, making it neutral ground.

Data collected from Sept. 24 through Oct. 23. The size of the sample is 3,492 users (not statistically significant).

If you want to know who is behind that TV ad you watch, and take part into rating the ads why don’t you try the app yourself? Download Super PAC App in the App Store. It’s free!

At the bottom of the infographic there is a section dedicated to Super PACs (super political action committees or “independent-expenditure only committees”). According to, on Oct. 22 there were 946 Super PACs. 56% (531 of 946) of them were inactive (had neither raised nor spent any money).

We have excluded from the wordle with the names of the super PACs all the inactive ones (among which there were examples like “My Cat Xavier for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow”, “Zombies of Tomorrow” and 52 “Horse Assn” (associations)).

The word “America” is the most used one (46 times), followed by the word “Fund” (33 times), “Action” (29 times),  “American” (23 times) and “Freedom” (19 times).

Super PAC App
2012 Outside Spending, by Super PACs

The “Super PACs: What’s in a name?” graphic was designed with Wordle

If you found this infographic interesting, why not have a look at other infographics we have created? Click here for more
One Comment leave one →
  1. 27 October, 2012 8:04 am

    Very interesting…though….it may be suprising in the end and probably will be:-)

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