Visualizing Super PAC Spending

Jess Bachman

published on April 13, 2012 in Design

SuperPACs are required to report their spending in some decent detail. That’s a lot of data that’s just begging to be analyzed and visualized. So we partnered up with data visualization software company Tableau to crunch some numbers and find a good story.

Turns out, the PACs spend very differently from each other and those spending patterns reflect how their campaigns are run. The big money, like Gingrich and Santorum’s PACs, largely sunk their money into traditional TV media. Ron Paul’s PAC, on the other hand, went online for most of their spending, as many of Ron Paul’s supporters are engaged in social media. Romney, being the front runner, had oppositional funding far outweigh that spent in support of his campaign. His own PAC spent huge sums taking out Gingrich and Santorum and very little supporting Romney himself. There are lots more stories to be found, so click around the interactive graphic and explore.

Tableau is a sophisticated tool for data visualizations, and this project wouldn’t have been possible without data analyst Lori Williams, who not only collected and cleaned the data (an enormous undertaking, as you can imagine), but also helped us work with the software.