The New York Times‘s data-driven arm The Upshot has been tallying the odds behind the 2016 presidential election, and has just published the results on a page called “Who Will Be President?” authored by Josh Katz. It’s worth bookmarking through November, because it’s about as cleanly presented as data journalism can get. Here’s the blow-by-blow on what makes it great:
The NYT doesn’t bury the lede. It answers its own question right up top with a clear statement: “Hillary Clinton has about a 76% chance of winning the presidency.” (That figure, as of the time our story was published.) This leaves the reader with the clearest takeaway possible to avoid any misinterpretation hiding within overly clever graphic designs.
Right below the takeaway? The piece includes a line graph, showing how its own candidate projection has shifted over time. This is a great piece of data transparency. It’s also useful in showing how the election has trended over time as a narrative arc.
The careful attention to data hierarchy continues as you scroll down the page. Graphics become more complex and granular, showing state-by-state projections, electoral vote estimates, and flowcharts. Now we’re in true data nerd territory that asks for a lot more cognitive investment from the reader than that simple takeaway up top. But for someone who wants to dig deep into election projection mechanics, all the strata are here.
Maybe the best part of “Who Will Be President?” is that its authors admit they might be wrong. In fact, it points to potentially competing estimates–like FiveThirtyEight and the Princeton Election Consortium–listing their election odds, too.MW