Data Viz Done Right

November 17, 2014

Makeover Monday: The Facebook Election

From Buzzfeed: "The social network (Facebook) may end TV’s long dominance of American politics — and open the door to a new kind of populism." The purpose of this article was to demonstrate that conversations on Facebook are becoming a dominant force in the U.S. political landscape. The article included this infographic about Facebook users' sentiment towards 2016 Presidential candidates.

There are several things about this infographic that I don't like:
  1. The title doesn't tell us what the graphic is about.
  2. The pie charts; simply too many of them making comparisons difficult.
  3. There's no apparent order to the candidates.
  4. Candidate names are in ALL CAPS...why?
  5. The label for the Democrats section is off to the right, why?
  6. Some of the pies add up to less than 100% and some to more than 100%.
Those are the immediate things that stuck out in my initial review. I recreate the data in Excel, imported it into Tableau and built my own infographic. Download the workbook here.

I believe I've made improvements to all of my concerns above:
  1. The title makes it more clear what you're looking at.
  2. I switched the pie charts to stacked bars.
  3. The candidates are ordered by positive sentiment.
  4. The candidates names are easier to read since they're in proper case.
  5. The labeling for the two sections is aligned.
  6. Since I'm using stacked bars, the fact that some of the candidates are not equal to 100% is irrelevant.
According to this sentiment data, it will be Condoleeza Rice vs. Joe Biden in 2016. I certainly am not looking forward to all of the political ads coming our way.

Thoughts? Which one do you prefer? What would you do differently?


  1. Definitely yours, great job! Much easier to compare. What is the analysis based off (status', public comment threads, etc.)? Just curious!

    1. Brit, all of the background is in the original article.

    2. From Buzzfeed: This data will be drawn from a Facebook project working in the tricky field of "sentiment analysis," the attempt to analyze people's feelings based on what they write

  2. Bar charts without a doubt. For the bar charts, the percentages are not as important as the length. Even a relatively small lead stands out much more with bars. However, the percentages in the pies actually help to the point that you ignore the pies and only compare the percentages. Which seems far more numerical than visual.

    Cool stuff! Thanks for the post.