Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Meta-Margins for control: House D+1.0% Senate R+4.2% Find key elections near you!

Facebooking the Meta-Analysis

September 26th, 2008, 11:45pm by Sam Wang

Reader (and former student) Dave M. makes an interesting suggestion: write Facebook applications for the Meta-Analysis. Interested in helping? Read on…

Dave points out that Facebook applications would “have two main purposes: define the state of the election (specifically to a segment that doesn’t read polling stat geekery but might like pretty graphs) and inform activists where to spend energy.” He goes on…

The features I could think of off the cuff, and in order of programming ease, would include:

1) Daily reproducing the three right-sidebar figures on your main site.

2) Introducing more interactive maps. e.g. scroll the “boost” percentage to an arbitrary value. Scroll the boost for a particular state chosen from a drop-down menu.

3) Making recommendations to students/readers, based on a simple calculation of geographic proximity (available through Facebook) and a return-on-investment calculation (that would, for a new yorker as an example, rank PA and NH high, MA and NJ low). More simply, report a return on investment based on how tight a race is, including links [to partisan sites such as] and MoveOn.

4) Using (or, if necessary, generating) Facebook polls as a means of performing the same analysis. This could be a huge, general value-add, since Facebook IS the underrepresented population everyone worries about missing in more traditional polls, but requires a lot of participants.

If I had time-stopping machine, i would gladly code this….Some of these would take a long time, others could be quick. Some schools have courses where the Facebook API is taught, and final projects are directly used on Facebook.

So – any takers? We haven’t done this kind of thing so we could use the help. Also, any additional suggestions?

Tags: 2008 Election

3 Comments so far ↓

  • Brian S

    I can’t help, but I’d proudly display it on my Facebook page.

  • Ginny Mayer

    As the Democratic Candidate for California State Senate in the 35th District (West Orange County) I’ll be thrilled to display your graphs on my Facebook pages, especially since they now show Obama in the lead in national polls and in a significant number of toss-up/swing states.:)

  • Jeffrey Ropp

    Very interested in contributing. I have a background in application design and a growing interest in political polling. One of the sample apps on my website ( handles some realtime analysis and presentation of Case-Shiller home price indices. Lets talk!

Leave a Comment