Mark Blumenthal | September 26, 2008
Topics: Charts , Pollster.com , Trend lines
A little over two years ago, we launched Pollster.com with a mission of providing a complete compilation of poll results, expert analysis and graphical tools to help readers make sense of polling data. Today, after two long years of development, our commitment to interactive graphical tools takes a quantum leap.
At a moment when the political world is swimming in a flood of polling data, we are pleased to announce a new, fully interactive Flash chart application that will plot all of the poll charts here on Pollster.com. The new charts allow you to:
- Select or limit the polls used to draw trend lines and calculate polling estimates with the "filter" tool. If you don't like a particular pollster, just un-click and take them out (yes...really).
- Toggle between the display of the default trend line and alternatives that are more or less sensitive using the "smoothing" tool -- these are essentially the same as the "steady blue" and "ready red" trend lines often used by Charles Franklin.
- Hold your mouse over any data point to display details about each the poll.
- Click the mouse on any data point to "connect the dots" between all polls fielded by that pollster.
- Modify the date range (x-axis) and percentage range (y-axis) by clicking on either axis directly or with forms found on the "tools" menu.
- Select the candidates you want to see displayed on the chart with the "choices" tool .
- Toggle the display of data points, trend lines and grid lines on or off with the "plot" tools.
- Copy the code necessary to bookmark your customized chart or share it via email with the "URL" tool.
- Get the code necessary to place a small version of the customized chart on your own blog or web site with the "Embed" tool. [Update: We believe we've squashed the embed bug. If you experience problems with the embed tool or anything else, please email us with details at questions at pollster dot com.
We missed a bugin the embed function that prevents the embedded chart from displaying customized filters. Apologies -- we should have this cleaned up soon]
As of this posting, we have converted our charts for all presidential charts, including Ohio, Colorado, Virginia , Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Nevada, Minnesota and the National Trend to the new chart
, and we should have most of the presidential charts converted over the course of the day. Although we hope you will dive right in and try these new features, we have also created a quick video guided tour of some of the most important features.
We are really excited about the possibilities these new tools create for poll junkies to explore and discover the wealth of data now available and how you are too. So if you like If you like what you see, we hope that you share this news with your friends. If you have a blog or diary, we would very much appreciate a link to this entry and please try out the embedding feature to see how it works. I'll be back later with some extra tips on how to use the charts. Meanwhile, please don't hesitate to email us with your questions or reactions.
Where credit is due: A lot of very talented people worked exceptionally hard to make these new charts possible, but most deserving of thanks are Quentin Fountain and Technorganix (for Flash design and development), Jeff Lewis and Seth Hill (for development of the underlying database and statistical architecture), Charles Franklin (for the design of the original charts and the regression trend lines and smoothing routines) and, last but not least, Eric Dienstfrey, who has entered virtually every piece of the data now displayed on Pollster.com and is doing the nitty gritty work of implementing these charts and keeping Pollster operating every day. Update: I nearly forgot to thank those of you -- and you know who you are -- who helped beta test these charts over the past week.