Once again, I present CQ's annual vote
studies in handy visualization form, now updated with the figures
for 2010. This version includes some interesting changes from last year:
- Load times should now be markedly faster. I decoupled the XML
parsing pseudo-thread from the framerate by allowing it to run for up
to 10ms before yielding back to the VM for rendering. Previously, it
processed only a single member and then waited for the next timer tick,
which probably meant at least 16ms per member even on machines capable
of running much faster.
- Clicking on a dot for a single member now loads that member's CQ
profile page (subscribers only). Clicking on a dot representing multiple
members will bring up a table listing all members, and clicking on one
of these rows (or a row in the full Data Table view) will open the
profile page in a new window.
- Tooltips now respect the boundaries of the Flash embed, which makes
them a lot more readable.
- Most importantly, the visualization now collects multiple years in
a single graphic, allowing you to actually flip between 2009 and 2010
for comparison. We have plans to add data going back to at least 2003
(CQ's vote studies actually go back more than 50 years, but the data
isn't always easy to access). When that's done, you'll be able to
visually observe shifts in partisanship and party unity over time.
Notably not changed: it's still in Flash. My apologies to the HTML5
crowd, but the idea of rendering and interacting with more than 500
alpha-blended display objects (four-fifths of which may be onscreen at
any time), each linked to multiple XML collections, is not something I
The vote studies are one of those quintessentially CQ products:
reliable, wonky, and relentlessly non-partisan. We're still probably not
doing justice to it with this visualization, but we'll keep building out
until we get there. Take a look,
and let me know what you think.