A New Tool To Visualize The Political Process

The 2008 presidential election year is almost upon us. It’s two weeks until the Iowa Primary (Jan 3), and followed quickly in five days by the New Hampshire primary (Jan 8). You can easily see the odds on who will win these and other primaries with a new dashboard tool at Yahoo. You’ll find tabs on the dashboard for both national and state polls.

What’s interesting is that much of the information on the Yahoo political dashboard is fed from data at RealClearPolitics. While the RealClearPolitics site is useful and traditionally presents much of the same information as the Yahoo page, the dashboard is much easier to use and to see at a glance what is transpiring.

The usefulness of this type of tool is the main reason companies are increasing their use of Internet-based, proprietary digital dashboards to ascertain how marketing and other business efforts are faring. Most business leaders are overloaded with data, and the purpose of visualization tools such as dashboards is to efficiently turn data into knowledge and insight. The new Yahoo political page is a good example of public dashboard use.

It is also interesting to note the Yahoo political dashboard uses other data besides polls to help predict outcomes. The Y! Buzz metric measures the Yahoo search activity for that candidate on any given day. In addition, the new Yahoo page also provides prediction market numbers from Intrade, an Irish company that serves as a political oddsmaker allowing you to buy and sell “shares” in a candidate’s chances.

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