As part of its efforts to engage more Americans in the democratic process, Knight helped support the launch of a SuperPAC App, which lets people use their phone to identify political advertisements and receive objective, third-party information. It also allows the user to rate the ad, while understanding who and how much money is behind it, what claims it makes, and whether they’re based on facts. Below, its co-creator Dan Siegel writes about what they’re learning from the data collected.
Boom, Kapow, Wow!
Do Super PACs matter?
That has been the question heading into campaign season, the first in history in which anyone can contribute any amount to run any ad to influence the presidential election.
Before a single ad was aired, Mitt Romney called Super Pacs a "disaster" and President Obama singled them out as a "threat to our democracy." Yikes.
We at Super PAC App recently dug into some of our data to see what we’ve got to offer to this conversation. We looked at how users are rating TV ads by geography, and force-ranked states as most pro-Obama (deepest blue) vs. most pro-Romney (deepest red), leaving a collection of states in the middle. It's worth noting that this is just one slice of our data, and TV ads are just one piece of the campaign pie. We plan to publish all Super PAC App data after the election and hope other interesting findings emerge. In the above infographic, we analyzed 3,492 user-provided ratings collected from Sept. 24 through Oct. 23.
Boom: swings are swings
Of the moving target of states whose outcomes are considered unknown today—let’s call them Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin—four of them (Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia) were indeed among our most divided states. This means that users in these states felt equally positively (or negatively, for you glass-half-empties) about Romney and Obama ads; Florida and Virginia in particular had nearly dead-even rankings on how they viewed Romney and Obama ads.