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Data Display Choices

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A Presidential Picture

Credit: Pete Souza/White House
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Obama_at_White_House_gun_violence_meeting.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Do you think the President of the United States is doing a good job? Do you approve of his efforts? This is a question of statistics that many people and pollsters grapple with every day.

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It's all about the numbers—this is the case from the campaign, to the election, to the actual presidency. No matter who the candidate is, the numbers are calculated, adjusted, and calculated again. How are the final results presented? Well, that depends on the data display. Different data displays can serve different purposes.

Credit: Laura Guerin
Source: CK-12 Foundation
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Take a look at this circle graph from the 2012 presidential race. This data was collected from one survey that was taken of a sample of voters aged 50 and over. One of the reasons that statistics can be tricky is because results can vary based on who is surveyed. How those results are displayed can make a difference too. You can see that this circle graph shows a prediction for senior citizen voters.

Throughout a president's term in office, his advisors constantly follow a statistic known as an "approval rating." This rating measures the satisfaction of the American people with regards to the job the current president is doing. You can see a double line graph of President Barack Obama's approval and disapproval ratings over time at the following link: http://www.gallup.com/poll/113980/gallup-daily-obama-job-approval.aspx

Take a closer look at the 2012 election results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N-7WfJ52dI

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Check out the approval ratings of other presidents at the link below.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/116677/presidential-approval-ratings-gallup-historical-statistics-trends.aspx

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Pete Souza/White House; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Barack_Obama_at_White_House_gun_violence_meeting.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Laura Guerin; Source: CK-12 Foundation; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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