Data Journalism took a hit recently, but that doesn’t mean that its basic techniques were invalidated the day the Donald became our 45th president. Collecting large amounts of information is still the best way to identify a measurable correlation, and the New York Times’ Upshot section came out with some of the most vivid images of the disparities in American politics yet. Per The Upshot:
If you had to guess how strongly a place supported Donald J. Trump in the election, would you rather know how popular ‘Duck Dynasty’ is there, or how George W. Bush did there in 2000? It turns out the relationship with the TV show is stronger.
That’s how closely connected politics and culture can be.
The cultural divide largely falls along urban/rural lines. We saw a similar divide in November, with Hillary Clinton winning in cities, college towns, Native American reservations and areas with black and Hispanic majorities. Mr. Trump earned more votes in rural areas.
When we looked at how many active Facebook users in a given ZIP code “liked” certain TV shows, we found that the 50 most-liked shows clustered into three groups with distinct geographic distributions. Together they reveal a national culture split among three regions: cities and their suburbs; rural areas; and what we’re calling the extended Black Belt — a swath that extends from the Mississippi River along the Eastern Seaboard up to Washington, but also including city centers and other places with large nonwhite populations.
This is a pretty incredible piece of journalism, and any person who watches or has a passing interest in television or politics would be wise to check it out, and see what biases they may be exercising when consuming America’s favorite cultural medium. Who knows, maybe the secret to bridging our partisan divides is simply to make each other binge watch our favorite TV shows.