We’ve been getting a fair amount of information in the European media about the presidential race in the USA, but I’ve still not been following things as closely as I should. Came across this resource recently that could help out: Presidential Watch 2008 from Linkfluence. Two interesting things here:
First, the use of information visualization is quite good, I believe. The graphs could be drawn a little better, but overall it’s fairly intuitive to use and provides a good amount of control. The main focus is to show trends–mostly at the source level. And it does this good. I like the Trends Monitor, where you can put two candidates head to head on a chart. (I assume this is a Flex application rendered in Flash on the browser.)
Second, the use of analytics to measure influence is interesting. The Watch includes blogs and communities as well as traditional online media, so you get a fairly broad picture. Looks like they are using volume of links to measure influence, which is a good start. To some degree, they may also be analyzing who is saying what and how they are saying it.
What you don’t get is how much the leading sources of information in the presidential campaign change opinions. Just because lots of people link to a certain political blog, for instance, doesn’t indicate whether others are persuaded to change their opinions. That’s hard to measure, but when talking about influence you ultimately need to know that.