THE COST OF
VOTER APATHY


Is spending on political campaigns correlated to voter turnout?

For the 2013 Bicoastal Datafest, hosted by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, we wanted to test a contrarian hypothesis: where there is more voter apathy, as measured by turnout, there is more political spending.

Spoiler: we did not find evidence for our hypothesis, or the inverse. Spending per voter does not appear to be correlated in any way with voter turnout.

However, we did learn a lot about combining datasets from multiple sources, linking data to maps, and the limits of hackathons.

Non-exhaustive list of things we goofed up here:

The team wound up being more interested in drivers of voter turnout than money. Future improvements to this project may look deeper into voter turnout.