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.