Monday, October 10, 2016

Pew Research's "Growing Ideological Consistency"

This interactive tool from Pew research illustrates left and right skew as well as median and longitudinal data. The x-axis indicates how politically consistent (as determined by a survey of political issues) self-identified republicans and democrats are across time. Press the button and you can animate data, or cut up the data so you only see one party or only the most politically active Americans.
The data for both political part goes from being normally distributed in 1994 to skewed by 2014. And you can watch what happens to the median as the political winds change (and perhaps remind your students as to why mean would be the less desirable measure of central tendency for this example). I think it is interesting to see the relative unity in political thought (as demonstrated by more Republicans and Democrats indicating mixed political opinions) in the wake of 9/11 but more politically consistent (divided?) in the more recent past.

Depending on how deep you feel like going with this example, it can also illustrate research methods for your students as Pew has been gathering this research for years.