At Civic Analytics, we love a good puzzle, even when we’re off the clock. When we see that the public is intensely debating a topic, but based on ideology rather than information, curiosity spurs us to discover what stories the related data can tell us. We often post the results of these quests on our blog.
We were intrigued by how politically divided Americans have become in their views of the level of government involvement in our lives. Much of the rhetoric centered on the economy’s “makers v. takers.” But our research revealed an interesting paradox: of the 25 U.S. counties whose citizens are most reliant on government transfers (Social Security, SNAP, etc.), 21 counties voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. We presented this data in a Civic Analytics blog post as a reminder for readers to judge audiences based on data, not assumptions.
The political implications of our research gained the attention of many prominent journalists, including conservative bloggers.