[BV] FiveThirtyEight’s “Who’s Buying Ads?”

By Peter Fortunato, Editor

There are so many colors in this graph that it distracts from the main message: billionaires have an outsized advantage for when it comes to running for public office, in this case, President of the United States.

Mike Bloomberg and Ted Steyer, two billionaires running for President, have demonstrated their ability to spend endless amounts of money on political ads to make their case for the Democratic nomination. That fact is clearly visible in this graph.

However, the multitude of other colors (representing the crowded field of Democratic contenders plus Donald Trump, his supporters, and Republicans who don’t stand a chance for the GOP nomination muddies up this graph.

According to a NASA report titled “Use of Color in Data Visualization“, humans are able to reliably distinguish between only five and ten colors simultaneously. This graphic uses 12 colors, clearly too much for the average human eye to process.

In my opinion, this graph would communicate its information more effectively if they just had one color for Steyer, one for Bloomberg, one for Trump (and groups that support Trump), and then a color for all of the other Democratic candidates. That way we could clearly see the difference between billionaires and non-billionares running the most powerful office of the free world.

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