(Click on the picture to enlarge.)
Using a complicated and very unscientific method I calculated how well gigs played by artists touring the U.S. in the three months leading to the election predicted the result of each state. I scraped the concert data from Eventful.com API and cross-referenced that with the state-level election results, taking into account the margin of votes by which each state was won as well as the total number of concerts played in each state.
The index number for each artist was calculated by dividing the margin of win (in absolute votes, positive if for Obama and negative if for Romney) by total number of gigs in each state and awarding this number for all the artists who played a gig in the state. If an artist had more than one gig in a state, the second gig yielded only half of the index points, the third gig one third etc.
To feature on the final graphic the artist had to play gigs in at least ten states or states in which a total of 50 million votes or more were cast. More than one thousand artists qualified even with this limitation, so in the central part of the graphic only a select 70 artists are shown, chosen by their poplularity in Finland where the magazine is published. The final graphic was created in Nodebox and then finalized in Adobe Illustrator.
The artist who best predicted an Obama win was the reggae band Rebelution, whereas a Romney win was best predicted by a gig by the country singer Don Williams. The artist who least predicted win for either was Chris Isaak, probably best known for his 1990s hit ”Wicked Game”. The map below shows the gigs played by these three artists by state in the three months before the election.
(It should be noted that such apparent correlation is not an indication of the political preferences of the artists in question themselves. For example, a gig by Meat Loaf, who is a Romney supporter did not predict a win for Romney, whereas a gig by Weedeater did.)
What did we learn from all this? Probably not much – except I personally did learn quite a bit about data scraping! It was a fun excercise and I hope our readers know a little bit more about U.S. politics than they did before this. And just sayin’, but Nate Silver should maybe keep his eye on Rebelution and Don Williams in 2016! ;)