9 charts for visualizing election data [+ examples]

27.10.2020 by Kristine Spure

As the 2020 US presidential election draws closer, newsrooms around the world are getting ready to track election data and inform their readers around the globe. 

Election data can get pretty complicated, no matter the scale of the election that needs to be covered. At the same time, readers expect clear data visualizations from the media in order to fully understand the numbers.

Good election visuals can take time to create, so we’ve put together a shortlist of charts you can quickly build with Infogram. Become the go-to source for your readers with high-quality maps, bar chart races, pictorial charts, progress bars, and other data visualization formats.

To reduce the hassle of data input, you can create charts and maps that update in real time and watch your embeds update automatically online. You can also upload your logo and add company colors.

Without further ado, here are the 9 chart types for visualizing election data, starting with the 2020 US presidential election. 


1. Maps – heatmap (choropleth) and grouped

Interactive maps help visualize election data based on a geographical standpoint, which is especially important come election time. With Infogram, you can create free maps of the United States, and our premium plans let you build individual state and regional maps. Our maps feature clickable legends, hover-over tooltips for additional information, and interactive tabs that save space and engage your audience.

Example: The results of the 2016 US Presidential election displayed in a heatmap and a grouped map.


2. Bar chart races

Bar chart races are similar to bar charts but are much more dynamic. They’re great for presenting your data in an engaging and straightforward way. You’ve probably seen this type of chart going viral on social media, and there’s really not much more to be said: Bar chart races really make a splash online. 

Example: Here’s a bar chart race showcasing how the champions of the Premier League have performed throughout the years.

3. Pictorial charts

Pictorial charts use relative sizes or repetition of icons to represent data. Search our large library of icons to build the perfect election pictorial chart.

Example: In this pictorial chart, we visualized and compared who controls the US House of Representatives in 2014 and in 2016. 


4. Bar charts

Bar charts are insanely popular for a reason – they are easy to read and the human brain loves them! Bar charts are plotted horizontally and their lengths are proportional to the values they represent. With Infogram, you can make standard, grouped, stacked, and 100% stacked bar charts, plus bar chart races. 

Example: This bar chart created by PolitiFact shows the percentage of electoral votes won by every presidential winner since George Washington. 


5. Column charts

Similarly to bar charts, column charts are also easy to understand and simple to create, which is why they are so popular. Plotted vertically with lengths proportional to the values, they mostly display discrete categories of data. There are several variations of column charts available on Infogram, including grouped, stacked, and 100% stacked column charts. 

Example: Here we visualized the data from the 2016 presidential election, comparing total votes and swing-state votes from 2012 and 2016. 


6. Stacked bar charts

Stacked bar charts are a nice way to display multiple datasets on the same topic, making your visualization concise and organized.

Example: Here we built a stacked bar chart showing the party breakdown in specific states after the 2016 presidential election. 


7. Pie charts (regular or semi-circle)

Pie charts are widely used in the media and they’re quite popular because they’re easy to create and understand. The main use of a pie chart is to show comparisons between different categories. Pie charts are your best option if your election data represents parts of a whole and adds up to 100%. 

Example: A semi-circle and regular pie chart displaying the percentage of votes in the 2016 US presidential election.


8. Progress bars

Progress bars help monitor the overall progress towards a target or goal. Use them to update readers on election results in real-time, showing the number of votes counted compared to how many have yet to be calculated.

Example: This progress bar chart shows the major parties in the Senate after the 2016 election. It’s easy to read and effective at a glance.


9. Timers

Create an interactive countdown timer that shows the end of an election and publish it on your article or embed it on your website. An interactive election timer will build anticipation, pique your viewer’s interest, and inform the readers when the polls open or close. You can also create a count-up timer that shows how long the representatives or leaders have been elected. 

Example: This countdown timer shows how much time is left until the 2020 United States presidential election.


If you’re working in the media as a journalist, editor, or even if you’re covering social media outputs, it’s your job to grab people’s attention and keep it. People count on you to share the latest election results. 

Would you like to experience the full power of data visualization? Sign up or log in to Infogram to make charts like the ones in this post!


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