As the 2016 election season trudges inexorably toward a November climax, it might be instructive to learn more about all of the candidates, both those who have withdrawn as well as the remaining hopefuls. An interesting way to do this is to ignore all the debates, talking points, and public pronouncements, and instead focus on the campaign contribution patterns of each candidate. Using data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) http://www.fec.gov/disclosurep/pnational.do, we can observe and analyze patterns within the contribution filings. This will enable deeper insight into who is funding the campaigns, at least at the visible, public level, if not the somewhat murkier world of political PACs and other organizational entities.
To provide insight into this data, we'll work with a candidate dashboard using Tableau Public. With this approach, not only can I begin to draw some conclusions about the candidates and their supporters, but others can also dive into the data and detect underlying patterns. In this article, I will first provide a link to this dashboard, allowing readers to investigate the data on their own, but we will then look at a variety of excerpts from the dashboard that should call out some of the important patterns in the data.