Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christian Science Monitor Offers Psychographic Patchwork

The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) is offering a unique Patchwork Nation Map that profiles the psychographic characteristics of potential voters at a county level. The map is not a predictor map or electoral vote maps like others but tries to classify the U. S. into 11 "community types" based on age, ethnicity, education, and income status. Obviously, these class types are more amalgamated groups than those offered by Claritas' PRIZM, Pitney Bowes' PSYTE, or ESRI's Tapestry lifestyle segmenation systems. Each grouping by the CSM map provides a town that serves as an example of each group. For example, Eagle, Colorado server as a representation of the "Boom Town" class.

As for the map, the patchwork thematic favors pastel colors that are difficult to discern when compared to the legend. The map itself is fine but to match the thematic map to the legend color is problematic. If you choose the option to remove the county boundaries, you can begin to perceive the lifesytle patterns that are associated geogrphically. I think it is useful for readers to understand these demographic patterns and try to associate them with the potential political outcome.

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