Elections 2012 — Data visualizations (Part 2) charting the money behind the measures

Hear more about this project and how it developed on the Peninsula Report radio podcast.

This is the last of a two-part Peninsula Press series featuring data visualizations that map the money behind California’s statewide ballot measures. Yesterday’s installment analyzed campaign contributions by geography. Today, the interactive graphics (see below) look at when donors contributed in 2011-12 and at the occupations of the top 15 donors to each of the measures.

The visualizations are based on data from the California Secretary of State, tracking financial contributions to committees that support or oppose a given measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. The information included filing dates and occupations; to track the timing, it was  joined with a calendar.

Below are directions for how to navigate the two charts, as well as summaries of the ballot measures.


How to use the chart above:

  • Represented here is the amount of money contributed month-by-month, and quarterly, to committees that support or oppose each of the 11 ballot measures. Consult the color legend on the right sidebar.
  • Toggle from one measure to another by clicking the button next to each name on the right sidebar.
  • Hover your mouse over a bar to find more information.

How to use the chart above: 

  • Represented here are the occupations of the top 15 donors to each measure.
  • Toggle from one measure to another by clicking the button next to each name on the right sidebar.
  • Some donors did not disclose their occupations (listed as not specified).

Data analysis and visualizations by Anna Li, who also wrote the text.

Special thanks to Gauthier Vasseur for database and data visualization expertise. 

The ballot measures are:

  • Proposition 30 (Education and Safety Fund) would temporarily increase sales tax and personal income tax for upper-income taxpayers to fund state programs.
  • Proposition 31 (State Budget) would authorize and fund local government services, prevent the state Legislature from passing certain bills, grant the governor more power to cut state spending during fiscal emergencies, and create a two-year budget cycle.
  • Proposition 32 (Political Contributions by Payroll Deductions) would bans unions and certain corporations from making direct donations to political candidates and ballot campaigns. It also would prohibit government contractractors from funding elected officials who give them contracts, and ban the use of payroll deductions for political purposes. Super PAC’s would be exempt.
  • Proposition 33 (Auto Insurance) would allow insurance companies to determine rates based on a driver’s auto insurance history, unless past lapses are under 90 days or are a result of military service or unemployment.
  • Proposition 34 (Death Penalty) would overturn the death penalty in California and allocate $100 million to be paid to local law enforcement agencies over the next four years.
  • Proposition 35 (Human Trafficking) would increase penalties for human trafficking, expand the definition of human trafficking to include the distribution of child pornography, grant local law enforcement officials the power to monitor the Internet activities of sex offenders, and ban the use of a victim’s sexual history as court evidence.
  • Proposition 36 (Three Strikes) would amend the three strikes law so that life sentences are only imposed if the most recent crime committed is serious or violent, with a few exceptions.
  • Proposition 37 (Genetically Engineered Food Labeling) would require labeling of foods prepared with genetically modified plant and animal materials (see bill for exemptions) and prohibit such foods from being labeled “natural.”
  • Proposition 38 (Early Education Tax) would raise personal income taxes to fund education, child care and state debt payments.
  • Proposition 39 (Business Tax for Energy Projects) would ask multistate businesses to determine their taxes based on their sales in California and dedicate $550 million per year (for five years) to fund alternative energy proposals
  • Proposition 40 (Redistricting Referendum) would keep State Senate districts in accordance with the plans of the Citizens Redistricting Commission.


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