Who did your neighbor donate money to?
This is really amazing: Political Wire posted a short blurb about a new adaptation of Google's all-powerful Maps software.
Indiana University doctoral student Matthew Kane's website is a simple combination of political contribution information from FundRace and Google's down-to-the-block Google Maps. What this little combo does is nothing short of astounding. You can search by any ZIP code and get results down to the block of who donated, how much and to whom.
The ethically shady part of this is that it also shows the names and, if you have the patience, phone numbers of each donor. So if you were to search San Francisco's 94110 zip code (shown at left), not only would you find that Dems are overwhelmingly the political preference out here (big surprise, that), but you could also find out to whom your neighbors donated money and how much.
Talk about encouraging uncomfortable conversations at the next block party -- would you want to be the sole Republican amongst a group of deep-blue liberals?
Putting aside any concerns about future eggings and/or toilet-paper attacks on politically incompatible flatmates, Kane's project is an endlessly interesting and informative toy.
For instance, Cheyenne, Wyo., residents donated 71 percent of their political dollars to Republicans, and only 28 percent to Dems. Seattle, Wash., on the other hand is 78 percent Dem and 21 percent Repub.
|Salt Lake City, 84111: nary a political bumper-sticker to be found|
But compare the sheer number of donations in the SF picture above with this picture from Salt Lake City (56 to 43 percent Repub. to Dem.): 94110 is wall-to-wall political activity, whereas 84111 is merely drizzled with donations. Say what you will about the different population densities of the areas, but those little blue balloons do not lie.
A warning: as of right now, this site is pretty slow and a little bit clunky, and quite a few of the ZIPs I tried didn't work perfectly or at all, but newness notwithstanding this is an idea with huge potential, both politically and for sheer entertainment value.