What can we learn from 800,000 public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality plan?

From the Sunlight Foundation blog:

On Aug. 5, the Federal Communications Commission announced the bulk release of the comments from its largest-ever public comment collection. We’ve spent the last three weeks cleaning and preparing the data and leveraging our experience in machine learning and natural language processing to try and make sense of the hundreds-of-thousands of comments in the docket.

Some key findings:

  • We estimate that less than 1 percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality.

  • At least 60 percent of comments submitted were form letters written by organized campaigns (484,692 comments); while these make up the majority of comments, this is actually a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory dockets.

  • At least 200 comments came from law firms, on behalf of themselves or their clients.

For the rest of the analysis - and to dig into the data yourself - head to the full Sunlight blog post here.

What does 1 year+ of political ads look like?

Sunlight examined every political ad contract from April 2013 to June 2014 and found that candidates and outside groups dropped over $4.6 million in that time frame.

A Sunlight Foundation analysis of 14 months worth of contracts at CBS affiliate KYW provides a glimpse at the relentlessness with which voters in key markets are bombarded with political messages — and intriguing details about how office seekers, political parties and other interest groups target them.

Read the full analysis on the Sunlight Foundation blog.

In Washington lobbying, pro-Keystone XL advocates dwarf pipeline opponents

When looking at inside-the-Beltway influence, pro-Keystone XL advocates outnumber pipeline opponents by a wide margin.

Of the top 10 sectors lobbying on the pipeline, nine support building it - only environmental groups are opposed.

Read more about the influence behind the Keystone XL pipeline: http://snlg.ht/1rXBor4

How Birth Year Influences Political Views
From The New York Times:

A new model of presidential voting suggests President Obama’s approval rating — currently in the low 40s — will inform not only the 2016 election, but also the election in 2076. The model, by researchers at Catalist, the Democratic data firm, and Columbia University, uses hundreds of thousands of survey responses and new statistical software to estimate how people’s preferences change at different stages of their lives.

How Birth Year Influences Political Views

From The New York Times:

new model of presidential voting suggests President Obama’s approval rating — currently in the low 40s — will inform not only the 2016 election, but also the election in 2076. The model, by researchers at Catalist, the Democratic data firm, and Columbia University, uses hundreds of thousands of survey responses and new statistical software to estimate how people’s preferences change at different stages of their lives.

Posted 1 month ago
12 notes

Is the Ex-Im bank really doomed? Not likely, if you look at historical lobbying efforts

With the demise of Eric Cantor, some wonder what will happen to the massive Export-Import Bank. But if the lobbying history is any indication, don’t look for the Ex-Im bank to go away anytime soon. 


A new Sunlight Foundation analysis shows 19 of the 20 organizations that lobbied the most on the Export-Import bank since 2008 both support and benefit from it.

Read the analysis here: http://snlg.ht/1sqFJnT

A visualization of the U.S.’ $52.6 billion national intelligence budget — as told by the Snowden leaks — via martingrandjean.ch.

A visualization of the U.S.’ $52.6 billion national intelligence budget — as told by the Snowden leaks — via martingrandjean.ch.

Posted 2 months ago
28 notes

Revolvers’ Dollars: The Cash Behind K Street

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It’s a well-known Washington truism that the place to get rich is on #KStreet. But if you really want to strike it big, head through the revolving door.

That’s because lobbyists with government experience most likely make three times as much as those without it - and significantly more than a member of Congress.

Explore the cash behind K Street in Sunlight’s new series - Revolvers’ Dollars: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2014/01/21/revolving-door-lobbyists-government-experience/

Mapping 400,000 hours of U.S. television news | Internet Archive (originally found via The Atlantic)

IA writes: 

We are excited to unveil a couple experimental data-driven visualizations that literally map 400,000 hours of U.S. television news. One of our collaborating scholars, Kalev Leetaru, applied “fulltext geocoding” software to our entire television news research service collection.

Bonus: view a very cool four-year time lapse animation here.

Extra-special: Sunlight gave a small grant to help the Internet Archive’s TV news project in 2012. :)