2012 Chart Of The Year Nominees

Below are the nominees we’ve selected for the 2012 Chart Of The Year. Please review them and then vote for your favorite at the bottom of the page.


The Top Ten International Defense Budgets (Mar 20):

Breaking news: the US defense budget dwarfs all others:


(Hat tip: Mother Jones)


Race/Age as a Percentage of The Total Population (May 3):


A reason Obama wins the youth vote:

Perhaps because Obama’s strength among young voters was first evident in Iowa, an extremely white state, discussions of race and age are generally held separately. Obama certainly did better among young whites than their parents and grandparents (54% among young whites v. 41% among all other whites), but much of Obama’s exceptional performance among young voters was due to the larger share of non-white voters. Indeed, even if Obama did as poorly among young whites as he did among whites over 30, Obama still would have won 58% of the youth vote. So long as non-white voters continue to offer overwhelming support for Democrats, the youth vote can be expected to offer overwhelming support for Democrats, as well.


Marijuana Use By Age (Aug 7):


Paul Waldman takes the long view on marijuana legalization efforts:

The public opinion data have parallels in what we know about who has used marijuana. According to the government’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, majorities of every age group below 60 (with one anomalous exception) tell surveyors they have smoked pot sometime in their lives. Given that the surveys ask people to admit to illegal behavior, it’s almost certain that the actual numbers are higher, though just how much higher we can’t tell. While there are surely some people who have smoked pot but believe fervently that it should be illegal, the fact that half the electorate got high and survived suggests an ample constituency for legalization efforts.


Who Rejects the Right to an Abortion in Case of Rape (Aug 22):

Razib Kahn breaks down public opinion on abortion and rape. Note that no demographic group, not even biblical literalists or the extremely conservative, breaks fifty percent in denying abortion to rape victims:


How did a major political party adopt a policy position that is so so so far out of the mainstream? One word: fundamentalism.


Newspaper Advertising Revenue, 1950-2012 (Sep 12):


Mark Perry checks in on the decline of newspapers:

The blue line in the chart above displays total annual print newspaper advertising revenue (for the categories national, retail and classified) based on actual annual data from 1950 to 2011, and estimated annual revenue for 2012 using quarterly data through the second quarter of this year, from the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). The advertising revenues have been adjusted for inflation, and appear in the chart as millions of constant 2012 dollars. Estimated print advertising revenues of $19.0 billion in 2012 will be the lowest annual amount spent on print newspaper advertising since the NAA started tracking ad revenue in 1950.


Growth of the Religiously Unaffiliated (Oct 9):


Pew finds that more and more Americans are religiously unaffiliated:

One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling. In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).

Alan Jacob asks:

The question I would ask is this: Has there been an actual increase in religiously unaffiliated people, or do people who are in fact unaffiliated simply feel more free than they once did to acknowledge that fact? My suspicion is that until quite recently a person born and baptized into the Catholic church who hadn’t attended Mass in fifteen years would still identify as a Catholic; but recently is more likely to accept his or her unaffiliated status.

Razib Khan adds:

There has always been a tendency for more people to hold to atheistic and agnostic positions than those who would admit to being atheists or agnostics. That gap is closing. Why? I have no idea, but I do think that people need to stop talking about how terrible the New Atheism is for secularists. I doubt this wave of secularization has anything to do with the New Atheism (it precedes it), but certainly the New Atheism has not turned people off to secularism.

And Ed Kilgore thinks politically:

[I]t’s important to remember that America remains far and away the most religiously oriented of advanced industrial democracies. But without question, the Democratic Party with its ever-strenghtening commitment to church-state separation and diversity is better equipped than a GOP in thrall to an ever-militant Christian Right to cope with the religious trends of the country as they appear today.


US Weather Fatalities 1940-2011 (Oct 31):


Dylan Matthews tallied weather-related fatalities:

As Wonkblog’s Brad Plumer explained in a Monday post, it’s hard to attribute single weather events to climate change. But clearly something is causing the across-the-board rise in weather-related deaths, and global climate change, which worsens hurricanes and promotes heat waves and tornadoes, may be a prime culprit.

Fallows sees parallels between the global warming debate and the smoking causes cancer debate:

Of course no one can prove that this storm was “caused by” climate change and global warming. But the increasingly frequent occurrence of “unusual,” “extreme,” and “once per century” weather events — heat, cold, drought, flood — is in keeping with all warnings about the effects of climate change (as explained here). I’m not arguing the entire climate change case now, and don’t have special standing to do so anyway. I am saying that this reminds me of the mounting evidence about smoking and health, when I was a kid — the medical conventions my father went to in the early 1960s were full of smokers, those a decade later had practically no smokers — or about environmentalism generally in the ‘Silent Spring’ era. Denialism continues, until all of a sudden it is irrelevant.


Demographics of Romney and Obama Voters (Nov 9):

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Tom Scocca notes that 88 percent of Romney voters were White:

[W]hite separatism was not enough to break up the actual Obama mandate. Obama’s support was so broad that if white people had simply split 50-50, rather than favoring their ethnic candidate, the president would have won 58 percent of the popular vote.


Single-Mother Families and Violent Crime (Nov 27):

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Philip Cohen interprets it:

Violent crime has fallen through the floor (or at least back to the rates of the 1970s) relative to the bad old days. And this is true not just for homicide but also for rape and other assaults. At the same time, the decline of marriage has continued apace.

He adds:

I’ve written before about the assumption that the rise in single-parent families was responsible for the violent crime bonanza of the 1980s and 1990s. (Romney and Ryan returned to this theme….) By my reading of the research, it is true that children of single mothers are more likely to commit crimes. But other factors are more important.


Household Gun Ownership Rates by Party (Dec 18):


Nate Silver breaks down gun ownership by political affiliation:

In 1973, about 55 percent of Republicans reported having a gun in their household against 45 percent of Democrats, according to the General Social Survey, a biennial poll of American adults. Gun ownership has declined over the past 40 years — but almost all the decrease has come from Democrats. By 2010, according to the General Social Survey, the gun ownership rate among adults that identified as Democratic had fallen to 22 percent. But it remained at about 50 percent among Republican adults.

He writes that demographic data “suggest that gun ownership will continue to decline among Democrats while holding steady among Republicans, further increasing the partisan gap.” Relatedly, Enten takes a closer look at Democrats’ gun control views:

Those in favor of fewer gun restrictions are winning the battle because they are breaking into demographic groups that normally vote Democratic. Romney took only 36% of the vote in urban areas, but 46% of urbanites were for minor or no gun restrictions. More tellingly, Romney took only 18% of the vote among non-whites, but 32% of non-whites were for minor or no gun restrictions. This finding is confirmed in an April Pew poll. So, Democrats also have to reckon with a base that isn’t as anti-gun as you might think.


Which chart do you think was the best of 2012?

When you’re finished, use one of these links to vote for another 2012 award:

Hewitt Award
Malkin Award
Moore Award
Dick Morris Award
Yglesias Award
Poseur Alert Of The Year
Hathos Alert Of The Year
Mental Health Break Of The Year
Face Of The Year

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