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Visualizing the online debate on the European Constitution
Franck Ghitalla, Guilhem Fouetillou
University of Technology of Compiegne (UTC) - France
Project Description:
This visualization reflects the impact of blogs and websites in swinging public opinion on the May referendum about European Constitution in France. The goal of this study was to better understand the political debate on the Web and how it is structured in terms of sites correlations.

Taking as treating starting point ten sites of the referendum, the authors repatriated more than 12.000 sites and 2.500.000 pages. After an extensive automated filtering process seeking for words or expressions in connection with the debate, 295 sites were selected and classified in either sites of Yes or sites of No. The No campaign set up 161 of the 295 sites focusing on the constitutional debate, helping redress a bias towards the Yes campaign in the mainstream media. The No vote eventually won the referendum on May 29 with a 55 per cent majority.

It is the community of No which is densest, 76% of its bonds are intercommunity against 52,5% for Yes. If one brings back these figures to the respective sizes of the communities and calculates the coefficient of opening for each community, there's a coefficient of opening 20% more significant for the community of Yes than for that of No.

In the depicted graph, red nodes denote the No sites while the blue ones reflect the Yes. Edges express relationships (linkage) and the nodes' size represents the level of authority (popularity), in analogy to GoggleRank.

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