Democratic Candidate - Gov. Pat Quinn
Republican Candidate - Bill Brady

Demographics in Politics

You are a political analyst for a local news station. Tonight, you will be appearing on a program discussing the 2010 Illinois Gubernatorial Race between Governor Pat Quinn (D) and Senator Bill Brady (R). This week, the program will focus on race, gender, and age and their leanings in this election. You must be prepared to discuss what races, age groups, and genders support which candidate.

Task One - Data Spreadsheet
You can't talk about something you don't know, so your first task is to gather information regarding the topic you will be discussing tonight on the program.
  • Gather polling data from websites below
  • Combine polling data by gender, race, and age
  • Put the combined data in an Excel spreadsheet

Task Two - Making Charts
You will need to have some visual aides for the show tonight, so you will need to make some pie charts.

  • Go to the pie chart maker shown below
  • Make three pie charts: one for each demographic area​

Task Three - Analysis Paper

You will analyze the data that you found in Task One. From this data, you will identify the political leanings of certain demographic groups and discuss their implications upon the projected race for Illinois Governor.

  • You will need to write using Microsoft Word.
  • Use proper grammar.

  1. Go to the Research 2000 Poll and write down the data by demographics of age, gender, and race.
  2. Go to the Illinois Poll and write down the data by demographics of age, gender, and race.
  3. Focus only on the data for Bill Brady and Pat Quinn.
  4. If data is given in percentages, look for a total number of people interview, and use the idea that a% * t = n where a is percentage (in decimal form), t is the total number of people, and n is the number of people that support that candidate.
  5. Combine the data and compute the new percentages based on the two polls. Round to the nearest hundredth of a percent.
  6. Open Microsoft Excel.
  7. Make an Excel Spreadsheet which presents the data in a professional manner.
  8. Go to the Pie Chart Maker website.
  9. Use your data to from the spreadsheet to make three pie charts.
  10. First, make a pie chart based on age.
  11. Second, make a pie chart based on gender.
  12. Third, make a pie chart based on race.
  13. Save your pie charts, and print them out to turn in later.
  14. Open Microsoft Word.
  15. Write several paragraphs explaining the significance of the data you collected.
  16. Tell which demographic groups lean toward which candidate and by how much each demographic group leans.
  17. Explain how much a particular demographic group could have an impact on the overall gubernatorial race.


  1. Research 2000 Poll
  2. The Illinois Poll
  3. Pie Chart Maker

Illinois Learning Standards

These standards apply for Mathematics at the Middlel/Junior High School level.

10.A.3a Construct, read and interpret tables, graphs (including circle graphs) and charts to organize and represent data.

10.A.3c Test the reasonableness of an argument based on data and communicate their findings.

10.B.3 Formulate questions (e.g., relationships between car age and mileage, average incomes and years of schooling), devise and conduct experiments or simulations, gather data, draw conclusions and communicate results to an audience using traditional methods and contemporary technologies.

This standard applies for Social Studies at the Middle/Junior High School level.

14.D.3 Describe roles and influences of individuals, groups and media in shaping current Illinois and United States public policy (e.g., general public opinion, special interest groups, formal parties, media).


Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.
identify trends and forecast possibilities.

Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
plan strategies to guide inquiry.
locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
process data and report results.



In completing this assignment, you should have a better understanding of demographics and how they affect political representation. Additionally, you should now be able to represent and interpret data in multiple ways.