Posted by: structureofnews | February 24, 2016

Gaming the Elections

campmanager1Just a quick plug for Reuter’s new White House Run app, a news game that lets players create a virtual candidate and see how their positions on key issues match those of the public’s.

As Jason Fields, who helped come up with the idea and then steer the creation of the app, put it in a blog post on

Reuters has been looking for new ways to tell the story of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, along with our text, photos, videos and polling data.

And this is certainly another new way to get the great Reuters/Ipsos polling data out in front of people – after coming out with machine-generated summaries of automated analysis of data last year in the revamped Polling Explorer, we’ve now ventured into the news games space.

Check it out: Once you download the app – only for iPhones, I’m afraid – you can sign in via Facebook or as a guest, then create a candidate of your choice. Then:

After answering five setup questions, including party affiliation, gender, race/ethnicity, religiosity and top policy priority, players are then asked to give “stump speeches” on important issues. Reuters/Ipsos polling data will measure how in tune with voters the “candidates” are.

And how well your views mesh with those of the general public determines your “electability” score.  Players also get quizzed on general knowledge at “debates” and “town halls,” and their scores there also get factored into electability.  (After all, candidates are supposed to stay on top of news and know what’s going on around the world.)  And they get to compare their scores with that of their friends (or enemies).

OK, so it’s not the most scientific model of the elections.  But the positions players take will be measured against real polling data from the ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll, so they will get a better understanding of what the electorate is thinking about various issues. And the quizzes are just tough enough to be interesting, but no so full of arcane questions that only news junkies can get through them.

And if that gets people more involved, and more engaged, in the issues of the elections, why not have some fun in the process?


  1. […] of turnout on election day.  Either way, it’s a step forward for us into the simulation and news games front that we hope helps users better understand the election […]

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