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Thanks for your analysis! We agree with you that the design may be a little off-center, however we also felt like there was excellent use of color, a very clear "main point" at the top, and a clear call to interactivity and explanation of that interactivity. In other words, the visualization tells a story and that story is easy to see and understand: the winner of the presidential election is correlated to the current state of the economy. The fact that Adam created a new-for-Tableau (and very statistically useful) visualization did not hurt his entry either.
Also, please keep in mind that we were comparing this visualization to other entries. This viz was chosen as the best entry from all of the entries based on a series of criteria, including design, visual best practices, and most importantly, the story that the visualization tells.
I hope that explains our process and choice more clearly. It would be a lie to say it was easy, there were many excellent visualizations this time around.