Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cartograms of Presidential Election Results

Well, we have our final electoral map, and here it is:

Funny, glancing at that map doesn't give one the impression of a big Democratic victory, because the red states are disproportionately large relative to their populations. This is where cartograms come in handy: maps in which the sizes of states are rescaled according to their population. When we do this by state, we get this:

Much bluer, and much more representative of what happened. The same thing can be done with the county map made famous after the Bush election. Not surprisingly, that map in this election doesn't look all that different, or all that blue:

But here comes the cartogram:

That's much more indicative of what happened. And if you dislike the all-or-nothing approach, here is the same cartogram with shades of purple for counties by proportional mix of blue and red votes:

One thing is clear: it is a very purple nation. For more cartograms and explanations, go here.

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