July 29, 2003

Excellent! The County-by-County Purple Map

the industrious Ogged, a prince among truffle-hunting internet pigs, turns up:

Posted by DeLong at July 29, 2003 11:32 AM | TrackBack


The problem with all of these is that "size" is a natural representer of political power/vote totals, and that's extraordinarly misleading on any kind of geographical map. Maybe the size of the states/counties should be transformed according to their population?

Posted by: Jason McCullough on July 29, 2003 11:56 AM


It would really be nice, however, to see the map distorted to account for population size. Then I think things would be truly obvious. But a most excellent find!

Posted by: John on July 29, 2003 12:19 PM


This might be a repost, my first one doesn't look
like it went through. There's a map distorted
for electoral vote count (roughly population)
at: http://www.poppyware.com/bowditch/maps/elections/results.html
(you need to scroll down a bit)

That map doesn't take into account margin of victory, though. (all of the margins were relatively small in 2000, I think, so the map is still useful) If you took the purple-purple map and
used light-dark shading based on population density like someone else suggested, it would take
all of these factors into account. And frankly,
it will probably look like a purple population
density map, which I think was the original point
of the purple map post. ;-)

Posted by: Tim on July 29, 2003 12:29 PM


I’d like to see a map that took population density into account and gave you one red or blue dot for each theoretical voter.

(Actually, with this map and a county-by-county population density map — in the same projection — and Photoshop, someone could probably come pretty close.)

Posted by: David Moles on July 29, 2003 12:31 PM


Thanks Tim! That's an excellent map!

Posted by: John on July 29, 2003 12:34 PM


I'm touched Brad. See if I send _you_ anything again.

John and Jason, in the comments to the original post, someone posted the following link to a page that does distort for population, but doesn't shade for percentage of votes.


Posted by: ogged on July 29, 2003 12:35 PM


To be compared to a valuable truffle-hunting pig is a rare compliment...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on July 29, 2003 12:36 PM


It is rare.

Posted by: ogged on July 29, 2003 12:40 PM


Not only are the distorted ones illustrative, they're hilarious looking. Thanks.

Posted by: Jason McCullough on July 29, 2003 12:50 PM


One interesting thing about the county by county map is that it really shows the impact of geographic features (rather than state boundaries). For example, just at a glance, it seems the Mississippi River is largely Democratic, while the Appalachian Mountains are solidly Republican.

Posted by: Nick on July 29, 2003 12:50 PM


This still isn't a purple map, but it's better.

I suppose an industrious programmer type could come up with a program that would change all pixels of a particular color so as to mix in the appropriate level of the opposition color. That'd just be a guess, though, and wouldn't be quite accurate because you can't assume that Dem + GOP = 100%. Then again, the groupings are broad enough that this probably wouldn't matter; the bottom category is 'under 50%', which handily swamps any Nader or Larouche vote.

Posted by: Jon H on July 29, 2003 01:29 PM


Yep--a good map. Still looks pretty blue to me, though :)

Posted by: James Joyner on July 29, 2003 01:56 PM


I thought the blue was nice too, until I noticed that this map reverses the red/blue affiliations. Oops.

Posted by: ogged on July 29, 2003 02:35 PM


Anyone have a colored county (not the state one) population/population density map to compare this with? I'd be interested in whether there's a correlation.

Posted by: Steve on July 29, 2003 03:06 PM


Yes. There's a pretty strong correlation. Los Angeles County... Cook County... Manhattan...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on July 29, 2003 04:17 PM


Actually, just eyeballing the chart, it seems that what you would want is per-county scatterplots of percent Bush/Gore vs. population density and vs. racial composition.

Posted by: Michael Robinson on July 30, 2003 05:26 AM


What the maps say is that the only thing really deciding U.S. elections is the question of how guns are most likely to be used in somebody's neck of the woods. If in hunting Republican, if in crime Democratic.

Posted by: Stan on July 30, 2003 08:19 AM


When I first looked at the bright red in the middle of blue SD, I wondered. Oh, those are the Indian reservations. It is clear that many of the areas that are to the red are areas that contain higher than average minority populations. Houston, New Orleans, Miami, LA, SF, the MS delta, Chicago, Gary, Cleveland, Detroit, Charlotte, Raleigh, Norfolk, DC. The exceptions are New England and the upper MidWest. A recent poll had only 22% of white males in the Democratic column. Ever since Nixon, the Republicans have effectively played the race card in their national elections.

Posted by: bakho on July 30, 2003 12:34 PM


(Ah, a chance to use that Urban/Economic Geography degree the Colllege of L & S at Cal awarded so many years ago)

Adding to Nick's comment, note the econmically significant geography, the Missisippi, the ports of the Great Lakes, the major commercial seaports, (as popposed to my city, San Diego, a military port) and, most significantly, the Piedmont. The Piedmont is the source of the first major industrialization in the US, where the rapid change in elevation encouraged the use of water power, and later its reuse as textile plants moved from the NE to the S. (Of course, the initial burst was not sustained due to the capital costs of maintaining a slave-based economy. Not only immoral, but economically unsound. No wonder the way far right still pines for it).

So the part of America that built America still votes D. Wuld have guessed it, but it's nice to see it so well illustrated.

Posted by: Jon Gallagher on July 30, 2003 02:35 PM


This map is very similar to the map of counties over and under 2/3 white by race. The latter map is lurking on the Internet smoewhere but now I can't find it. Help.

Posted by: Nick on November 30, 2003 09:20 PM


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