I’ve always disliked the red/blue electoral maps. As I said on Election Day, these maps are oversimplifications to the point of fiction.
Now we have something better: cartograms.
Their creator, Mark Newman, is a physics professor at the University of Michigan, where he wrote a computer program that takes population into account rather than geographic area. In a regular map, Florida is smaller than New Mexico. Twenty one states are larger than Florida, but only four are larger than New Mexico. In a cartogram, Florida is much larger than New Mexico because the Sunshine State is the 4th most populous state in the union, while the Land of Enchantment is 36th.
Cartograms also take into account the proportion of Republican supporters and Democratic supporters. Each state is a shade of purple.
Cartograms are also used at the county level, as you can see in this NPR story about the new maps.
OR: You also can look around Dr. Newman’s own web page on the 2008 results.
The result is odd looking, at first. But cartograms are much more accurate.
Take a look and tell us what you think.
What patterns do you see? What do they mean to you?
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