I love the way that maps give us a perspective on data, and there are always plenty of maps around when it comes to elections. Everything these days seems to be presented in blue and red (I wonder when exactly that started in national election coverage…), but there is more then one way to represent who voted for whom using maps.

A great site that provides multiple map views of the 2008 presidential election is “Maps of the 2008 US presidential election results.” They begin with the conventional map that shows which candidate won which states with blue states for Barack Obama and red states for John McCain:

2008 Electoral Map

In what I find an even more revealing graphic, they also provide a breakdown of results by county:

It is hard not to be struck by the vast expanse of red counties across the country. Looking at this map alone, it might be difficult to understand how John McCain lost. Of course the key is to understand the relative population of the various counties, and they provide a map that modifies the size of the county to reflect the size of the population in the county. Even though it represents exactly the same data, this yields a much bluer looking map:

They also provide a map that, rather than presenting results only in red vs. blue, combines red and blue based on the percentage votes of the counties. The result is a country that looks much more purple than the original map would have us believe:

I strongly recommend visiting the site as it provides more information about each of the maps along with additional maps.

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