November 4, 2004

· Politics

Via Pandagon I see that Michelle Malkin smugly presents us with a map (from USA Today) showing the apparently overwhelming predominance of Bush-supporting counties in the United States. That’s the top panel in the figure below. Looks like the GOP is overwhelmingly dominant, eh? Well, no, of course. It takes about ten seconds on Google to find the bottom panel of the figure, which shows you about how many people live in each county. The comparison is instructive. Of course, there are still a bunch of well-populated areas that Bush carried, but we know that already because, you know, he won the election.

Note also that the USA Today map has quite a few missing observations, shaded in grey, presumably because the final results weren’t available when they drew the map. Missing observations seem predominantly to be counties with large urban populations. Most of these (like Cook County, IL, and Palm Beach County, FL!) should probably be colored blue, as a comparison with the 2000 results shows. CT readers are probably too sensible to fall for invidious comparisons like this to begin with, but it does seem that the likes of Michelle Malkin think that complete dominance of the Prairie Dog and cowpat vote is what really matters. She should check to see how Leroy Chiao voted—maybe the GOP can claim the Solar System vote, too.

Update: Thanks to some pointers in the comments, below the fold I’ve included two other figures. The first is a cartogram from the New York Times that scales the states by their electoral college votes, and the section is a terrific map from Robert Vanderbei that gives a continuous rather than a binary representation of the county vote data, allowing us to see that “purple America” is more common than red or blue America.


New York Times Cartogram of Electoral College Votes.


Robert Vanderbei’s “Purple America” Vote Data Map.


A bigger version is available here and an even bigger version can be had from Robert’s website.

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.



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