Purple America

You’ve all seen this map. Boring and not really representative of what’s going on behind those opaque swatches of red and blue. This is especially true in those large areas of low-density America that give red more weight than it deserves.

But what if the map were redrawn so that the size of each state was proportional to the number of electoral college votes each state holds? Bring on Mark Newman and his cartograms and this is what you get.

Much better. Blue certainly dominates red as the election night electoral vote count indicates. The problem is that the map is still not indicative of the red/blue distribution in each state. Mark dealt with that issue by color coding his map down to the county level to give a truer picture of what a purple America looks like.

Ribbons of blue, red and purple paint a better picture of Democratic and Republican distribution across the country.

Another excellent graphic is this map drawn up by Chris Howard who overlaid population density data on Mark Newman’s maps to show that there is very little solid red or blue anywhere in the country.

For better or worse, it really is a purple America.

(h/t: Will Femia)

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3 thoughts on “Purple America

  1. There’s an interesting point to be made in the assertion that domestic technology can have a profound effect on our lives in totally unanticipated and unexpected ways. In this case, the proliferation of in-home air conditioning has substantially affected the American electorate and voting patterns.

    It’s long been known that older voters and retirees have tended to favor Republicans. Previously, this population was fairly evenly distributed throughout the country, living in the same places where they worked and raised families. Home air conditioning changed all that. AC made it possible for warm, sunny states like Arizona, Florida, Texas and other places in the South appealing as retirement homes. This resulted in a concentration of traditionally conservative voters in particular voting districts. Where their votes had been previosly been scattered in definitively purple areas, the emergence of distinctly red enclaves made extremist candidates more likely to get elected.

    Don’t ask for my source; this was mentioned in a book I read in January or February. My reading list is long, and I don’t always take notes. However, Wikipedia has this to say:

    Since 1970 Sun Belt states have gained 25 electoral votes. Since Lyndon B. Johnson’s election in 1964, every elected United States President, with the exception of Barack Obama from Illinois, has been from the Sun Belt. (Gerald Ford, who was from Michigan, became president following Richard Nixon’s resignation, but was not elected as president, and lost to Georgia’s Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election.)

  2. E.R.

    I don’t understand why the democrats don’t have a majority vote from the elderly. With Obamacare in place,I thought the AARP endorsed Obama for President. Why do they love Republicans so much ??

  3. occupy…
    History, habit, racism, low information, apathy, family preference, excellent Right Wing framing, Faux News and the alternative universe. Take your pick.
    I have some in my family and I’m betting we all do.

    I’m with George Lakoff and the others who contend that when we get our Progressive framing in order (don’t hold your breath), the country will follow.

    One can only HOPE…and keep the conversation going.

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