Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Here's an Interesting Election Map

I'll be honest - I've been very sick of election maps for quite some time now. For the last four years we (maybe I see this more than non-mappers) have been exposed to constant re-hashes of the 2012 Presidential Election - cartograms, hexagons, county-level, even more detailed, should we make the close results purple, gray or black? 3D? It's kind of a shame because there are interesting cartographic problems and ways to solve them here but the overexposure kills it for me.

Anyway, I saw this map in the Washington Post and it's pretty cool. 
The presentation is a bit complex because there are numerous variables being shown. Each triangle is a county. The height represents the total votes cast while the width at the base is the margin of victory. Bold triangles represent landslides, defined as "50%" - I think this means 50% vote differential. These are most common in the largest cities and smallest rural counties, particularly ones in the rust belt where the election was decided. The typical red and blue color scheme is used.* The rotation with east up was probably done for better web presentation and causes momentary confusion because it looks "wrong".

I like that the red and blue states are subtly colored so they don't overwhelm the important data here. I don't expect this type of map will become popular - the message takes some reading to decode but it's a nice break from the usual maps and mapping debates that we'll be seeing for years to come.
The full map is here - it's the second map, the first one is worth a look too.

* When I first began making election maps in the 1980's, we had blue for Republican and red for Democrat. I think television news flipped this and now we all take these colors for granted.

No comments: