Mapping the presidency

Personally, I've been getting a bit fed-up with the maps used in the coverings of the more recent elections for the next president of the United States of America. To be honest, the maps, like the ones above are a bit bland and boring, with red being republicans and blue being democrats. Big TV networks, such as CNN, come up with high-tech gadgets (such as those ridiculous holograms), but seem to be unable to come up with a decent alternative for the map as displayed above.

One of my main troubles with the map is that it's a non-corresponding image. What I mean is such: simply looking at the map, one is suggested first that McCain won the elections (concidering that the largest part of the image is coloured red). The map shows a relation between color/votes and land mass, while it in fact should show a direct relation between population and votes. Or, better yet: between electoral college and votes.
I am not the only one who has been thinking about this non-representational representations in relation to the US-elections. And among the people who have taken this thought further is somebody called Mark Newman (who's also the person behind "atlas of the real world". And the good thing is: he didn't just moan about this issue (such as I do), he actually has the skills to adjust the maps, which he shows on his website.

Like this map right here. Here, the land-mass of the various states are left behind, and the votes are linked to the electoral college. It gives a better impression of the actual result of the election: a larger proportion is coloured blue. And the actual importance of various states is shown: just look at the size of states like Montana and New York in the two previous maps, for instance. The vast, outstretched state of Montana, while looking relatively important when land mass is considered, is, in fact, pretty useless for the final outcome.

But what happens when this is taken one step further: look at the map below. In this one, the results in each county are shown, also with the winner-takes-all principle. This clearly seems to indicate a landslide victory for the republicans. But we all know that to be wrong, right? So actually, the only thing this seems to prove is that McCain has had a stronger rural electorate than Obama, which won more votes in the densely populated areas.

And still, one can go further than this. What if the inhabitants pro state are linked to the results? Well, the map below is the outcome of that. Pretty fascinating, right?

For those of you inspired by these maps, Mark Newman went all out on the creative common principle: the software he uses is available for all to use, to be found, again, on his website. Unfortunately, you need to understand something about computer coding languages. Or, at least, own a C++ compiler and a whole bunch of patience, two things I unfortunately lack...

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