Maps of the election

Election night saw me watching the election, but not on TV. Apart from the CNN visualization map wall, the best political election maps are now found online. This year I relied on the New York Times (below) and for the second election in a row I used Twitter feeds to get breaking results, along with political sites like Politico, Five Thirty-Eight (now at NYT), and DailyKos which often link you in the election state and county-by-county election returns. (The latter can be used to extrapolate incomplete returns and predict a winner, as happened in the Senate races for Colorado and Washington.)

Regarding Twitter, you don’t have to be subscribed to journalists and commentators across the country. Some sites (I used HuffPo for example) aggregate these and scroll them across a single web page.

As well as interactive results at NYT, which allows you to zoom and get more detail, after election night is over you get to do analysis! Since I’ll be doing a redistricting project in the spring where we’ll look at the redistricting census data and the outcomes of state legislatures, these data are invaluable (as are exit polls).

For example, look at this map showing percent white vs. number of Democratic and Republican wins. I’ve adjusted it to show the win breakdown for districts that are between 2.3% and 65.1% white. On a night when Dems lost 60 seats overall, in those less white districts they easily prevailed by 110-55 seats.

(The Republicans still picked up 8 seats shown here by shaded districts.)

This is useful in redistricting. You can ask, what percentage black does a district has to be before a Republican won’t win it? The answer: about one third.

Nationally, no seat was won by the GOP that was more than about a third black. Therefore, if you are the state legislature of Georgia, which is Republican controlled and will be doing the new maps, and you want to create a GOP district, make sure it is not more than 1/3 black.

Actually, in Georgia there’s not much more for the GOP to win in terms of Congressional seats! They’ll never win Atlanta, so that’s 3 seats, and elsewhere in Georgia there’s only 2 Democrats out of 13. (Georgia is due to get another, 14th seat.)

If you want to play with redistricting possibilities, there’s a cool online tool here. I used this in my Political Geography class last spring and you can play out different scenarios from the highly partisan to more balanced outcomes.

If you have Esri ArcGIS they also offer a redistricting tool here.


One response to “Maps of the election

  1. Pingback: Redistricting maps with GIS: (1) Background | Open Geography

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