Sunday, November 07, 2004

Just How Red is America?

If you've had the misfortune of watching the cable news talking heads recently, you've probably heard them babble on about just how red America is. Sure Kerry earned 48% of the vote, they'll say, but just look at a map of America county by county. It's all red! America is really trending Republican and with the exception of a few cities, completely behind Bush!

Well, not really.

The GOP did win the majority of counties across America. But if you look at the map in terms of "win" and "loss" you see a very misleading map. Many of those red counties just aren't all that red. Even in the deep south, many counties are not firmly in the GOP column. With that in mind, Robert Vanderbei of Princeton University put together the map below:

Here's how he gathered the data for the map:
Using County-by-County election return data from USA Today together with County boundary data from the US Census' Tiger database we produced the following graphic depicting the results. Of course, blue is for the democrats, red is for the republicans, and green is for all other. Each county's color is a mix of these three color components in proportion to the results for that county.
This mixing of red and blue using the percentage of votes gained in the election provides some interesting results. For example Arizona and Georgia are surprisingly purple. The only truly red red states are Oklahoma and Nebraska. This is quite a different picture than Hannity and Scarborough would have us believe.