In the aftermath of this week’s presidential election, it’s hard not to feel like a nation divided. No matter how you look at it, Republican/Democrat, popular vote/electoral college, win/lose, there’s a perceived lack of unity.
The electoral college map shows such stark contrast between red and blue states because it uses a binary scale. A voting majority of 0.1% looks the same as a voting majority of 20% in the maps continually circulated by the media.
My friend Sarah messaged me yesterday morning about a “purple map” – one that took into account the actual voting percentages. We worked together yesterday and came up with the following:
As a country, we aren’t as red as the electoral map would have us believe. Most states were very close overall. You can interpret that several ways – I’ll leave it up to you. Data can be manipulated in so many ways to make us feel certain ways, and it’s important to consider the sources and what benefits can be derived from the information. There’s a lot to be said here about media and marketing and who benefits from constantly circulating the original map and perhaps I’ll come back to that at another time.
For now, I just want to explain how I created the map. I used the voting percentages from CNN (based on Trump’s votes, only for the simple reason that he is the current president-elect) on a scale of blue to red, selecting the corresponding shade of purple for each state. States that are more pink had a higher voter turnout for Trump, states that are more of a deep purple had a higher turnout for Clinton. The data was current as of 12:30pm yesterday.
If you have any questions about how the map was created, please let me know. I’m not a graphic designer, and I’m not a cartographer or data professional. I just followed up on an idea from a friend and thought I’d share what we put together.