Election Returns by Population Density

When nationwide maps of election returns are presented, one thing that bothers me is the disconnect between the size of a state (i.e., its physical landmass) and its population. Typical electoral maps (below) show vast swaths of red across the central United States, implying broad national Republican support, when in reality tiny Connecticut has more people than Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming combined.

When you adjust the map so that each state’s size is proportional to its population, the Democrats achieve a broader visual base of support.

Although that diminishes a bit when voting results are broken down by county in the same manner.

Of course, even the most liberal or conservative county doesn’t vote in concert (well, maybe a couple in Utah), so a map that’s color-coded to represent varying levels of voting support might be the best way to view the situation.

That’s America right there.

All images created by University of Michigan professor of Mark Newman, who does a much better job of explaining these concepts at his web site.