Crockpot 08.31.12: Maps Edition

| 8/31/2012 12:24:10 PM

Red Globe  

There has been no shortage of map-based predictions of this year’s election, with all eyes on the 95-odd tossup electors, especially the ones in Ohio and Florida. One of the more interesting takes has been the map center at, which lets you compare solid and swing states against demographic data (their Patchwork Nation map series is also really worth checking out). But David Sparks, a Duke political scientist, has a more fine-tuned approach. Almost all election maps, he realized, were choropleth, meaning only differences between states or counties could be shown. An isarthmic map, on the other hand, allows you to see gradations and contours that don’t necessarily fall into concrete political boundaries.

So Sparks created an isarthmic election map—quite possibly the first of its kind—which lets us see the informal political boundaries that simpler maps often miss. What’s more, he created a time-lapse of presidential returns from 1920 to 2008, which gives us a dramatic portrait of how our political landscape changed over much of the last century. You can see it here, on Ecopolitology. What stands out more than anything is just how solid the South has almost always been, whether as staunch Dixiecrats before the Civil Rights Act, or as a reliable GOP base since Nixon. It also illustrates the huge, long-term changes that accompanied elections like 1932, 1960, and 1980—and of course 2008.


Wasn’t this in Russia? Yanko Tsvetkov’s amusing Mapping Stereotypes project on Brain Pickings explores the world through the unforgiving eyes of Russians, Americans, and a few others. You can check out the rest on Tsvetkov’s blog. One of the best is Asia According to Americans, with Central Asia divided between “WTF-stan,” “Vietnam 2.0,” and “Borat.”


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