The Iowa caucuses are rapidly approaching and it’s time to turn our attention to the Hawkeye State electoral map. I’m using two great features to follow where the candidates are traveling and where we can predict they’ll do well.
The first feature is Slate‘s “Map the Candidates” page, which I’ve mentioned on this blog before. It’s great because you can track where every candidate is traveling during a certain time frame. In the past week, for instance, we can see that most of the candidates are flocking on Iowa like bees on honey. Here’s a screen shot on the past seven days:
“Map the Candidates” also details which parts of the Hawkeye State each candidate is visiting. Barack Obama, for example, is making a push in Northern counties while John Edwards is focusing on the East. Hillary Clinton is hitting big metropolitan areas. In this screen shot of the last seven days, Obama is the striped avatar, Edwards is the blue star and Hillary is the “H.”
The second feature I’ve been referencing is Style.org’s “Scaling Counties in a Checkerboard State” web site, which offers a series of maps visualizing past results and the proportions of votes in each of Iowa’s counties.
According to the author of the site Jonathan Corum, the series of maps applies a proportionally-sized square to each county based on population. Polk County (home of Des Moines), for example, has the biggest square while rural counties are smaller. This helps us interpret where the voters live:
Style.org’s series of maps also includes results of the 2004 Democratic caucuses. Since we know a lot about each candidate’s platform, we can figure out a little bit about each county’s electorate based on how they voted.
Eastern Iowa, for example, which is usually the bluest part of the state, gave John Kerry wide margins. Southern Iowa and Des Moines supported John Edwards. On the following map, Kerry is gray, Edwards light red and Dean dark red.
If you’re feeling bold, cross-reference the 2004 results with the “Map the Candidates” mashup to interpret what certain campaign stops imply for each candidate.
Here are the 2004 Democratic results by candidate and scaled county, where the darker shade of blue represents a higher winning percentage.
If you’ve ever been in a campaign office in Iowa during caucus-time (or in any major campaign office for that matter), you’ve probably seen a wall-size map of the state tacked up in the manager’s office. I’ve noticed that some of the candidates are using maps on their web sites, and I can only imagine what they have inside their campaign offices.