Politics Online Conference: Cartograms

The Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet is hosting its annual Politics Online Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’m lucky enough to be speaking on the Political Cartography 2.0 panel on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. I’m going to be posting some of the elements on my slideshow in the next couple of days and would love to hear your feedback.  I’m separating the slideshow into six categories: the best/worst, D.I.Y. maps, projection maps, Google mashups, cartograms and maps that prove a point.

In second installment of my slideshow, I’m posting a few examples of cartograms.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with cartograms, they’re maps where geographical areas are skewed to fit statistical data.

The example I see the most is the 2004 presidential election. If you look at a nationwide electoral map you’ll see a sea of red, but we know the election was much closer.  A cartogram of the ’04 contest skews the map so that we see large blocks of blue around the metropolitan areas and clumps of hundreds of smaller red shapes in the heartland.

In the first example from this election cycle, a blogger at OpenLeft produced this impressive cartogram of the Democratic primary.  You’ll see that Hillary Clinton won that big blue block on the left coast (that’s L.A.), and a couple of big ones in the East (NYC).  Meanwhile, Barack Obama took Chicago, which is represented by that big green shape in the mid-section of the country.

Cartogram of the Democratic Primary (OpenLeft)

Cartogram of the Democratic Primary

The next cartogram is of the Democratic primary in Connecticut, compliments of CTLocalPolitics.net.

Democratic Primary in Connecticut

Democratic Primary in Connecticut

The third cartogram represents John Kerry‘s win in Iowa in 2004.  Kerry did better in the counties that have a darker shade of blue, including the big block of Des Moines in the middle and the small cities in the East.

John Kerry’s Performance in the 2004 Iowa Caucuses (Style.org)

John Kerry’s Performance in the 2004 Iowa Caucuses

And the last map is one of my favorites: It’s a cartogram of the electoral clout in Virginia and a great representation that whomever wins Fairfax County usually wins the commonwealth.

Electoral Clout in Virginia

Electoral Clout in Virginia


One response to “Politics Online Conference: Cartograms

  1. Great research on all of this, Patrick. How do you find the time and patience? Looking forward to hearing you speak at 4:45 PM Tuesday. Go get ’em! -L.

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