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28 September 2012 @ 12:17 pm
Electoral Map, 9-28-2012  
As some of you know, I have been creating vote-adjusted electoral maps of the United States since the election of 2000.  You can see some of them at my other LJ, here:  http://rhetoretician.livejournal.com/2008/10/

I've decided to do it again this year, but on this LJ, where more people are following me these days.  The idea here is that electoral maps that use the actual geography of the US give more apparent importance to acreage than to population, which typically makes Republican candidates look stronger than they actually are.  These maps, in which each state's area corresponds to its electoral vote count, give a more realistic visual of the election.

The numbers here are the Nov. 6 projections from Nate Silver's blog, www.fivethirtyeight.com.   Nate's data is good and his mathematics are impeccable; in 2008, when I was trying to do my own projections, Nate outclassed me in several states.  So I've given up trying to crunch the numbers myself, and simply given pretty pictorial form to results generated by the master.

Electoral Map 9-29-2012

If we take the green, yellow, and light orange states to be the only ones where there's any serious competition (as we should), then it's very clear where the candidates should focus their efforts.  Obama's current advantage is also clear, but so are his points of vulnerability.
Current Location: A Blue State
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Stravinsky
girlspell: choose vodkagirlspell on September 28th, 2012 04:34 pm (UTC)
I was hoping you would post! Exciting looking map. First place I looked was New Mexico. My sister lives there now. For a couple of years. But...she became active in the Republican party politics there. Yes, she became a born again Republican. Well really libertarian. But she knows that's useless...she became one of them. Hope some more of the die hard libertarian west will crack and leave the Republican right. But I don't think so.

I'm still Libertarian. I will vote for Gary Johnson. LOL. I can't stand the Republican party though. Since Obama lost my vote, I'm still rooting for him.
Ken: Blowing Kissken_schneyer on September 28th, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Rachel!
Sherylynsherylyn on September 28th, 2012 06:35 pm (UTC)
I have a question I'd like your input on (and/or others who read here)... I saw an article recently wherein Al Gore (and others) were "endorsing" (so to speak) a plan regarding the electoral college that was originally proposed in CA. If I'm recalling the info correctly, I think the gist of it was for states to decide to allocate their electoral votes according to congressional districts, so that states' votes didn't all go in one spot, necessarily, etc.

What do you think of that idea? Personally, at this point, I'm in favor (but could be persuaded otherwise ;-)), but that may just be me thinking rather selfishly b/c I'd really like to know that my votes would actually "matter" in relation to the electoral college, and not just that all of Texas' electoral votes are going to Romney (or whoever), regardless.

Ken: Hmmmmmken_schneyer on September 28th, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
Hi Sherry,

Maine and Nebraska already do this. It substantially reduces (but does not eliminate) the impact of the Electoral College. The smaller states will still have more impact than their populations would mandate, due to the extra two votes that come from having senators.

It would substantially change campaign strategies for all presidential candidates. The question would no longer be, "What are the battleground states?" but "What are the battleground districts?" The result, I think, is that a lot more parts of the country would be visited by candidates, and they'd almost certainly focus their campaigns on suburban areas, because, as Nate Silver pointed out this morning, that's where the swing voters usually are. (Urban voters tend to be Democrats & rural voters tend to be Republicans.) Trying to get your base to turn out in your strong areas (cities for the Dems, small towns for the Repubs) would no longer be of any use, as they're going to win those districts anyway and additional turnout wouldn't help.

I can certainly understand why Al Gore favors it, as he would probably have won the 2000 election under such a system. The notion that someone could win the popular vote but lose the election strikes many people as weird. (In our system it's doubly weird, as a tie in the electoral college results in a decision by the House of Representatives, which would mean, this year, that Romney would be elected.)

Truthfully I don't think it would make much difference. The reform we really need, it seems to me, is in how Congressional districts are drawn. Political majorities in individual states have been drawing their districts progressively more radical every decade, with the result that only the most extreme candidates from either party win; this makes compromise nearly impossible. Personally I'd favor some sort of rules that require districts to be symmetrical, or at least convex.
Sherylynsherylyn on September 28th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
As a total not-related-to-anything comment, I totally <3 your photos/icons of you demonstrating all sorts of "moods" -- they're awesome! :-D

I totally get what you're saying, and agree. I just hate that "politics" has seemingly become more important than actually representing constituents. One of my pet peeves re: politics in general the last few years that it has seemed that everyone is more concerned about getting re-elected than in what actually needs to be done for the good of the people they're supposedly representing. Not that 100% of politicians are that way, obviously, but it seems that too many of the "loud" ones are! Your idea would possibly help reduce that, too -- make things more egalitarian in who's representing whom.

I think Gore's general reasoning was that he's trying not to say that he thinks we should make serious changes in the electoral college, but this one isn't one that would require any sort of federal input or whatever, either (though getting even a majority of states to go with it would be a whole other battle entirely!). I just get frustrated w/the fact that candidates don't have to campaign equally (Obama's yet to visit Texas on an actual campaign event, not that I blame him!), and if you live in one of those died-in-the-wool states (of whichever persuasion), the feeling of "useless" voting runs strong. I very nearly didn't vote in the 2008 election (and if there had been a crowd when I went to vote, I probably wouldn't have), which would have been the only time I haven't done so. I wasn't majorly *pro* either candidate (my major problem w/Obama at that point was his lack of experience), but was seriously NOT for McCain (I have to say that I like him as a person/hero, but Palin had no business being anywhere *near* DC, IMO; and I shuddered to think of him as our representative on an international level). However, after looking over the ballot carefully, I ended up voting straight Republican ticket... b/c the more local/state candidates I wanted were all Republicans (imagine that!) and it was the easiest way to vote, since I knew my vote for Obama wouldn't "count", essentially. That's a lousy way to feel about casting a vote, you know??? Hence my frustration w/the way the electoral college works now. I don't want to abolish it, but... it sucks to be in that position when voting :-P

Anyway... sorry for being so long-winded. This just made me think of all this again ;-)

Edited at 2012-09-28 07:41 pm (UTC)