‘There Is More to Gerrymandering Than Ugly Shapes’

On the liberal political blog Daily Kos, Stephen Wolf argues that it takes more than a weirdly shaped electoral district to make a gerrymander:

Land does not vote and we can’t judge gerrymanders simply based on geometry. Districts aren’t just abstract shapes on a map, but collections of actual people and voters. Ultimately, the outcomes produced by a particular map matter far more than a map’s appearance. Comparing the actual congressional districts to plausible alternatives in Maryland and other states demonstrates both how gerrymandering is more complex than merely grotesque shapes, and that Maryland is far from the worst partisan gerrymander nationwide.

How to Circulate a Fake Election Map

fake-uk-elections BuzzFeed’s Jim Waterson calls out a map making the social media rounds that purports to show the results of the 2016 local elections in the U.K. Only it doesn’t. It’s apparently being spread by Labour supporters keen to defend their party’s performance in the elections and convinced their party is receiving unfair media treatment—and of course, people tend to believe what they want to believe. Waterson goes on to show how to make a fake map of your very own. [Thierry Gregorius]

Previously: When Maps Lie.

The U.S. as Seven Mega-Regions

us-mega-regions

In a piece for the New York Times, Parag Khanna—author of the forthcoming book Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization—argues that super-regions and urban clusters, rather than the 50 states, should be the focus of future planning.

First, there are now seven distinct super-regions, defined by common economics and demographics, like the Pacific Coast and the Great Lakes. Within these, in addition to America’s main metro hubs, we find new urban archipelagos, including the Arizona Sun Corridor, from Phoenix to Tucson; the Front Range, from Salt Lake City to Denver to Albuquerque; the Cascadia belt, from Vancouver to Seattle; and the Piedmont Atlantic cluster, from Atlanta to Charlotte, N.C.

Federal policy should refocus on helping these nascent archipelagos prosper, and helping others emerge, in places like Minneapolis and Memphis, collectively forming a lattice of productive metro-regions efficiently connected through better highways, railways and fiber-optic cables: a United City-States of America.

Note that this isn’t quite the same as, say, reimagining the U.S. as fifty equal states or Pearcy’s famous 38-state thought experiment: this is an argument against using state boundaries for planning purposes. (The EU has similar regions for similar purposes, I believe.) Makes for a very interesting map, though. [Tim Wallace]

Cartastrophe on Decision Desk HQ’s Election Cartograms

michigan-primary-cartogramOn Cartastrophe, Daniel Huffman points out the problems in Decision Desk HQ’s interactive cartograms for the U.S. presidential primaries, which maintain a state’s shape but resize the counties as the results come in. “Unfortunately, in so doing, they shuffle the counties around any old which way. The Lower Peninsula of Michigan has 68 counties in reality, the Upper Peninsula has 15. But Decision Desk HQ has shoved most of the counties into the Upper Peninsula, which now has 58, vs. 25 that remain in the Lower Peninsula,” Huffman writes. “This means that we can’t really see spatial patterns, which is sort of the point of having a map.” [via]

The Cartography Behind Super Tuesday

Further to my last post, here’sNew York Times article on the technology behind their Super Tuesday election map.

There was a time, not too long ago, when our Super Tuesday map would have been impossible to put together and display. Even earlier in the digital era, a complete vote-totals map wouldn’t have been available until every ballot was counted at the end of the night. (Not to mention that in the print-only era, no map would be available until two days after the vote, and then often only in black and white.)

The New York Times Maps the U.S. Presidential Primaries

The New York Times graphics department invariably does first-rate work, and their interactive maps of the U.S. presidential primary and caucus results are no exception. You can zoom in, you can get results by county or congressional district (depending on the state), you can choose to view margin of victory (see screencaps below) or each candidate’s vote share.

The Democratic candidates as of March 9:

nyt-primary-d

And the Republican candidates:

nyt-primary-r

The Facebook Primary

facebook-primary

FiveThirtyEight maps the Facebook likes of the U.S. presidential candidates: “If Facebook likes were votes, Bernie Sanders would be on pace to beat Hillary Clinton nationwide by a nearly 3-to-1 margin and Donald Trump to garner more support than Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio combined. Anything seems possible this year, but, still, be careful how you interpret these numbers: Facebook likes are not votes.” They ain’t kidding—Ben Carson?! [via]

Super Tuesday Results by County

Of the maps of the Democratic and Republican U.S. presidential primary and caucus results I’ve seen so far, I rather like the county-by-county maps done by Reddit user Mainstay17. Here’s one for the Democrats that includes the results from the Super Tuesday states:

super-tuesday-d

And here’s the equivalent map for the Republicans:

super-tuesday-r

(Before you start, errors have already been pointed out in the Reddit comments here and here. Presumably there will be updates.)

Eurosceptic Map of Britain

yougov

YouGov’s eurosceptic map of Britain measures the level of euroscepticism in the regions of England, Wales and Scotland in the run-up to the U.K.’s upcoming EU referendum. “New YouGov research using the profiles data of over 80,000 British people on the YouGov panel reveals the most and least Eurosceptic areas of Britain, down to the finest detail our data will allow. There are 206 local education authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, 188 of which we have large enough samples to report a position on the EU.” [via]