Mapping the 2017 French Presidential Election (First Round)

France held the first round of its presidential election this past Sunday. Unlike U.S. presidential elections, it’s by popular vote, with the top two vote-getters moving on to a second round in two weeks’ time.

The major candidates’ support was distributed unevenly around the country. Media organizations used several different methods to show this. The New York Times used a choropleth map, showing who among five candidates (including Lassalle, excluding Hamon, who finished fifth but does not appear to have won a commune: ouch) finished first on a commune-by-commune basis. Of course, when you have four candidates finishing within a few points of one another, when you win a district, you don’t necessarily win by much. The print edition of Le Figaro included choropleth maps detailing five candidates’ regional support as well.

Both the Times and Le Figaro use geographical maps, which can be misleading because of the number of votes concentrated in large cities, as Libération’s Julien Guillot points out. (This comes up in most countries’ elections, to be honest—certainly the ones where it’s the popular vote, rather than the constituency, that’s being looked at.) Slate uses a cartogram to compensate for that. (Both of these pages are in French.)

For those seeking local results rather than analysis, several French media organizations provide them through a very similar map interface: see, for example, the online results pages for France 24Le Figaro and Le Monde. Each begins with a map of France: clicking on a département provides results for that département that includes a map showing each commune, which can also be clicked on. For some reason neither France 24 nor Le Monde show actual vote totals at the local level, which doesn’t seem sensible in an election by popular vote.

Finally, a couple of outliers. This page looks at the results from all presidential elections under the French Fifth Republic. And this page marks the 56 communes in which Marine Le Pen received not a single vote.

Austrian Presidential Election Cartograms

The second round re-vote of the Austrian presidential election took place yesterday. (The first round took place on 24 April; a repeat of the second round, narrowly won by Alexander Van der Bellen on 22 May, was ordered by the Constitutional Court.) Full, final results are not yet available, but has created the above cartogram of the preliminary results—showing, as you might expect, the strength of winning independent candidate Alexander Van der Bellen in the cities; support for the far-right FPÖ’s Norbert Hofer shrinks when you change from a map to a cartogram.

There are other cartograms of earlier rounds of the Austrian presidential election on the website.

3D Election Maps

Mapping U.S. election results by county and state is a bit different than mapping results by electoral or congressional district, because counties and states don’t have (roughly) equal populations. Choropleth maps are often used to show the margin of victory, but to show the raw vote total, some election cartographers are going 3D.


Max Galka of Metrocosm has created an interactive 3D map of county-level results (above) using his Blueshift tool. The resulting map, called a prism map, uses height to show the number of votes cast in each county.

Here’s a similar 3D interactive map, but using state-level rather than county-level data, by Sketchfab member f3cr204. [Maps on the Web]

The New York Times Maps the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

The New York Times

The New York Times has a first-rate graphics department, and they’ve come up with some stunning ways to depict the 2016 U.S. presidential election results. They updated their maps of so-called “landslide counties” (see previous entry), which was straightforward enough. Their feature on how Trump reshaped the election map, with arrows showing the county-by-county swing (red and to the right for Trump, blue and to the left for Clinton), was unexpectedly good. But their maps of the Two Americas (above), imagining Trump’s America and Clinton’s America as separate countries, with bodies of water replacing the areas won by their opponents—Trump’s America is nibbled at the edges by coastlines and pockmarked by lakes; Clinton’s is an archipelago—is quite simply a work of art. Incredible, incredible work.

U.S. Presidential Election Cartogram


I’ve delayed posting maps of the 2016 U.S. presidential election results because—well, because like many of you I’m still recovering. But here we go. We’ll start with Benjamin Hennig’s cartogram of the results which, as cartograms tend to do, correct for the urban concentrations that made up Hillary Clinton’s vote, and demonstrate the rural nature of Donald Trump’s support. See it at Geographical magazine and Hennig’s website.

What If Only … Voted?

While we wait for the results, think back, raise a glass, and remember fondly the meme that came and went so quickly a month or so ago: What if only … voted? Based on FiveThirtyEight maps showing the gender gap in voting intentions (What if only women voted? What if only men voted?) that quickly went viral, similar maps showing gap by race and education were followed by other maps that were considerably  … sillier—here’s a selection. As Boing Boing’s Rob Beschizza said on 14 October: “The whole thing went from funny to saturation point to old in record time, and is already over.” Thing is, now that it’s Election Day I’m seeing them again. It ain’t over till it’s over. And sometimes not even then.

Mapping the Electorate

As we approach the first election results of the evening, here are a few maps of the electorate that is doing the voting tonight.

Swing Counties

The Washington Post

The Washington Post maps the swing counties that could decide the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Landslide Counties

The New York Times
The New York Times

The New York Times maps the increasing number of so-called landslide counties—counties where a candidate won by 20 or more percentage points. “The proportion of voters living in landslide counties has steadily increased since 1992, a trend that reflects the growing tendency of like-minded people to live near one another, according to Bill Bishop, a co-author of ‘The Big Sort,’ a 2008 book that identified this phenomenon.”

Bad Hombres, China and Trump Supporters

For all of Donald Trump’s rhetoric about illegal Mexican immigration and competition from China, his supporters don’t seem to be much affected by either. That’s the conclusion of a study by Raul Hinojosa Ojeda of UCLA’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. “[A]n examination of the geographical concentration of support for Donald Trump in the presidential primaries indicates a negative correlation between the number of Trump supporters and the population size of Mexican immigrants, as well as a negative correlation between Trump support and import competition from Mexico or China. […] In fact, only 2% of U.S. counties in the U.S. actually fit the Trump narrative of very high Trump support combined with very high levels of immigration or trade.” [CityLab]

The Mysterious Blue Curve

Geographical magazine explores what they call the “mysterious blue curve” —a narrow swath of Democratic support across the centre of the Deep South. I’ll save you a click: it’s where the African-American voters are concentrated. Geographical, though, goes a bit further back—to the fricking late Cretaceous—to explain why the soil in that area was so amenable to growing cotton, an activity that brought so many slaves to the area in the first place.

Felony Convictions and Voting Rights


Cards on the table: I live in a country where prisoners have the right to vote even while in prison, so the American practice—in 48 of 50 states—of not allowing ex-convicts to vote even after release is both alien and upsetting to me. The New York Times maps the impact of that practice, both in terms of how many people in each state can’t vote due to felony convictions, and in terms of how many African-American adults can’t vote—1 in 13!—because of same. When, as the Times says, “[a] black person is more likely to be convicted of a felony than a white person who committed the same crime,” this has the smell of systemic, targeted disenfranchisement to me.

The Financial Times Searches for a Better Election Map

The Financial Times
The Financial Times

Martin Stabe of the Financial Times looks at the paper’s options for displaying the 2016 U.S. presidential results. Which to use, map or cartogram? In the end, neither: they’re going with a dot map—a compromise “that attempts to take the best from the other methods.”

The white underlying geographic map places states in their familiar size, shape and location, allowing them to be identified quickly. Using a cluster of dots rather than a solid fill to represent the outcome ensures that the amount of red and blue on the map accurately reflects states’ weight in the election outcome, rather than the (irrelevant) surface area.

Like the tiled grid cartogram, the number of electoral votes in each state is easy to compare visually without counting or interpreting numbers printed on the map. Because each electoral vote is a discrete mark, it is possible to accurately represent the split electoral votes that are possible in Maine and Nebraska, or the possibility of a faithless elector.

Technical details and source code here.

Previously: A Primer on Election Map CartographyMore Election Cartography Primers.

Electionland Map Tracks Search Interest in Voting Issues


The Electionland Google Trends map visualizes voting issues during today’s electoral process. It’s based on real-time Google search interest (rather than actual reported problems) in five issues: inactive voter status, long wait times, provisional ballots, voting machine problems and voter intimidation. More about the map and how it works. [Maps Mania]

Gerrymandered Congressional Districts

The Washington Post (2014)

In 2014 the Washington Post’s Christopher Ingraham reported on the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the United States. The article was accompanied by an interactive map, showing the compactness score Ingraham calculated for each district—the more compact an electoral district, the less likely it’s a gerrymander. [Dave Smith]

(Gerrymandering—manipulating electoral district boundaries for political advantage—has been a frequent topic here on The Map Room. Previous entries include ‘There Is More to Gerrymandering Than Ugly Shapes’The New York Times on GerrymanderingGerrymandering in FloridaMore on Gerrymandering and Computer-Generated DistrictsComputer-Generated Electoral Districts ReduxGerrymandering as Computer Game and U.S. Electoral District Ballot Initiatives.)

Two Looks Back at the 2012 Results

Before we’re inundated by the results from the 2016 U.S. presidential election, here are a couple of looks back at the 2012 election that explore the results from slightly different angles.


This map shows the county-by-county results but the intensity is by raw vote totals, not percentages: the darker the colour, the more actual votes there are. It’s an attempt to compensate for counties of different sizes, but you still end up with distortions if the county is both large and populous. [Maptitude]


Most Democratic strength is in the cities; most Republican strength is in rural areas. This map depicts the opposites: the urban counties won by Mitt Romney in 2012 and the rural counties where Obama won. [Maps on the Web]