There’s More Than One Way to Map an Election
Electoral maps have been around since the 1800s. Maybe it’s time to try something new.
Our greatest national map obsession comes every four years. In the weeks leading up to a presidential election, practically every major media outlet creates maps to show the latest polling data. Then, on Election Day, millions of Americans turn on the TV and watch with anticipation (or dread) as maps of the country turn red and blue, one state at a time, in a wave that sweeps from east to west as the vote is tallied.
But despite their persistent presence in news reports, these red-state, blue-state maps are cartographically questionable.
For one thing, the maps distort the influence of large, sparsely populated states, says Andy Woodruff, a Boston-based cartographer with Axis Maps. “You see this large sea of red in the