Showing posts with label comments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comments. Show all posts

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Reader Feedback Wanted: New Electoral College Maps?

I've been tinkering around this week with a new map making utility based on the Google Chart API in R (via the Social Science Statistics Blog) and was thinking of switching out the new maps for the old ones.

The advantages? More color options. Red, orange and brown just don't cut for the Republican leaning states. Sure that color combination was unique, but it wasn't entirely intuitive in the way that dark red, primary red and pink are. Someone can look at that and see strong McCain states, leaning McCain states and toss ups trending toward the Arizona senator without having to scour a the map for a key.

The other advantage is that the "Where Democrat X Does Best" maps can be condensed into one map. With more than six colors at my disposal (the price for using a free, online map utility), it is much easier to show where Clinton and Obama are doing better than the other and by how much.

The disadvantages? Well, they are the same here as they are with any electoral college map. The result is typically a lot of red. Every map looks like a Republican landslide. But as I told my son today, "People vote. Land doesn't. Do you recall any dirt walking into the fire station to vote when we were there in February?"


"That's because land area doesn't vote."

Seriously though, you have a decision to make in this endeavor: use a regular map and have a lot of red (distorting the perception of who has the most electoral votes) or use a cartogram that distorts the map beyond recognition (but makes California look bigger than Wyoming to reflect which state has the most electoral college votes). The answer is that you maintain the state shape but expand or contract it in relation to the number of electoral votes. That's something Paul Gurian has been doing for years, but we haven't gotten that up and ready for primetime exposure in this forum yet. By the time of the general election hopefully we will.

Here, though, is what I've got now and would appreciate any feedback on. These are the maps with data updated through today sans analysis (There have been a ton of new polls this week so I'll let the weekly cycle complete itself before I fully comment on it).

The Clinton Map
Clinton: McCain:
272 266

The Obama Map
Obama: McCain:
274 264

McCain Margin
Clinton states (green): 13 Obama states (blue): 37
*The darker a state is the more it favors one candidate over the other.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pretty Links in Comments

There has been an issue over links that are being cut and pasted into the comments. There may come a time when I tire of dealing with those sorts of links, but this blog is still in its infancy and it really doesn't present a problem now. More information is good, right? When traffic increases (hopefully) folks may begin to append links that are not of the quality that moderators at FHQ (me) deem acceptable.

So here are the ground rules for avoiding those pesky truncated links. Use html code.
Here's that code:
where 1) resumepage.html is the actual address you want to include, and
2) my resume is the text that will be live (clickable) within the comment.

Make sure you put the web address in quotation marks.

That should clear up the issue. Thanks.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Phase II

Now that the calendar for the 2008 presidential primary season has been officially (and completely?) set, I'm done with this thing for a while, right? Well, states probably won't shift their focus to 2012 until 2009 at the earliest (Arkansas, for example, moved to February 5, 2008 in 2005.), but the campaign presses on and the ramifications of the frontloading this cycle have yet to fully play out. So, this blog will continue to track those developments.

However, I'll also be adding a new feature. Over the holidays, I'll (we'll) take University of Georgia political science professor, Paul Gurian's quadrennial campaign discussion group online. With the Iowa caucuses coming on the heels of the holiday season this cycle and with school still being out, the group regulars will need an outlet. Hopefully regular posts and comments can help bridge that gap. Once the semester gets underway and the group resumes meeting regularly, I plan to use this forum as a means of satisfying the instant historians/political scientists out there. I want to augment our Wednesday discussions (not displace them) with posts and comments the night(s) that primary and caucus results are coming in. Sometimes you can't wait until the day after to weigh in on what's happened, right?

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Novice blogger that I am (I guess I'm better at the archiving part.), I had the comments settings on the site set at "only registered users." Well, "anyone" can comment now. So have at it folks who want to comment.

Big thanks to Audrey Haynes for the heads up on that.

Also, I hope to have big update on the events of the summer (and before in some cases) up later today. Perhaps that'll give people something on which to comment.