Showing posts with label maps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label maps. Show all posts

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Presidential Primary Frontloading (1976-2008)

[Click to Enlarge]
1) The darker the map gets, the earlier the contests are.
2) States vertically split in two on any of the maps are states that had contests on different dates for the two parties. Democratic contests are on the left and Republican contests are on the right.

This isn't anything new. These are the same maps that have been residing in the left sidebar (see said sidebar for the attendant primary calendars) for a while now, but the above is probably a better representation of the frontloading trend over time. Sure, you can scroll down the page or look at the slideshow of the changes, but this more immediately demonstrates the effect with each of the maps side by side.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Political Boundaries vs. Virtual Boundaries

There has been a series of discussions over the last week across a few political science blogs (see here, here and here) over the level at which voting is best analyzed. Obviously, if the goal is to look at the outcome of the electoral college, then examining voting at the state level makes the most sense. But that's not really what this discussion is about. It's more about the perception at the individual level of community -- large and small. As Seth Masket at Enik Rising asked,
"What's the best level to analyze the vote? Should we be looking at individual data? County returns? State returns? There's no obvious right answer here. Yes, individuals, not counties or states, are the ones that cast votes. But people are not islands. They often think as members of communities and evaluate political events in terms of their impact on their geographic area."

[Click to Enlarge]

In other words, voting takes place on the individual level, but one's sense of community and geography influences that.

[Click to Enlarge and Here for Original Source]

Voters are certainly more likely to latch onto fixed boundaries rather than those lines that are apt to change every ten years.

[Click to Enlarge and Here for Original Source]

But it goes beyond the simplicity of congressional districts vs. counties. People aren't necessarily tied together because of lines drawn in the sand or boundaries between county and county or state and state. The map below, for instance, from the CommonCensus Map Project is based on respondents' senses of spheres of influence -- of what major city has the most cultural and economic impact on the area you are in.

[Click to Enlarge and Here for Original Source]

And that opens up an entirely different set of questions or at least an alternate unit of analysis: the virtual boundaries of these spheres of influence. As was mentioned by Jim Gimpel over at the Monkey Cage, but without the visual, this ends up looking an awful lot like the various media markets across the country. And there's some truth to that.

My natural inclination is to look at one of two places first: North Carolina and Georgia. In the case of the Tarheel state, there is a fair amount of overlap between the virtual spheres of influence boundary and the media market boundary. That's just the fragmented nature of the state; between the mountain, piedmont and coastal regions on the one hand and the three major urban areas (within the piedmont) -- Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro-Winston Salem and Charlotte -- on the other. Those boundaries hold up across the spheres map above and the media markets map below.

Georgia, though, is a different story. The state is divided into several media markets, but Atlanta subsumes those in terms of influence across the Peach state.

[Click to Enlarge and Here for Original Source]

Interestingly, Brian Arbor in the comments to Gimpel's post draws a comparison between the idea of political/cultural spheres of influence and the loyal followings of various sports teams.
"When I lived in San Jose and Sacramento, you would see the Sharks and the Kings everywhere. This did not seem to be because people in those cities were massive hockey or basketball fans, per se. They were fans of a professional team that had their city’s name on their chest. In San Jose and Sacremento, this helped create an identity beyond being just a bedroom community to San Francisco. Common Census has a Bay Area map among its regional maps, and shows some of this effect."
Whether politics, major cities or sports, though, this CommonCensus idea is an interesting one that forces us to reconsider the definition of boundaries -- thinking of them less in terms of lines and more so in terms of what ties groups of people or voters together.

[Yeah, you're right. I just wanted an excuse to put another set of maps together.]

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'll Admit It. CQ's Got Me on This One. some extent.

[Click Map Enlarge and HERE for a link to CQ's Interactive Map]

No, they don't have a layer that shows the split presidential and House districts, but this interactive map that CQ put together to accompany the data they've put out over the last couple of weeks is pretty snazzy. And the clarity of the district lines is great.

Click on the link under the map to go play around with it.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Test Run: The McCain-Obama Map (5/28/08)

Well, Wednesday came and went with no new maps. What's up with that? Personally, I hate letting a day pass without posting something, but I'm not a big fan of shallow blog posts, so I try to refrain from such. What I did do was put some time in on a variation of the old map style that added in the color scheme of the new maps I posted on Sunday. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who stopped by and added their two cents (A special tip of the cap in reader, Anton P.'s direction is necessary also. Thanks for the gif editing suggestion. I hadn't thought about--or wasn't willing to take the time on--that.). I think you'll all find that the map below is a much more polished product.
I'll let this map stand alone for the time being, but will be back later today with the McCain-Clinton and McCain Margin maps and some analysis as well.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Obama's Slide Revisited

Last week's post examining Obama's position in the electoral college in the post-Wright, post-"bitter" political environment sought to demonstrate that while, Obama had gotten some flak over both issues, he had only really lost ground in a handful of highly competitive swing states. Those changes were seemingly small, but in a closely contested race, that often means the difference between winning and losing a state. And Obama was on the wrong side of several of those states, falling 80 electoral votes behind John McCain in the electoral college projections.

Comparing the newly weighted maps to the original starting point at the end of March is like comparing apples to oranges to some extent, though. Those original maps didn't weight the more recent polls any more heavily than the older ones, so it isn't a true comparison. What happens to those March maps when the original data set is weighted to discount older polls is vastly different depending on which Democrat is considered the nominee. The Obama-McCain outcome was exactly the same: Obama 273-McCain 265. In the Clinton-McCain scenario, Clinton's deficit was larger than it had been in the original, unweighted projection. Instead of trailing by 90 electoral votes, she was down 325-213 to McCain.
All the weighting does is confirm what is already known: Obama was enjoying his highest point during the tail end of February and into March. Clinton, on the other hand, was on the opposite end of the spectrum during that period; enduring the Obama streak of victories. What has happened over the six weeks since is the interesting part, though. Clinton has taken a 112 electoral vote deficit and reduced it to 16 while Obama's 8 electoral vote advantage has disappeared and been replaced by a 44 electoral vote loss to McCain. [It was worse last week--80 electoral votes--at the height of Jeremiah Wright's second act. Of course, that may be mere coincidence.]
Overall, both the Democrats were down on average relative to McCain over this period (For comparison see Wednesday's maps.). But Clinton was up enough where it counted and down in places where she was already down to affect a positive change in her electoral vote total. The former first lady lost just 0.32 points on average to McCain but brought both Florida and Pennsylvania into her column to actually draw closer to the Arizona senator. She faltered in 18 states' poll averages but gained in 12 others. The new maps below depict the changes in these averages from the end of March until now.The picture is slightly different for Obama. He fell in the poll averages by an average 1.48 point to McCain. He, too, was down in some states where he already lagged behind McCain but his gains mostly came from blue states. Six of the 9 states where he gained were states where he was leading the presumptive Republican nominee already. He did gain in both Pennsylvania and Ohio, but not enough to swing the vitally important states in the blue. Obama differs from Clinton in that he lost ground in over twice as many states as he gained. Where Clinton saw two states turn blue and lost none, Obama lost three (Colorado, New Hampshire and Virginia) without gaining any.
What does all this mean? Well, the fact that both Democrats lost ground on average to McCain could indicate that the divisiveness of the battle for the Democratic nomination brought both candidates down. On the flip side, the argument could be made that those aren't losses for the Democrats as much as they are indicative of John McCain reaping the fruits of his labors in trying to shore up the conservative base of the Republican Party. Also, the fact that Obama lost more ground to McCain relative to Clinton could mean that the increased scrutiny after his string of victories and subsequent losses to Clinton in Ohio and Pennsylvania brought him back down to earth after his late February high.

After the events of Tuesday night, it will be interesting to see if Clinton falls in these polls averages and whether the inevitability of Obama's nomination gives him any boost.

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