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2012 County-By-County Map Weighted By Population

Josh Marshall points us to John Nelson’s map of the county-by-county results of the 2012 presidential election. What’s different here, though, is rather than simply coloring the land mass bright red or bright blue, as is the norm, Nelson’s graphic provides “a pointillist look at the 2012 election results, which does a fairer job of illustrating where, how many, and how people voted in the election.”

Compare that to this version of the county-by-county map:

The takeaways from the two maps–which depict identical data–couldn’t be more different.

As in the traditional maps, Nelson shows Obama’s people clustered on the two coasts while Romney’s votes cover a much larger swath of the country. But you’ll notice that roughly a third of the country is essentially whited out. That’s because hardly anyone lives there in relative terms.

Ultimately, Obama got 62,610,717 votes to Romney’s 59,136,717 or 51 percent to 48 percent. While a wide margin by post-1988 standards, it’s still a close election. But the notion, prevalent since the 2000 standoff made these maps viral for the first time, that Republicans comprise almost all of America, is simply misleading.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. mantis says:

    Electoral votes should be apportioned by surface area, not population!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  2. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I love maps, and this one is truly fascinating. I really wouldn’t have guessed that it would be so easy to pick out the patches of Salt Lake City and Boise blueish purple, or just how extensive the Democrats’ influence extends outward from Chicago both into the other states that run along Lake Michigan and into the Chicago suburbs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. MM says:

    @mantis: I’m pretty sure that surface area was the argument got why Palin was supposed to be considered America’s greatest governor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  4. michael reynolds says:

    It’s fun to note that the popular vote margin of victory for Obama is equal to all of red states of Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota and most of Montana.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. Donald Sensing says:

    In my forthcoming post (tomorrow), “America is a leftwing nation,” I quote Mark Steyn thus, because he explains why the bedtime story that Republicans keep telling themselves, that America is center-right and therefore things will be better in the morning, is just hokum:

    I’m always struck, if one chances to be with a GOP insider when a new poll rolls off the wire, that their first reaction is to query whether it’s of “likely” voters or merely “registered” voters. As the consultant class knows, registered voters skew more Democrat than likely voters, and polls of “all adults” skew more Democrat still. Hence the preoccupation with turnout models. In other words, if America had compulsory voting as Australia does, the Republicans would lose every time. In Oz, there’s no turnout model, because everyone turns out. The turnout-model obsession is an implicit acknowledgment of an awkward truth — that, outside the voting booth, the default setting of American society is ever more liberal and statist.

    And so I repeat myself: last Tuesday saw the beginning of the permanent sunset of the Republican party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  6. Franklin says:

    What’s just as striking to me is how few areas are solidly blue or red. In other words, most of the counties (especially the denser ones) appear to be purple.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    Yes, I’ve been saying this since basically forever. People want their social security, medicare, medicaid, student loans, unemployment insurance, roads, regulations, consumer protections and so on. Some just don’t want people unlike themselves (black people, Mexicans, gays) to have all that.

    But once you start aging out the bigots you’re left with people who aren’t much different than the citizens of EVERY other successful nation on Earth.

    Duh.

    Because it’s not 1776, it’s 2012. And we have these things called cities. And we don’t grow our own crops and weave our own cloth anymore. Because it’s, you know, now and not some imaginary past.

    Again: duh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

  8. Janis Gore says:

    Thank you, James.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. J-Dub says:

    I have looked out the airplane window and thought to myself, “Who the f*** would live there?” Apparently the answer is Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  10. Janis Gore says:

    Let me get this quote of Limbaugh’sj ust right:

    “I went to bed last night thinking we’ve lost the country. I don’t know how else you look at this.”

    From the guy who paid Elton John to perform at his fourth(?) wedding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  11. edmond says:

    See those blue dots in South and North Dakota, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona? Those are Native American reservations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. Tsar Nicholas says:

    The whole map thing is banal.

    The real way to think about how people voted is based upon race, given that the entire election came down to race.

    White women, for example, voted 56-42 for Romney.

    Whites aged 18-29 voted 51-44-5 for Romney. Even that (addled) demographic was able to clue in and to have largely-focused thought processes.

    Obviously it goes without saying that whites aged 30 and above voted for Romney.

    But not only did Romney lose he lost basically by the same margin that Kerry lost, i.e., it was “close” only in the same veins as horseshoes and hand grenades.

    That’s the story of the ’12 election. Overwhelming, complete lock step voting for Obama by racial minorities, strictly on the grounds of partisan racial identity.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 14

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:
    I like that you’ve given up pretending to be anything other than a racist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  14. Janis Gore says:

    @michael reynolds: Hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

    I don’t think he’s read a word I’ve written here in months.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Janis Gore says:

    That map needs to be overlaid with the highway system. That blue streak through Texas is I-35. The one from Houston across the lower south is I-10. Coming out of Dallas east is I-20.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  16. Janis Gore says:

    His Excellency is caught in the right’s dogwhistle of the “urban vote” and they couldn’t be more wrong.

    Urban areas are clusters of commercial and cultural exchange between many groups. Urban areas are populated by immigrants of all kinds — from the countryside, from other cultures, from the ambitious who seek to further their station in life through something quaintly known as “work.”

    Urban people are less insulated and insular than more rural folk. Doesn’t make either group bad, they’re just different,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. Janis Gore says:

    Not to imply that people in rural areas don’t work — plenty do and plenty hard. There are just fewer opportunities out there.

    The Internet will be part of the mechanism that changes that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. An Interested Party says:

    The turnout-model obsession is an implicit acknowledgment of an awkward truth — that, outside the voting booth, the default setting of American society is ever more liberal and statist.

    Which, of course, is why Republicans are behind voter ID laws and any other scheme to keep people from voting…

    That’s the story of the ’12 election. Overwhelming, complete lock step voting for Obama by racial minorities, strictly on the grounds of partisan racial identity.

    Oh look, one of those ignorant motherfu@kers that Charlie Murphy was talking about…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  19. Andre Kenji says:

    @Donald Sensing: Considering what happens in Brazil I can say that the result of mandatory voting is that the politicians have to pander to a VERY large proportion of uniformed independent voters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Dr John says:

    All this debate about who and what based on these maps. I think it’s obvious that Obama’s support came primarily from the urban centers while Romney’s was spread out over the rest of the country. The truth is that those living in the inner cities are calling the shots for the rest of the country although they have nothing in common with them. The cities are the commerce centers, it’s true, but they are also serve as the centers of the drug, crime and debauchery communities. The places you fly over are the places where hard working Americans put there hands to the plow and provide the food ,fuel and raw materials to supply those degenerate infested cities. Call it what you want, Obama was re-elected primarily by Americans looking for a free ride.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  21. Dr John says:

    Let me ask you this.., why should I be forced to pay for an abortion when I firmly believe abortion is murder? Why does a portion of my income go to support some strangers promiscuous lifestyle? I know I’m old fashioned, I was raised in the mid-west by two hard working parents. I work at least five days a week, I attend church regularly and am evangelical in my beliefs. I don’t hate anyone, and I personally try to reach out to the disadvataged whenever I can. I am involved in rehabilitating addicts and counsel on a regular basis. I detest the sexual perversion and debauchery so excedingly prevelant on tv, movies and the internet and feel that it may be largely attributed to the failure of church and parents providing moral guidance for our children. I find myself at odds with our esteemed President on most major issues only agreeing with the him when he implied that the “theory of Evolution” was finally proven to be true. By his statement that he made concerning his endorsement of gay marriage he proved he has “evolved” from a mere incompetent to an absolute degenerate!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  22. Rafer Janders says:

    @Dr John:

    I think it’s obvious that Obama’s support came primarily from the urban centers

    Where people live.

    while Romney’s was spread out over the rest of the country.

    Where people don’t live.

    The truth is that those living in the inner cities are calling the shots for the rest of the country although they have nothing in common with them.

    OMG! Majority rule! In a democracy!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  23. Dr John says:

    I visited the dump a couple of weeks ago for the first time. Actually my wife had been after me for months to hire someone to haul some “junk” off our property and I finally decided to take action. I loaded the trailer, hooked it to the truck and headed to the dump. I pulled up on the scales as instructed by the signs then got out of my truck to speak to the operater. I was shocked when she asked for an ID. I attempted to explain to her that all I wanted to do was drop off some junk, and still she insisted. I countered advising her I wasn’t trying to buy alchohol, tobacco, firearms, library books or license plates, butstill she insisted on seeing it. When I finally advised her that I thought she was “suppressing” my right to dump she merely giggled and replied… “your ID please”.
    I gave her my ID and completed my mission, but I couldn’t help wondering how many people had been turned away, denied their right to dump because they were not able to get an ID.What’s this country coming to?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  24. An Interested Party says:

    The cities are the commerce centers, it’s true, but they are also serve as the centers of the drug, crime and debauchery communities.

    Oh sure…there are no drugs, crime, and debauchery in rural America, no siree! Those areas are pure as the driven snow…well, very white anyway…

    Let me ask you this.., why should I be forced to pay for an abortion when I firmly believe abortion is murder? Why does a portion of my income go to support some strangers promiscuous lifestyle?

    Why should people from blue states be forced to pay for bottom feeders from red states? Perhaps you can answer that question…

    I gave her my ID and completed my mission, but I couldn’t help wondering how many people had been turned away, denied their right to dump because they were not able to get an ID.What’s this country coming to?

    Yes, dumping junk and voting are so very similar…your example is full of more shit than any dump you could ever visit…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1