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electoral mapmanship

Thursday,  11/04/04  07:16 AM

Good morning!  First post in a post-election world...  I promise this is not going to become a political blog.  Really.

Yesterday I noted the 2004 county-by-county electoral college map.  Today Command Post has the same map along with the corresponding map from 2000.  Here they are, so they're together:

2000 US Presidental Election - County-by-County

2004 US Presidential Election - County-by-County

County-by-County Difference between 2000 and 2004 US Presidential Elections

The bottom map is the Photoshop difference between the two maps (after a bit of color diddling and stretching).  I'm sure this analysis will be done in spreadsheets everywhere with far more accuracy, but I find this pretty revealing. 

The pink areas switched from Democrat to Republican, and the blue areas switched from Republican to Democrat.  The orange areas switched from Democrat to neutral, and the teal areas switched from Republican to neutral.  To me the conclusion is inescapable - Bush essentially won everywhere he won in 2000, but Kerry did not hold all the Gore territories.  The most significant change was the Southeast area of Florida - Miami-Dade county - which is very populous.  In 2000 this area went for Gore - even though as we know Bush managed to carry the state overall in the end.  In 2004 this area was even, and as a result Bush won Florida rather easily.  Perhaps the real key to the Bush win was Mel Martinez, the newly elected Republican Senator for Florida who was influential with the Cuban population of South Florida.  For students of this map, the results in Pennsylvania and Ohio were no surprise.  The other key part of Bush's victory was all the orange areas in the Northeast.  These shifts from Gore to neutral didn't cause any states to fall for the Republicans, but it did increase Bush's margin in the popular vote.

I'm puzzled by the spin from the liberal press about "conservative value voters".  They must not be looking at this map.  I suppose it will take a bit of time to digest this election, but it was very simple.  The mainstream media apparently can't handle the facts.

I see Ann Althouse agrees with me: "Is this wonderful new punditry about the voter behavior based on the same exit polls that proved so wildly inaccuate in predicting that Kerry would win?"

And so does Peggy Noonan: "A big win for America, and a loss for the mainstream media."

One final point.  Note how little change there was in California and New York.  The two most populous states were considered "locked up", so neither candidate paid them any attention.  I agree with Megan McArdle and would not be surprised to see California or New York follow the lead of Colorado, and try to pass initiatives to split their electoral votes.  Now that would change things, and if I were a Democratic strategist the possibility would have me quite worried.

[ Later: you might want to check out more electoral mapmanship... ]