Friday, November 07, 2008

Visualising the US result

There's a nice site here that offers a range of graphical representations of the US election results here. (Via Charlie)

I like this one (above) because I think it illustrates the most important aspect of voting - the granularity. And even the solid red or solid blue areas are "70%+" - there are very few places where everyone votes the same way, though a lot of the commentary I've heard and read kinda implies that this isn't the case.

Along with the 'everyone agrees with me' fallacy, I think that one of the most underestimated truths about politics is the degree of hidden movement there is - masked by the big swings. In 1997 when everyone was voting Labour, I was knocking on doors and meeting people who voted Labour last time but were voting Tory or Lib-Dem this time. Polling results were showing this as well - that when a party chose how to project itself, it often baffled some of it's supporters by doing things that 'alienate the core vote' - but you win some, you lose some.

I suspect that a fraction of the popular disillusionment with politics is down to the way that the general public don't understand why political parties and politicians behave the way that they do.

Sometimes, politicians have vantage points that the rest of us don't. That's why they're a bit weird.


mikeovswinton said...

A slightly unfocused first look at the map brought the phrase "purple states" to mind. (Hey, Peter R has upside down model railways!)

mikeovswinton said...

Actually, while I was doing stuff this morning, I relaised the other phrase that came to mind was "purple haze"