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This Was the Real Political Map of America After the 2012 Election

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This post from 2012 resurfaced after the 2016 election, so we’ve updated the headline in order to avoid any confusion.

This is the real political map of the United States of America after the 2012 presidential election. A fascinating view, much different from the maps you saw that night, which showed an artificial, binary divide. But these maps demonstrate that there is not such a huge gap between rural and urban America.


At the top of the column you can see the usual representation by state: who won where. One or the other. It shows a big area of red (republican) and some blue (democrat). If you see the results by county (second in the column), the difference between red and blue is even more overwhelming. Visually, it appears as if a few blue states are imposing their will on a huge majority of red states. We know that’s not the case, but that’s what the maps convey because we associate area and volume with importance.

That’s why those maps are not really good for understanding what really happened. They convey the wrong idea.


The third map of the column is much more accurate. Created by Mark Newman—from the Department of Physics and Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan—it mixes blue and red based on popular vote percentage instead of showing a binary representation.

There’s no huge area of red. There is a gradient. A lot of purple. That’s the accurate map that reflects the actual result of the election. It also shows that the divide between the cities and the countryside is not that huge. There are differences of opinion everywhere.

The large map is even better. It factors in population density, showing the importance of every county based on the population. The lighter the color, the less populated, the less weight in the election. The more saturated it is, the more populated and more weight it shows.

The Republican Party should look at this map and think again for 2016. In fact, everyone should. Those insidious suggestions of impending civil war between urbanites and farmers are wildly exaggerated. [Election Maps via Facebook]