Tuesday, March 28, 2006

 

Something I've Been Thinking About...

I was going to put a link at the bottom of this post, but it started getting lengthy, so here's the link to my recent interview with Shelley Madore, DFL candidate for House district 37A. It's the next post down, so you could scroll if you wanted to...Anyway. On with the post.

...in relation to recent analysis done here and over at The Analyst on the 2004 CD6 race. It hearkens back to November 3rd, 2004, when most major newspapers contained headlines declaring President Bush's win, accompanied by a US map. This map contained little blue islands awash in a sea of red, and Mr. Bush declared a "mandate" for his policies.

Those of us who were working on the Kerry Campaign knew better than to trust a map. After all, grasslands and mountains and prairies and forests don't vote. We knew that 59,000,000 votes were cast for John Kerry, and that he lost by a much slimmer margin than that geographic map portrayed.

How to demonstrate the difference between the geographic map and the bitter division in the electorate? Cartograms. Essentially, maps in which different areas are scaled not by their geographic areas, but rather by their population. Unfortunately, though I have searched with some degree of exhaustiveness, I have been unable to find Minnesota-specific cartograms for 2004 or any other election year. But if someone knows of a source, I would be pleased as punch to see them. Such a map would shed light not just on where Patty Wetterling got her support in 2004, but also how those relatively urban areas stack up against the rest of CD6, some of which is quite rural, in terms of real voting strength. Such a resource would be invaluable at the statewide level as well, to demonstrate that while the "red doughnut" around the Twin Cities certainly provides a strong base for the GOP, its large red appearance on a map can be countered by superior DFL voting strength (depending on turnout) in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Duluth, and Rochester.

Thoughts? Resources? IM Handles?

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