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Flawed visualization of U.S. voting maybe has some good features

Aleks points me to this attractive visualization by David Sparks of U.S. voting.

On the plus side, the pictures and associated movie (showing an oddly horizontally-stretched-out United States) are pretty and seem to have gotten a bit of attention–the maps have received 31 comments, which is more than we get on almost all our blog entries here.

On the minus side, the movie is misleading. In many years it shows the whole U.S. as a single color, even when candidates from both parties won some votes. The text has errors too, for example the false claim that the South favored a Democratic candidate in 1980. The southern states that Jimmy Carter carried in 1980 were Georgia and . . . that’s it.

But, as Aleks says, once this tool is out there, maybe people can use it to do better. It’s in that spirit that I’m linking. Ya gotta start somewhere.

Also, this is a good example of a general principle: When you make a graph, look at it carefully to see if it makes sense!