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2004 Election maps

I have been waiting for final results on the 2004 election at the county level before writing about them, but Brian beat me to it. The map at Freedom and Whisky is an early one with a number of ugly black holes for incomplete returns. Yesterday’s USAToday map is marked ‘final’ and has very little politicus incognito.

If you flip back and forth between the USAToday 2004 and 2000 Presidential election by county maps, you will see small but significant differences. The ‘Yankee’ vote is going more and more solidly Democrat. Counties north of New York City are becoming bedroom and retirement communities, a part of Greater Boston and Greater New York. New Hampshire in particular has been solidly colonized by New York City. Notice that almost all the State of New York went Republican and perhaps would have been carried by Bush but for the huge Democratic majority in New York City.

The rest of the country appears to show the Republican vote is growing in virtually all of the non-Urban counties. There is a significant decrease in blue-dominant areas in the non-New England States.

Also of interest is the Princeton map. While less dramatic, it is probably of more importance to an election campaign team as it shows much more clearly where the 2008 battle ground areas will be.

I would love to see this re-done as a pseudo-topographic map, and I’d love to see it for 2000 as well. That would give us a much improved view of long term trends. While blue usually does mean depth in such maps, that may annoy the more oversensitive amongst the bluish, so we will perhaps need both blue-deepest and red-deepest maps to avoid offending a victimized minority.

22 comments to 2004 Election maps

  • The link to the USA Today map doesn’t work for me.

    Also, these maps from the University of Michigan that Eugene Volokh linked to are quite interesting.

  • Dale Amon

    Sorry, Human error. I cut and pasted then fixed an error incorrectly…

  • Patrick W

    Via Andrew Sullivan – also some very interesting maps at the state and county level with state / county size adjusted for population:


  • Testing. Just look the other way and pretend I don’t exist.

  • Ironchef

    Much prefer the county map than the state map. Morons everywhere seem to think that All of us in the Red states are gun-toting, Bible-thumping rednecks, and likewise, latte-sipping, tree-f@cking fooles in the Blue states. (for the record, I am a gun-toting, latte-sipping, Bible-bashing, pot-smoking lib in a red state).

    I would really like to see a district by district map, but understandably thought would be outrageously detailed.

  • R C Dean

    Yeah, the Princeton maps are the best, because they show the weighting. I like his “animated” version, which flips from 2000 to 2004, showing the changes. I actually think it would be a better graphic in black and white.

    The distorted cartograms showing population weighting are just what I have been looking for.

  • Hylas

    This map is interesting. Look at it and tell me which parts of the country are living in isolated bubbles of uniform opinion. (hint: big media centers) This explains a lot.

  • Richard Easbey

    Thanks for that link, Hylas! that IS an interesting map…

    damn! I wish I wuz as smart as them city-folks who voted for Kerry…. lol

  • Despite the fact that I did prefer Bush to Kerry (not that this matters, being Canadian) I’ve gotta say that these maps are somewhat worrying. They seem to indicate the slow slide of the U.S. towards being a single-party state, in much the same way as has already happened in Canada and (sad to say) the U.K. Democracy is being short-circuited, which would be fine if it was accompanied by a similar slide in federal power.

  • DaleAmon

    I’m not sure the numbers support that idea. The vote margin was only 3.5 million, 51% to 48% I believe. True, the Republicans have dominance in all three branches for now, but then the Dems had that for awhile as well, albiet a long time ago.

    The worst scenario (from some viewpoints, not mine) would be Republican dominance followed by an internal schism between the strange bedfellows of old conservatives/libertarian on one side and the neocon/religous right on the other. One could also imagine the more reasonable people within the Democratic party bailing out and letting the fruitcakes keep their sinking ship. This is pretty much how the Republican party came to be in pre-Civil War America.

    So we’d end up with a new political axis that was more libertarian/centrist in one party and religious/neocon on the other.

    I do not think either party could long survive the demolition of the opposition. Internal schisms are too deep and too lightly papered over. The internal coalitions are almost on the level of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and that is not very good glue.

  • Andrew Robb


    That’s something to think about. I can honestly say I had never regarded American political parties in that light.

    Would voting Republican to try and destroy the Democrats and then give rise to the libertarian/centrists be too Machiavellian?

  • mike

    Yeah Hylas that is the best of the US election maps I have seen so far…

  • susan

    Yet another interesting map.

  • I think New Hampshire has been taken over by Massachusetts citizens (as opposed to New Yorkers) who vote Democrat, but moved to get away from the high cost of living imposed by Democratic policies.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    For a political realignment, it’s sometimes important to determine if people are voting for or against policies.

    If they are voting against, as seems to be the case for the Dems in the recent election, namely against Bush, against the war, against his tax cuts, then I don’t see a centrist/classic liberal party having much success, despite the ‘for‘ factors of social liberalism(gay rights, abortion, life issues etc). A centrist party will not be able to get their votes.

    Also, the right wingers who voted for the Repubs and Bush seem to be voting more on the side of ‘for’ rather than ‘against’, and would likely let social liberalism issues slide. This probably means that a centrist party can get their votes, and end up as just the Republican party with a few more left-centrists added in and missing the entire religious right. I don’t think they can beat a reconstituted left wing party.


  • D. Timmerman

    I like how in the original USA today map, Dona Ana County in New Mexico was red, and now it’s blue. This is the same county where 500 votes “found” after the 2000 election threw the election to Gore. The county clerk there barred anyone from watching while the provisional ballots were being counted this year, and no doubt she threw out more Bush votes than Kerry votes, but we have no way of knowing whether it was legitimate.

    Sounds like fraud to me.

  • Paleo Man

    I wonder how much longer before it dawns on you lot that left wing and right wing are utterly vacuous terms. About as meaningful as calling everything you dislike “fascist”. No wonder libertarianism is the best-kept secret in British politics.

  • Here’s another red/blue/population density type map:


    One of the commentors here came pretty close to the reasons for my strategic choice to support the GOP this round: to pursue the electoral dismemberment of the leftist posessed Democratic party, with an eye towards inspiring them into going into a healing remission, to eventually return as something recognizable American. At this point, however, it seems like they’re heading off the edge of the cliff, but that’s another story.

    It also alludes to the other significant factor, which is to assist the grassroots libertarian underground within the Republican party, which I deem a more feasible and reliable route to implementing libertarian ideals than via the current American Libertarian party, whose main reliability seems to be in sabotaging itself and its credibility with the electorate.

  • Olo

    I am a libertarian who voted for Bush.

    And I will continue to vote Republican in future election.

    There is growing libertarian wing of the Republican party, (Republican Liberty Caucus) which this year elected more representatives to state and federal levels than any other year in it’s history.

    Bush will promote privatization of social security and major tax reforms. Things we would never see under a Democratic president.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    I’ve always wondered about the libertarian elements in both the Dem and Repub parties, and it seems that libs(traditional definition) tend to side with the more socially oppressive but economically saner Repubs, rather than the more socially open, but economically insane Dems.

    Why is that? Maybe libertarian philosophy is more an economic philosophy rather than a social one, and just as importantly, economic considerations trump all others. It’s no coincidence that gay rights, abortion rights, and various other initiatives exclusive to the left are even considered in societies which have achieved a certain level of economic progress; we don’t hear much about gay rights in Africa when people are having trouble just filling their stomachs.

    In a way, it seems like a societal analogue for Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. There must be economic progress before social progress, and the way to achieve economic progress is via economic freedom. Security, another important need in Maslow’s hierarchy, also figures prominently in the Repub victory, as society on the whole considers its security more important than other ‘higher order’ issues(eg. love, tolerance, etc).

    That’s also why the Repubs, not Dems, will likely have the support of more libertarians in the future, as economic progress is an ongoing process. That’s also probably why the very rich, like Soros, support the Dems, because they as individuals no longer need to worry about low order needs.


  • Wobbly Guy:

    Another factor I would consider is that while modern Republicans have some members who advocate socially oppressive policies, (those we call the dark, creepy authoritarians) this factor is heavily moderated by those who do not, and as a result, very little of that actually makes it into the party policy platform, tending to be watered down into toothless statements that give the opposition handles to grasp with which to paint the GOP with the brush of intolerance.

    When the crud of rhetoric is scraped off, and the propaganda penetrated, there’s a lot more “live and let live” going on that the MSM would have you believe.

  • Elizabeth

    On the USA Today county map, the blue counties in red states are the poorest, most distressed areas in the country: Appalachia, Mississippi Delta, and Indian reservation counties. The Democrat GOTV efforts center on “Vote for Gore/Kerry/Dems because you might lose your check!” It’s a mailbox economy, transfer payments, government dependents who are the modern slaves on the plantation. I live in Appalachia, so I am just reporting what I see.