Trump or Clinton? 5 Maps to track U.S. election results

Lori Castle
New York 40° 42' 52.38" N, -74° 0' 25.632" E

They’ve been called the two most-disliked candidates to ever run for President of the United States. The controversies have changed so quickly; it was hard to keep track, and the pundits’ speculations and predictions were equally feverish. To help explain the election, debunk how data is presented or just track results, we’ve gathered five maps.

FiveThirtyEight

Named after the number of electors in the United States electoral college, this site is driven by current and historical data and statistical models for which the founder and editor in chief, Nate Silver, is famous. He forecasts the election with three models: polls plus forecast, poll only forecast and, what he calls, “now-cast,” that is who would win the election if it were held on any given day.

He correctly forecast the 2008 and 2012 elections. There are proprietary algorithms in his formulas and he uses four overall steps that include: collecting, weighing and averaging polls; adjusting polls; combining polls with demographic and economic data; and “accounting for uncertainty and simulating the election thousands of times.”

Click on the image to use his interactive map and review the ever-changing forecast results.

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image credit: FiveThirtyEight.com

CNN

Compare and contrast 2008 and 2012 election results with CNN’s 2016 predictions. Or just play around with the electoral vote interactive scoreboard. You can click on arrows that put electoral votes in either candidate’s column and watch the delegate count and map color change before your eyes.

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image credit: CNN

Politico

What’s so great about the map from Politico? The image was captured a few days before the election. It’s hard to remember the last time we saw a blank slate, so it’s kind of refreshing. Of course, the site will be tracking and reporting results as the data comes in.

In the meantime, you can check out Politico’s aggregation of nearly endless poll results.

Washington Post

According to the Washington Post, you should ignore all of the above, because election maps lie. Its premise is that all a map does is show how large a state is, which, in the end, has little to do with who wins.

Instead, the media outlet suggests that a cartogram would provide more accurate insight by shrinking the “exaggerated Republican center” while exaggerating the “electoral-vote-rich” Northeast.

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image credit: Washington Post

The Post’s theory is based on a proprietary method co-invented by Mark Newman, a professor of physics at the University of Michigan, who was trying to solve the problem of inaccurate election maps.  He wrote software that produces “density equalizing maps” to more appropriately map the result data.

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image credit Mark Newman via Washington Post

Election Process

This election, also more than ever, has caused many citizens (including this one) to review our history lessons and try to better understand America’s complex presidential election process.

Voting is an extraordinary right that should never be taken lightly, but sometimes the impact of the popular vote on the actual result gets skewed in people’s minds because of the intricacy of the electoral college system — which is not a place you go and study.

So hearkening back to grammar school. Here’s a chart that maps the process. (click for full-size).

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Topics: Features, Fun maps, Weekend reads

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