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Election maps in the United States give a distorted picture of political preferences. This Belgium created an alternative

In September last year, data scientist Duip discovered a map with the results of the 2016 presidential election. Laura Trump shared it on Twitter. He wanted to encourage his father-in-law to resign. Mostly on the red card (the color of Republicans), it seems that in 2016 Americans voted en masse for Donald Trump. However, it was Hillary Clinton of the Democrats who received the most votes in 2016.

However, this is not visible in the map below. That’s why Duip talks about “completely misrepresentation of data”. The data scientist, who says he is not politically involved, “could not resist correcting this visual error,” he said in an interview with Fastcombani media.

Through this animation, Brussels resident Karim Duib explains why an election map based on the area of ​​a constituency says little about the actual vote count for a candidate.Statue Kareem Duip

Duib, co-founder of Jet Back AI, which specializes in data representation, is certainly not bothered by traditional election maps. For many years, the map has been a thorn in the side of data presentation experts. After all, the map says more about the area than the number of votes: a constituency with a large area and a few voters is more visible on this type of map than a small district with a lot of voters.

In the United States, Trump voters generally live in large but sparsely populated constituencies, while Democrats often live in smaller but more populous constituencies, with Republican votes more in sight.

That’s why Duip created a map that provides a “more accurate reading of the map”. Instead of simply coloring the constituencies in red or blue, he chose a different method, depending on who received the most votes in a particular state. He created circles based on the votes of a true Democrat or Republican in a constituency, which created a completely different – but more realistic – image. The map below was an immediate hit on Twitter, giving Belgium thousands of new followers and options.

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Dupe's map emphasizes the number of votes cast, not the geographical area of ​​the constituency.  Statue Kareem Duip
Dupe’s map emphasizes the number of votes cast, not the geographical area of ​​the constituency.Statue Kareem Duip

Although this map is now a year old and associated with the 2016 election, it is now going viral again. This shows at a glance how traditional maps can be misleading at election time. This is because many media outlets usually choose maps that prioritize the geographical area of ​​a constituency over the number of voters.

As a result, by 2020, the majority of Americans seem to have voted for Republican Trump, while Biden is the Democratic presidential candidate who will receive the most votes this year.

Hillary Clinton can admit that winning the presidency in the United States is not guaranteed. However, Duip’s map can do little to change that.