2399: 2020 Election Map

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Redirected from 2399)
Jump to: navigation, search
2020 Election Map
There are more Trump voters in California than Texas, more Biden voters in Texas than New York, more Trump voters in New York than Ohio, more Biden voters in Ohio than Massachusetts, more Trump voters in Massachusetts than Mississippi, and more Biden voters in Mississippi than Vermont.
Title text: There are more Trump voters in California than Texas, more Biden voters in Texas than New York, more Trump voters in New York than Ohio, more Biden voters in Ohio than Massachusetts, more Trump voters in Massachusetts than Mississippi, and more Biden voters in Mississippi than Vermont.
  • A larger version of this image can be found by clicking the image at xkcd.com - the comic's page can also be accessed by clicking on the comic number above.

Explanation[edit]

This is a sequel to an earlier comic, 1939: 2016 Election Map. The United States elects its president not directly by popular vote but by an Electoral College composed of a number of electors, partially proportional to population, from each state. Presently, a "winner-take-all" system is used in most states: the winner of the popular vote in each state receives all of the electoral votes for that state. Though, strictly speaking, the electors are not required to cast their ballots according to this system, many states impose penalties on them if they don't. Technically, the popular vote in each state is to elect a slate of electors who in turn elect the President.

During the election season, news outlets and other political trackers tend to color-code each state with the party which won the state (or which is projected or speculated to win). Since the 2000 election it's become common practice to code Republican victories as red and Democratic victories as blue. Other parties have less consistent colors, but are commonly green. These colors have become embedded in popular vernacular, as states that are heavily Republican are known as "red states" and those that are heavily Democratic are known as "blue states".

These graphics can be misleading as to the realities on the ground, though. Because each state is colored solidly red or blue, it gives the impression that each state belongs entirely to one party or the other, when the color could represent a very slender minority, or an overwhelming advantage. In addition, such a graphical view means that larger states translate to more area of a given color, giving the impression of party strength, even though that may not represent many voters. In the US, large cities trend largely Democratic, while rural areas trend largely Republican. This means that many Democratic voters are concentrated in relatively small urban areas, so a large "red" state may represent fewer voters than a small "blue" state.

Randall's solution to this is to represent the Republican and Democratic voters in each state with Cueball icons, each icon representing 250,000 voters. He has made some attempt to distribute the Cueball icons within a state in a manner similar to how the actual votes were distributed. This has the advantage of giving a decent impression of how popular each candidate was, how their popularity varied across the country, and how the votes were distributed by both state and region. It also gives at least a basic indication of population patterns in the US, with large regions that are sparsely inhabited, and populations clustered in urban centers.

The title text compares different voter pools in terms of absolute size. These facts are frequently counter-intuitive. California is generally thought of as a "blue state", and Texas as a "red state", so it's surprising to realize that, in 2020, Donald Trump received more votes in California than he did in Texas. The reason for this is not complex, California has a huge population, nearly 40 million people, of whom 17.5 million voted in 2020. Even though Joe Biden won the state easily, Trump received 6 million of those votes. Texas, by contrast, has 27.7 million residents and 11.3 million voters in the 2020 election. Trump received 5.9 million of those votes, which was enough to win the state. Because of the huge variation in population among US states, and the political divisions within each state, there are multiple "blue" states which have more Republican voters that at least some "red" states, and vice versa. This underscores the importance of not viewing any state as politically uniform. Even if a state trends heavily toward one party, there is always a substantial population of the other party, and in large states, that means enough people that they'd be a formidable political force anywhere else.

Biden/Harris Trump/Pence Total

Votes

State Votes Perc Votes Perc
California 11,110,250 63.48% 6,006,429 34.32% 17,500,881
Texas 5,259,126 46.48% 5,890,347 52.06% 11,315,056
New York 5,230,985 60.86% 3,244,798 37.75% 8,594,826
Ohio 2,679,165 45.24% 3,154,834 53.27% 5,922,202
Massachusetts 2,382,202 65.60% 1,167,202 32.14% 3,631,402
Mississippi 539,508 41.06% 756,789 57.60% 1,313,894
Vermont 242,820 66.09% 112,704 30.67% 367,428

Source

The following table lists the number of 250,000-vote markers in the map by candidate and state, and compares this with the actual number of votes. Source

Biden/Harris Trump/Pence Others Total
State Markers Votes Actual votes Markers Votes Actual votes Markers Votes Actual votes Markers Votes Actual votes
Alabama (AL) 3 750,000 849,624 6 1,500,000 1,441,170 0 0 32,488 9 2,250,000 2,323,282
Alaska (AK) 1 250,000 153,778 1 250,000 189,951 0 0 15,801 2 500,000 359,530
Arizona (AZ) 7 1,750,000 1,672,143 7 1,750,000 1,661,686 0 0 53,497 14 3,500,000 3,387,326
Arkansas (AR) 2 500,000 423,932 3 750,000 760,647 0 0 34490 5 1,250,000 1,219,069
California (CA) 44 11,000,000 11,110,250 24 6,000,000 6,006,429 2 500,000 384,202 70 17,500,000 17,500,881
Colorado (CO) 7 1,750,000 1,804,352 5 1,250,000 1,364,607 1 250,000 88,021 13 3,250,000 3,256,980
Connecticut (CT) 4.5 1,125,000 1,080,680 3 750,000 715,291 0.5 125,000 28,309 8 2,000,000 1,824,280
Delaware (DE) 1 250,000 296,268 1 250,000 200,603 0 0 7,475 2 500,000 504,346
District of Columbia (DC) 1 250,000 317,323 0 0 18,586 0 0 8,447 1 250,000 344,356
Florida (FL) 21 5,250,000 5,297,045 23 5,750,000 5,668,731 1 250,000 101,680 45 11,250,000 11,067,456
Georgia (GA) 10 2,500,000 2,473,633 10 2,500,000 2,461,854 0 0 62,229 20 5,000,000 4,997,716
Hawaii (HI) 2 500,000 366,130 1 250,000 196,864 0 0 11,475 3 750,000 574,469
Idaho (ID) 1 250,000 287,021 2 500,000 554,119 0 0 26,874 3 750,000 868,014
Illinois (IL) 14 3,500,000 3,471,915 10 2,500,000 2,446,891 1 250,000 114,938 25 6,250,000 6,033,744
Indiana (IN) 5 1,250,000 1,242,416 7 1,750,000 1,729,519 0 0 61,183 12 3,000,000 3,033,118
Iowa (IA) 3 750,000 759,061 4 1,000,000 897,672 0 0 34,138 7 1,750,000 1,690,871
Kansas (KS) 2 500,000 570,323 3 750,000 771,406 0 0 30,574 5 1,250,000 1,372,303
Kentucky (KY) 3 750,000 772,474 6 1,500,000 1,326,646 0 0 37,648 9 2,250,000 2,136,768
Louisiana (LA) 4 1,000,000 856,034 5 1,250,000 1,255,776 0 0 36,252 9 2,250,000 2,148,062
Maine (ME) 2 500,000 435,072 1 250,000 360,737 0 0 23,652 3 750,000 819,461
Maryland (MD) 8 2,000,000 1,985,023 4 1,000,000 976,414 0 0 75,593 12 3,000,000 3,037,030
Massachusetts (MA) 10 2,500,000 2,382,202 4 1,000,000 1,167,202 1 250,000 81,998 15 3,750,000 3,631,402
Michigan (MI) 11 2,750,000 2,804,040 9 2,250,000 2,649,852 1 250,000 85,410 21 5,250,000 5,539,302
Minnesota (MN) 7 1,750,000 1,717,077 6 1,500,000 1,484,065 0 0 76,029 13 3,250,000 3,277,171
Mississippi (MS) 2 500,000 539,508 3 750,000 756,789 0 0 17,597 5 1,250,000 1,313,894
Missouri (MO) 5 1,250,000 1,253,014 7 1,750,000 1,718,736 0 0 54,212 12 3,000,000 3,025,962
Montana (MT) 1 250,000 244,786 1 250,000 343,602 0 0 15,286 2 500,000 603,674
Nebraska (NE) 1 250,000 374,583 2 500,000 556,846 0 0 25,044 3 750,000 956,383
Nevada (NV) 3 750,000 703,486 3 750,000 669,890 0 0 32,000 6 1,500,000 1,405,376
New Hampshire (NH) 2 500,000 424,937 1 250,000 365,660 0 0 13,236 3 750,000 790,597
New Jersey (NJ) 9 2,250,000 2,608,335 7 1,750,000 1,833,274 0 0 57,744 16 4,000,000 4,549,353
New Mexico (NM) 2 500,000 501,614 2 500,000 401,894 0 0 20,457 4 1,000,000 923,965
New York (NY) 20.5 5,125,000 5,230,985 13 3,250,000 3,244,798 0.5 125,000 119,043 34 8,500,000 8,594,826
North Carolina (NC) 11 2,750,000 2,684,292 11 2,750,000 2,758,775 0 0 81,737 22 5,500,000 5,524,804
North Dakota (ND) 0 0 114,902 1 250,000 235,595 0 0 11,322 1 250,000 361,819
Ohio (OH) 11 2,750,000 2,679,165 12 3,000,000 3,154,834 1 250,000 88,203 24 6,000,000 5,922,202
Oklahoma (OK) 2 500,000 503,890 4 1,000,000 1,020,280 0 0 36,529 6 1,500,000 1,560,699
Oregon (OR) 5 1,250,000 1,340,383 4 1,000,000 958,448 1 250,000 75,490 10 2,500,000 2,374,321
Pennsylvania (PA) 15 3,750,000 3,458,229 14 3,500,000 3,377,674 0 0 79,380 29 7,250,000 6,915,283
Rhode Island (RI) 1 250,000 307,486 1 250,000 199,922 0 0 10,349 2 500,000 517,757
South Carolina (SC) 4 1,000,000 1,091,541 6 1,500,000 1,385,103 0 0 36,685 10 2,500,000 2,513,329
South Dakota (SD) 1 250,000 150,471 1 250,000 261,043 0 0 11,095 2 500,000 422,609
Tennessee (TN) 5 1,250,000 1,143,711 7 1,750,000 1,852,475 0 0 57,665 12 3,000,000 3,053,851
Texas (TX) 21 5,250,000 5,259,126 24 6,000,000 5,890,347 1 250,000 165,583 46 11,500,000 11,315,056
Utah (UT) 2 500,000 560,282 4 1,000,000 865,140 0 0 62,867 6 1,500,000 1,488,289
Vermont (VT) 1 250,000 242,820 0 0 112,704 0 0 3,608 1 250,000 367,428
Virginia (VA) 10 2,500,000 2,413,568 8 2,000,000 1,962,430 0 0 84,526 18 4,500,000 4,460,524
Washington (WA) 9 2,250,000 2,369,612 6 1,500,000 1,584,651 1 250,000 133,368 16 4,000,000 4,087,631
West Virginia (WV) 1 250,000 235,984 2 500,000 545,382 0 0 13,365 3 750,000 794,731
Wisconsin (WI) 7 1,750,000 1,630,866 6 1,500,000 1,610,184 0 0 56,991 13 3,250,000 3,298,041
Wyoming (WY) 0 0 73,491 1 250,000 193,559 0 0 9,715 1 250,000 276,765
Total 325 81,250,000 81,268,867 296 74,000,000 74,216,747 12 3,000,000 2,896,077 633 158,250,000 158,381,691

Transcript[edit]

2020 Election Map
[One stick figure in a black circle] = 250,000 votes
[Stick figure in a blue circle] Biden
[Stick figure in a red circle] Trump
[Stick figure in a green circle] Other
Votes are distributed by state as accurately as possible while keeping national totals correct.
Location within each state is approximate.
[Blue, red, and green circles are distributed across a map of the United States.]


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

r/PeopleLiveInCities162.158.49.18 12:27, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

I see a political comic... sure hope this doesn't spiral out of control. ChessCake (talk) 22:21, 16 December 2020 (UTC)

How dare you accuse me of spiraling things out of control, you so-and-so! This kind of baseless backwards logic is exactly the problem with people who share your particular political opinions! --NeatNit (talk) 22:38, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
You're being sarcastic, right? Just want to be clear so we don't fuel the [potential] flames to come. ChessCake (talk) 22:51, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
I took "so-and-so" as proof that neatnit was joking. Angry people on the internet use harsher words. SDT 162.158.75.38 22:57, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
Definitely. Call someone a "blankety-blank" and you are inviting bloody revenge. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 04:58, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
Definitely. The "so-and-so" instead of an insult, and the deliberately vague grouping of "people who share your particular political opinions" were a clear giveaway. :) --V2Blast (talk) 22:59, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
explainexplainxkcdcomments.com 172.68.65.154 00:54, 19 December 2020 (UTC)

It seems to me that one of the main messages in this comic is that voters for both Trump and Biden are pretty well distributed around the country. Looking at the typical choropleth maps with states colored red or blue, it can seem that the political division in the country is also a geographical division. This map, and the title text, emphasize that, at the scale of the whole country, that really isn't the case. The urban/suburban/rural breakdown isn't all that evident at this scale. Orion205 (talk) 07:06, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

The urban/suburban/rural breakdown isn't all that evident at this scale: au contraire, it's quite clear that the denser the area, the more Biden voters there are, even in red states. See Texas for instance, where around big cities you have more blue dots than red.141.101.107.160 10:51, 17 December 2020 (UTC)
And this map proves that many large areas of the country are still dangerously underpopulated to prevent democracy from becoming tyrannySeebert (talk)
I don't think more population would suffice for US to get reasonable number of political parties. -- Hkmaly (talk) 02:55, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

I found this map a few weeks ago and I love it, it kind of requires interactivity but it can be set to display the difference between population and land area in on of the best ways I've seen. Especially because you can set the population indicators to avoid overlapping, so you can get a land-area-like feel for their size. Kjmitch (talk) 18:27, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

Where does the .5 in the table for NY and CT come from? I can see that two markers sit across the border for the two states, but it personally seems to me that the numbers can be more accurate with some editing. 108.162.229.220 03:02, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

Well, I added the 0.5s for CT because I could see the markers sitting across the border. But since the full table wasn't available yet at that time, I didn't know whether it was split on purpose or just lack of space. If it's more accurate to assign the markers to either state, then feel to do that. 162.158.159.18 10:13, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

As seen on CNN[edit]

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/17/politics/donald-trump-joe-biden-2020-election/index.html