Precinct-by-precinct tallies reveal interesting patterns
—The Spatial Social Science Lab at Stanford University today announced the release of The Stanford Election Atlas, a new online interactive data visualization tool that allows users to inspect the precinct-by-precinct results of the 2008 presidential election.
The Stanford Election Atlas is the product of years of collaborative work at Harvard and Stanford Universities. First, precinct-level data were obtained from county election officials and carefully organized by a team of researchers led by Stephen Ansolabehere at Harvard University and Jonathan Rodden at Stanford University. Next, the data were geo-referenced by the Spatial Social Science Lab at Stanford, and finally, the interactive online atlas was configured in collaboration with Esri, the world leader in mapping technology and geographic information systems.
While previous results for U.S. elections were mainly reviewed in the context of red and blue states or at the county level, The Stanford Election Atlas enables users to examine individual polling places and the voting landscape of specific neighborhoods.
This atlas enables a far more nuanced understanding of American patterns of residential partisan segregation than the old county-level maps. Some of the most fascinating patterns revealed by the precinct-level data evoke legacies of the distant past. For instance, users can see that voters for Barack Obama were arrayed along shorelines, rivers, and finger-like 19th century transportation corridors connecting the cities of the Midwest, where docks, factories and labor unions once thrived and working-class housing remains. We also find rural voters for Barak Obama in places where iron, lead, and coal mining were once dominant, and of course in the famous cotton-producing belt in the Deep South. McCain voters were scattered through the exurbs of cities and in the rural periphery, while inner suburbs were evenly-divided electoral battlegrounds.
Moreover, users wishing to superimpose the election results on income and racial data can consult the full atlas to explore the striking correlation between income, race, and voting behavior, but also to zoom in on outliers, such as poor Southern Republicans and rich Northeastern Democrats. Moreover, users can gain an understanding of the rapidly changing electoral geography in neighborhoods with increasing Latino populations.