Thursday, September 03, 2020

The Political Color of America

The New York Times has developed a fascinating new way to visualize the urban-rural divide in political persuasion. In the United States, like in many other countries around the world, voters in rural areas on the whole tend to vote for more right-wing candidates and urban voters tend to vote for more left-wing candidates. In the U.S. this means that rural areas are more likely to return Republican representatives and urban areas are more likely to vote for Democratic representatives. 

To visualize this urban-rural divide in political persuasion the New York Times has carried out a color analysis of every voting precinct in the United States. In The True Colors of America’s Political Spectrum Are Gray and Green the NYT has taken a satellite image of every electoral precinct and sorted every color in each image by color and brightness.

What the NYT analysis reveals is that generally the greener a precinct is then the more likely it is to have voted Republican in the last Presidential Election. The grayer a precinct is then the more likely it is to have voted Democratic in the 2016 election. Just looking at the screenshot above (even before the color sorting has taken place) you can see that Democratic voting precincts (on the left) are grayer and that the greener precincts tend to be Republican (on the right). In the article the NYT's color sorted visualization of 'the most frequently occurring 100,000 landscape colors' provides an even clearer picture of the urban-rural divide in the United States.

If you are interested in the urban-rural voting patterns in your state then check out the NYT's article, which includes a color sorted visualization of every state's voting precincts.

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