Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Biden Wins the Presidential Donations Race

In The Two America's Financing the Trump and Biden Campaigns the New York Times has mapped out where in America the two presidential challengers have raised the most money. Since Joe Biden announced Kamala Harris as his running mate the Democratic challenger has raised almost twice as much money in political donations as Donald Trump. You can see where in the USA each of the Presidential hopefuls has raised the most money on the NYT's interactive map. 

The NYT's political donations map suffers from the same problem which plagues many U.S. election maps. This is - it exaggerates the support of the Republican party. Biden has out-raised Trump in densely populated urban centers and in suburban areas. Conversely Trump has raised more money in larger but less densely populated rural areas. Consequently although Biden has raised almost twice as much money as Trump the huge red areas on the map tend to distort Trump's overall level of support. 

The NYT's main takeaway from the political donations data is that Trump has alienated and lost the support of the white educated class (those who tend to have most money and make the most political donations). Donald Trump is still raising money in "smaller, down-scale, slower-growing rural counties". Unfortunately for him his support is strongest in those groups with the least money to spend on political donations - namely the white rural poor.

If you know where America's most densely packed urban centers and where the country's rural counties are located on a map then the NYT's map does successfully show this demographic split in the political donations being made to the two Presidential candidates. However that means that the map does require quite a high level of geographical literacy to be properly understood. 

Where the map is much more useful is in providing information on how much money each candidate has raised in each county. Click on the map and you can view the exact amount of money raised by Trump and Biden in the selected county.

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