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New Maps

I’ve replaced the old, highly-stylized but “electorally correct” maps…

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With new, more traditional, “geographically correct” maps…

I’m hoping that most of you will see this as an improvement, but I’m happy to hear any objections. We’ve all become so used to looking at these red-blue maps that I just think, on balance, these convey the information a little better, even if they lead to the false impression that Montana is more important than Massachusetts. If I saw an “electorally correct” map I reaaaaaly liked, I might use that as a compromise, but the old ones were just distorting things a little bit too much, such that it was hard to tell which state was which.

Postscript/Full Disclosure That Like Four of You Will Care About: This is actually at heart a technological issue. I need some way to generate maps automatically when I run a site update, and MS-EXCEL has no function to do this. (Actually, it used to have this functionality, but Bill Gates decided to remove it and sell it as an add-on so that he could buy a new yacht). So the maps you see are generated using conditional formatting, basically by creating a huge grid and assigning each cell in the grid to its corresponding state:

At first I’d borrowed such a grid from Wikipedia, which had the virtue of being “electorally correct” but produced some very blocky-looking maps, but I realized (duh!) that I could improve the resolution by increasing the number of squares in the grid, and then laying a generic state outline map over it to sort of cover my mistakes. I’m like the MacGyver of Microsoft EXCEL.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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