The American election map is fooling us, but a Belgian offers...

Those who followed the US presidential election cannot have escaped notice: the map of the United States, divided into the so-called ‘red’ and ‘blue’ constituencies. It is less well known that these traditional maps give a distorted picture of the political color of the Americans. That is why Karim Douïeb from Brussels developed an alternative, which is now going viral again.


06-11-20, 23:25

Latest update:

Twitter, FastCompany, Karim Douïeb

Data scientist Douïeb found a card with the results of the presidential elections in 2016 last September. It was shared on Twitter by Lara . He wanted to encourage her father-in-law in the run-up to his possible impeachment trial. On the largely red card (the color of the Republicans), it seems as if the Americans voted en masse for Donald Trump in 2016. However, it was Democrate Hillary Clinton who received the most votes in 2016.

However, that is not visible on the map below. And that is why Douïeb speaks of “a completely wrong representation of the data”. The data scientist, who says he is not very politically involved, “could not fail to correct this visual error,” he said in an interview with news medium FastCompany.

With this animation, Brussels resident Karim Douïeb makes clear why an election map based on the area of ​​a constituency says little about the actual number of votes for a candidate. © Karim Douïeb

Douïeb, co-founder of Jetpack.AI, a company specializing in data display, is certainly not the only one who is disturbed by the traditional election maps. The card has been a thorn in the side of specialists in data display for years. After all, the map says more about area than the number of votes: an electoral district with a large area and few voters is more visible on these types of maps than a smaller district with many voters.

Because in the US, Trump voters generally live in large but sparsely populated constituencies, while the Democratic constituency mainly lives in smaller but densely populated constituencies, the Republican votes are visually overrepresented.

That’s why Douïeb created a map that offers a “much more accurate reading of the situation”. Rather than simply coloring the constituencies red or blue, depending on who had the most votes in a particular state, he chose a different method. He made circles based on the actual number of Democratic or Republican votes in a constituency, which produced a completely different – but more realistic – picture. The map below immediately became a hit on Twitter, which resulted in thousands of new followers and likes for Belgians.

The Douïeb map emphasizes the number of votes, not the geographic area of ​​the constituency where a vote was cast.
The Douïeb map emphasizes the number of votes, not the geographic area of ​​the constituency where a vote was cast. © Karim Douïeb

Although the map is now a year old and relates to the 2016 elections, it is also now going viral. In election time it shows at a glance how misleading traditional cards can be. Because again, many media out of habit choose maps that give priority to the geographic area of ​​a constituency instead of the number of voters.

As a result, in 2020 it again seems as if the overwhelming majority of Americans voted for Republican Trump, while it is the Democratic presidential candidate Biden who will get the most votes this year.

Hillary Clinton has a say in the fact that the latter in the United States is no guarantee of winning for the presidency. However, Douïeb’s map cannot change that.

Also read:

White House can no longer escape Biden, but official result may not be until December 14 (+)

Our opinion. There is a conspiracy against Trump. Her name is: democracy (+)

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