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14 Ways to Visualize the Presidential Election

On a recent episode of Chart Chat, Steve Wexler, Jeffrey Shaffer, Amanda Makulec, and Andy Cotgreave engaged in an amazing discussion about different ways to visualize the US Presidential election. To that end, I’ve decided to use Tableau to create a number of different approaches (14 to be exact). This workbook includes each of these methods, with a brief explanation of how they work, plus some commentary by Steve Wexler and myself on the good, the bad, and the ugly of each approach. Everything you need to know is in the viz, so here it is. Click the image to interact with the full visualization.


 

Ken Flerlage, October 28, 2020

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18 comments:

  1. Amazing! Truly Amazing. Each one of them is very inspiring, but 14, you are spoiling us :)

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  2. Some of these are very interesting. I particularly like the Non-Contiguous Cartogram! I've never seen it and it feels the best of these options to me.

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    1. This was the first time I've seen it too and I agree that it's pretty good! But, as I noted in the comments of the viz, I think my preference is the bubble tile map. Easy to understand, easy to create, easy to compare sizes, etc.

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    2. I think the advantage of having the state shapes instantly recognizable is worth the issues with identifying exact size. Perhaps the label should be the number of electoral votes, not the state abbreviation?

      I guess the biggest question is what the biggest goal of the visualization is. If it is to make clear who is favored or winner in a specific state, with a general idea of how valuable it is, this is the best visualization. If understanding the exact value of each state is most important (and instant recognition of which state is less important), then others are better.

      For my money, this one is the best at what we probably want to convey first and foremost: This is Massachusetts, and it voted for Biden, and it's pretty valuable.

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  3. I just check NYT and your dashboard is very close to final election results :D
    That gridded cartogram was very unique , its like the state and also have electoral count

    POUYA

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    1. Yes, the NYT did a pretty good job with their projections. Most of the true tossups went to Trump, some of them pretty easily, but pretty much everything else was accurate. Yes, I agree--the gridded cartogram is a really good way to visualize this data. It's one of my favorites.

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  4. Hello, Ken. Could you make a blog on Contiguous and Non-Contiguous maps in tableau?

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  5. Hey Ken, I tried to make a Contiguous cartogram using geojson file, but tableau displayed an error
    like this-
    Unexpected Error
    Tableau has encountered an error while trying to load a spatial file.

    It is recommended that you include the supporting .prj file. Tableau might not recognize the datum definition for some datasets, even with spatial reference information included. Since Tableau assumes the underlying data is in WGS84, some coordinates might be reported as "out of range" for projected data, or a coordinate transformation failure might occur.
    Error Code: 3834A432

    could you please help me fixing the error?

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    1. That's a strange error for a geojson file. Would you be able to email me at flerlagekr@gmail.com so I can understand more about what's going on? Please include the spatial file.

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  6. Thanks for the blog Ken. I loved the spatial files used in making the Spatial Treemap and Non Contiguous Cartogram. How did you created the X Y coordinates for the spatial files? Please let me know if you have used any tool to generate the X Y coordinates.

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    1. See the last page of the workbook--it contains references to all the sources and/or how-to guides. If you have any questions from there, let me know.

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    2. Thanks Ken for the help. Can you please provide me the java file which is used for making spatial treemap ? Do we need to install something( not processing software) ,i.e., in the library and how can we do it? I have a doubt regarding non-contiguous Cartogram, how can we non-contiguous Cartogram of other countries?

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    3. Those cartograms were developed by Daniel Donner. I do not know how to create them, unfortunately.

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    4. Can you please provide me the java code for the spatial treemap? Thanks for the help. If possible can you please say how can I contact Daniel Donner.

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    5. Watch the following presentation starting around minute 29, in which Rob Radburn shares how to create spatial treemaps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8WpyenYggo&t=1740s. You'll then use the "Processing" language/platform with the following library: https://www.gicentre.net/treemappa

      Your best bet for contacting Daniel would probably be Twitter: @donnermaps

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