2399: 2020 Election Map

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
2020 Election Map
There are more Trump voters in California than Texas, more Biden voters in Texas than New York, more Trump voters in New York than Ohio, more Biden voters in Ohio than Massachusetts, more Trump voters in Massachusetts than Mississippi, and more Biden voters in Mississippi than Vermont.
Title text: There are more Trump voters in California than Texas, more Biden voters in Texas than New York, more Trump voters in New York than Ohio, more Biden voters in Ohio than Massachusetts, more Trump voters in Massachusetts than Mississippi, and more Biden voters in Mississippi than Vermont.
  • A larger version of this image can be found by clicking the image at xkcd.com - the comic's page can also be accessed by clicking on the comic number above.

Explanation[edit]

This is a sequel to an earlier comic, 1939: 2016 Election Map. The United States elects its president not directly by popular vote but by an Electoral College composed of a number of electors, partially proportional to population, from each state. Presently, a "winner-take-all" system is used in most states: the winner of the popular vote in each state receives all of the electoral votes for that state. Though, strictly speaking, the electors are not required to cast their ballots according to this system, many states impose penalties on them if they don't. Technically, the popular vote in each state is to elect a slate of electors who in turn elect the President.

Many electoral results maps color the states a solid color, indicating which candidate won the electoral votes, but this may not be representative of the population size of the state or the number of voters. (The exceptions are the states of Maine and Nebraska, which award only 2 electoral votes to the statewide winner, and 1 to the winner of each congressional district. For example, while Biden won Maine statewide, he only got 3 out of its 4 electoral votes, as Trump got more votes in the 2nd district.)

Randall has also made some attempt to distribute the Cueball icons within a state in a manner similar to how the actual votes were distributed, but this is subject to even more difficulties than "while keeping national totals correct". For example, Michigan's Upper Peninsula has 3% of the Michigan's population, which isn't enough for a Cueball, so it is drawn empty. On the other hand, Western Massachusetts is drawn crowded because the entire area of Massachusetts is needed to fit enough Cueballs on the map. Similarly, Michigan should have had a 10th (or even 11th) red Cueball, and didn't have nearly enough "other" voters for a green Cueball, but the green Cueballs have to be allocated *somewhere*, and Michigan is big enough to be less unreasonable than Wyoming.

Other maps used to demonstrate that "corn doesn't vote, people vote" (or similar rebuttals, referring to non-voting 'open space') include maps distorting the otherwise recognisable geography to make areas strictly proportional to the populations (or registered voters, actual voters or majority gap) within them. As an example, Los Angeles County, alone, is more populous than each of the states except for the nine most populous (even if you deprived California of it, for the duration) - or all of the ten least populous (plus DC) added together. Alaska, the largest state but with one of the fewest inhabitants, could be split and yet both halves each still cover more land area than Texas (and potentially both Alaskas now ranked firmly at the bottom of the population table).

Another mapping solution used by commentators was to use coloured circles sized to represent the quantities of voters (or majorities) that do something very similar to Randall's map by showing vast areas with small and sparse splotches of hue and other areas packed tightly with the local 'flavour' of votes.

The title text compares different voter pools in terms of absolute size. Unexpected truths - e.g., "There are more Trump voters in California than Texas" - can be explained by differences in population size. California (which was won by Biden) has a larger population than Texas (which was won by Trump), which has a higher population than New York (won by Biden), and so on. For example, Trump received over 6 million votes in California (though Biden received 11 million votes in winning the state) compared to 5.9 million votes received by Trump in Texas.

Each comparison is in a different color.

Biden/Harris Trump/Pence Total

Votes

State Votes Perc Votes Perc
California 11,110,250 63.48% 6,006,429 34.32% 17,500,881
Texas 5,259,126 46.48% 5,890,347 52.06% 11,315,056
New York 5,230,985 60.86% 3,244,798 37.75% 8,594,826
Ohio 2,679,165 45.24% 3,154,834 53.27% 5,922,202
Massachusetts 2,382,202 65.60% 1,167,202 32.14% 3,631,402
Mississippi 539,508 41.06% 756,789 57.60% 1,313,894
Vermont 242,820 66.09% 112,704 30.67% 367,428

Source

The following table lists the number of 250,000-vote markers in the map by candidate and state, and compares this with the actual number of votes. Source

Biden/Harris Trump/Pence Others Total
State Markers Votes Actual votes Markers Votes Actual votes Markers Votes Actual votes Markers Votes Actual votes
Alabama (AL) 3 750,000 849,624 6 1,500,000 1,441,170 0 0 32,488 9 2,250,000 2,323,282
Alaska (AK) 1 250,000 153,778 1 250,000 189,951 0 0 15,801 2 500,000 359,530
Arizona (AZ) 7 1,750,000 1,672,143 7 1,750,000 1,661,686 0 0 53,497 14 3,500,000 3,387,326
Arkansas (AR) 2 500,000 423,932 3 750,000 760,647 0 0 34490 5 1,250,000 1,219,069
California (CA) 44 11,000,000 11,110,250 24 6,000,000 6,006,429 2 500,000 384,202 70 17,500,000 17,500,881
Colorado (CO) 7 1,750,000 1,804,352 5 1,250,000 1,364,607 1 250,000 88,021 13 3,250,000 3,256,980
Connecticut (CT) 4.5 1,125,000 1,080,680 3 750,000 715,291 0.5 125,000 28,309 8 2,000,000 1,824,280
Delaware (DE) 1 250,000 296,268 1 250,000 200,603 0 0 7,475 2 500,000 504,346
District of Columbia (DC) 1 250,000 317,323 0 0 18,586 0 0 8,447 1 250,000 344,356
Florida (FL) 21 5,250,000 5,297,045 23 5,750,000 5,668,731 1 250,000 101,680 45 11,250,000 11,067,456
Georgia (GA) 10 2,500,000 2,473,633 10 2,500,000 2,461,854 0 0 62,229 20 5,000,000 4,997,716
Hawaii (HI) 2 500,000 366,130 1 250,000 196,864 0 0 11,475 3 750,000 574,469
Idaho (ID) 1 250,000 287,021 2 500,000 554,119 0 0 26,874 3 750,000 868,014
Illinois (IL) 14 3,500,000 3,471,915 10 2,500,000 2,446,891 1 250,000 114,938 25 6,250,000 6,033,744
Indiana (IN) 5 1,250,000 1,242,416 7 1,750,000 1,729,519 0 0 61,183 12 3,000,000 3,033,118
Iowa (IA) 3 750,000 759,061 4 1,000,000 897,672 0 0 34,138 7 1,750,000 1,690,871
Kansas (KS) 2 500,000 570,323 3 750,000 771,406 0 0 30,574 5 1,250,000 1,372,303
Kentucky (KY) 3 750,000 772,474 6 1,500,000 1,326,646 0 0 37,648 9 2,250,000 2,136,768
Louisiana (LA) 4 1,000,000 856,034 5 1,250,000 1,255,776 0 0 36,252 9 2,250,000 2,148,062
Maine (ME) 2 500,000 435,072 1 250,000 360,737 0 0 23,652 3 750,000 819,461
Maryland (MD) 8 2,000,000 1,985,023 4 1,000,000 976,414 0 0 75,593 12 3,000,000 3,037,030
Massachusetts (MA) 10 2,500,000 2,382,202 4 1,000,000 1,167,202 1 250,000 81,998 15 3,750,000 3,631,402
Michigan (MI) 11 2,750,000 2,804,040 9 2,250,000 2,649,852 1 250,000 85,410 21 5,250,000 5,539,302
Minnesota (MN) 7 1,750,000 1,717,077 6 1,500,000 1,484,065 0 0 76,029 13 3,250,000 3,277,171
Mississippi (MS) 2 500,000 539,508 3 750,000 756,789 0 0 17,597 5 1,250,000 1,313,894
Missouri (MO) 5 1,250,000 1,253,014 7 1,750,000 1,718,736 0 0 54,212 12 3,000,000 3,025,962
Montana (MT) 1 250,000 244,786 1 250,000 343,602 0 0 15,286 2 500,000 603,674
Nebraska (NE) 1 250,000 374,583 2 500,000 556,846 0 0 25,044 3 750,000 956,383
Nevada (NV) 3 750,000 703,486 3 750,000 669,890 0 0 32,000 6 1,500,000 1,405,376
New Hampshire (NH) 2 500,000 424,937 1 250,000 365,660 0 0 13,236 3 750,000 790,597
New Jersey (NJ) 9 2,250,000 2,608,335 7 1,750,000 1,833,274 0 0 57,744 16 4,000,000 4,549,353
New Mexico (NM) 2 500,000 501,614 2 500,000 401,894 0 0 20,457 4 1,000,000 923,965
New York (NY) 20.5 5,125,000 5,230,985 13 3,250,000 3,244,798 0.5 125,000 119,043 34 8,500,000 8,594,826
North Carolina (NC) 11 2,750,000 2,684,292 11 2,750,000 2,758,775 0 0 81,737 22 5,500,000 5,524,804
North Dakota (ND) 0 0 114,902 1 250,000 235,595 0 0 11,322 1 250,000 361,819
Ohio (OH) 11 2,750,000 2,679,165 12 3,000,000 3,154,834 1 250,000 88,203 24 6,000,000 5,922,202
Oklahoma (OK) 2 500,000 503,890 4 1,000,000 1,020,280 0 0 36,529 6 1,500,000 1,560,699
Oregon (OR) 5 1,250,000 1,340,383 4 1,000,000 958,448 1 250,000 75,490 10 2,500,000 2,374,321
Pennsylvania (PA) 15 3,750,000 3,458,229 14 3,500,000 3,377,674 0 0 79,380 29 7,250,000 6,915,283
Rhode Island (RI) 1 250,000 307,486 1 250,000 199,922 0 0 10,349 2 500,000 517,757
South Carolina (SC) 4 1,000,000 1,091,541 6 1,500,000 1,385,103 0 0 36,685 10 2,500,000 2,513,329
South Dakota (SD) 1 250,000 150,471 1 250,000 261,043 0 0 11,095 2 500,000 422,609
Tennessee (TN) 5 1,250,000 1,143,711 7 1,750,000 1,852,475 0 0 57,665 12 3,000,000 3,053,851
Texas (TX) 21 5,250,000 5,259,126 24 6,000,000 5,890,347 1 250,000 165,583 46 11,500,000 11,315,056
Utah (UT) 2 500,000 560,282 4 1,000,000 865,140 0 0 62,867 6 1,500,000 1,488,289
Vermont (VT) 1 250,000 242,820 0 0 112,704 0 0 3,608 1 250,000 367,428
Virginia (VA) 10 2,500,000 2,413,568 8 2,000,000 1,962,430 0 0 84,526 18 4,500,000 4,460,524
Washington (WA) 9 2,250,000 2,369,612 6 1,500,000 1,584,651 1 250,000 133,368 16 4,000,000 4,087,631
West Virginia (WV) 1 250,000 235,984 2 500,000 545,382 0 0 13,365 3 750,000 794,731
Wisconsin (WI) 7 1,750,000 1,630,866 6 1,500,000 1,610,184 0 0 56,991 13 3,250,000 3,298,041
Wyoming (WY) 0 0 73,491 1 250,000 193,559 0 0 9,715 1 250,000 276,765
Total 325 81,250,000 81,268,867 296 74,000,000 74,216,747 12 3,000,000 2,896,077 633 158,250,000 158,381,691

Transcript[edit]

2020 Election Map
[One stick figure in a black circle] = 250,000 votes
[Stick figure in a blue circle] Biden
[Stick figure in a red circle] Trump
[Stick figure in a green circle] Other
Votes are distributed by state as accurately as possible while keeping national totals correct.
Location within each state is approximate.
[Blue, red, and green circles are distributed across a map of the United States.]


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

r/PeopleLiveInCities162.158.49.18 12:27, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

I see a political comic... sure hope this doesn't spiral out of control. ChessCake (talk) 22:21, 16 December 2020 (UTC)

How dare you accuse me of spiraling things out of control, you so-and-so! This kind of baseless backwards logic is exactly the problem with people who share your particular political opinions! --NeatNit (talk) 22:38, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
You're being sarcastic, right? Just want to be clear so we don't fuel the [potential] flames to come. ChessCake (talk) 22:51, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
I took "so-and-so" as proof that neatnit was joking. Angry people on the internet use harsher words. SDT 162.158.75.38 22:57, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
Definitely. Call someone a "blankety-blank" and you are inviting bloody revenge. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 04:58, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
Definitely. The "so-and-so" instead of an insult, and the deliberately vague grouping of "people who share your particular political opinions" were a clear giveaway. :) --V2Blast (talk) 22:59, 16 December 2020 (UTC)
explainexplainxkcdcomments.com 172.68.65.154 00:54, 19 December 2020 (UTC)

It seems to me that one of the main messages in this comic is that voters for both Trump and Biden are pretty well distributed around the country. Looking at the typical choropleth maps with states colored red or blue, it can seem that the political division in the country is also a geographical division. This map, and the title text, emphasize that, at the scale of the whole country, that really isn't the case. The urban/suburban/rural breakdown isn't all that evident at this scale. Orion205 (talk) 07:06, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

The urban/suburban/rural breakdown isn't all that evident at this scale: au contraire, it's quite clear that the denser the area, the more Biden voters there are, even in red states. See Texas for instance, where around big cities you have more blue dots than red.141.101.107.160 10:51, 17 December 2020 (UTC)
And this map proves that many large areas of the country are still dangerously underpopulated to prevent democracy from becoming tyrannySeebert (talk)
I don't think more population would suffice for US to get reasonable number of political parties. -- Hkmaly (talk) 02:55, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

I found this map a few weeks ago and I love it, it kind of requires interactivity but it can be set to display the difference between population and land area in on of the best ways I've seen. Especially because you can set the population indicators to avoid overlapping, so you can get a land-area-like feel for their size. Kjmitch (talk) 18:27, 17 December 2020 (UTC)

Where does the .5 in the table for NY and CT come from? I can see that two markers sit across the border for the two states, but it personally seems to me that the numbers can be more accurate with some editing. 108.162.229.220 03:02, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

Well, I added the 0.5s for CT because I could see the markers sitting across the border. But since the full table wasn't available yet at that time, I didn't know whether it was split on purpose or just lack of space. If it's more accurate to assign the markers to either state, then feel to do that. 162.158.159.18 10:13, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

As seen on CNN[edit]

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/17/politics/donald-trump-joe-biden-2020-election/index.html