2399: 2020 Election Map

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Revision as of 10:06, 17 December 2020 by (talk) (Explanation)
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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.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by a BIDEN VOTER IN OHIO. Please mention here why this explanation isn't complete. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

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 map color the states a solid color, indicating which state won the electoral votes, but this may not be representative of the population size of the state, or the number of voters. Furthermore, the states of Maine and Nebraska do not have a pure winner-takes-all system, but instead two of each state's electors vote for whoever won the statewide vote, and there is also one elector each assigned to a specific district's count. For example, while Biden won Maine statewide, he only got 3 out of its 4 votes, as the elector representing its second district voted for Trump, as expected.

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.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
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.]

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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 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 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. 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. 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. 10:13, 18 December 2020 (UTC)

I have no memory of this XKCD getting published, even though I was following the comic well before 2020. Dang. 04:17, 16 March 2022 (UTC)

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