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During today and tomorrow, data visualization will be on the forefront of everyone's attention. Everywhere in the world, people will be exposed to a plethora of bar, line and pie charts twinkling in distinct bright blue and red colors. Graphic design departments of magazines and newspapers go into overdrive, overlaying the US map with diverse statistics. In the meantime, real-time media outlets like television stations and websites grapple how to represent uncertainty and predictions in a visual way.

So I am wondering: What online US Presidential Elections visualizations are you currently watching, and why? Or vice versa, which one do you think is ineffective (and why)? Can the infosthetics crowd come to a consensus of the best election results graphs online?

Please leave a comment below!

Here are some links to get you started (many maps, few graphs):
· CNN ElectionCenter Map
· Fox News Interactive Map
· ABC News Election Map
· Yahoo Election Dashboard
· MSN Election Map Room
· MSNBC Election Map
· CBS News
· NPR Election Map
· NYTimes Election President Map
· Wall Street Journal Electoral College Calculator (browser resize!)
· Daily Kos Electoral Map
· 270towin.com
· idashboards.com Election 2008 (results?)
· BBC News Elections 2008
· USA Today
· Newsweek Politics
· Time Magazine (results?)
· Google Maps 2008 Elections Gallery
· Forest and the Trees Election Center (results?)
· Color-Weighted Election 2008 Cartograms (results on 5 November).



Acknowledgment: Top post image by Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman.



Visualizations are only as good as the quality of information they represent. 538 may not be "creative" but it's powerful.

Tue 04 Nov 2008 at 10:43 PM

Lots of graphs here - http://www.public.iastate.edu/~dicook/Election

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 12:29 AM

Black links? You gotta be kidding. Hire a designer.

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 1:55 AM

Amazing list!

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 3:33 AM

Kids Vote 2008 is a cloud visualization that displays students' opinions about the Presidential candidates. Check it out:

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 4:36 AM

A few days ago Wilbert Baan made this visual: http://www.hypernarrative.com/wordpress/2008/11/03/we-say-twittertalk/

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 4:36 AM

Many of these are posted as widgets (and quickly viewable) here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/30/election-results-electora_n_139361.html

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 6:20 AM

Anyone has some comments about which one is the best or the worst?

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 8:16 AM

The NY Times presidential results map allows you to zoom in to individual states and counties, and compare today's results to results from the past four elections.

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 10:24 AM

I really like the way MSNBC's map deals with the small states. Several other maps have call-outs or labels that can be moused over for more details, but MSNBC has a lens that pops out when you mouse over the north-east. I'm a fan.

One of the designers behind the map, Vu Nguyen, writes about it here: http://www.biofusiondesign.com/archive/election-08-data-explorer-map

[disclaimer: MSNBC is a client of my employer, Stamen Design, but we didn't work on any politics maps for them and I don't know the team personally]

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 11:37 AM

The NY Times has a state zoom in that lets you compare this election to the previous 3 - most of the other maps seem to ignore historical results and swings. Only problem - they seem to be a few minutes behind the networks on the timeliness of the data. Always a few thousand votes behind.

On the MSNBC dashboard page at least half the dashboard items don't seem to work. Way too much info on one page and load times are appalling.

BBC has a poor map - too small and the hover text too brief.

Fox News - some poor graphics decisions, you can't tell which states have results in until enough of the vote is counted to project the winner. No highlighting of battleground states. Data can be very slow to show up - switching between 2004 and 2008 seems to break the map.

So at the moment I'm sticking with CNN.

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 11:58 AM

Just discovered that the BBC (link) has a "proportional map" (relative to the number of electoral college votes). Seems quite effective?

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 1:04 PM

More on the NYTimes: it has bubbles representing the size of the lead by particular county. It lets you easily spot which counties heavily leaned one way or the other.

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 1:49 PM

Here an interesting Wired article with some cool images of the gadgetry featured on the US television networks, inclusive of a 3D Roman-style data visualization theatre, and a set of interactive plasma screens for detailed data graphs.

How to make information visualization sexy?

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 2:15 PM

from Nice, France. Congratulation: once more the USA shows
us the way: the first colored man elected President! Any
picture of him on the front page with the star spangled
banner will do the trick for us Europeans!!!

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 6:15 PM
jeannie gedon

It is just my personal opinion and it has nothing to do with msnbc.

I think cnn did a pretty bad job tonight. I am not just talking about the maps, but the overall feel of the page. It looks underwhelmed.

I really like how The Times managed to show the US view with all the counties, although I think the map's size was a little bit small. The county results pages has a static map, probably due to bandwidth limitation. But the overall depth of information that you can find on the Time's election guide is hard to match.

At msnbc, we had some issues maps early on due to the crazy traffics that comes when we decided to remove the pre-election countdown and show the map. The issues were solved very quickly, though. One thing that make me really happy about our maps is that we have the maps translated in 19 different languages.

Wed 05 Nov 2008 at 7:50 PM

To clarify my note above. The nytimes.com county map I was talking about is the one on the homepage, not the one on their results page. The map on their results page is as big as it can be and it is awesome.

Thu 06 Nov 2008 at 7:25 AM

@Vu: Thank you for giving your honest opinion!

To be fair, I really appreciated that MSNBC had widgets that bloggers could easily embed in their websites several days before the election. The fact that they looked very professional (and not 'widgety'), and were very highly interactive was perfect.

One might want to know that all others widgets featured above the comments section were 'hacked', in that I either had to "steal" and reappropriate the code from other sites (as I was unable to find the embed code at the respective news agencies).

Thu 06 Nov 2008 at 8:56 AM

Kottke has a round-up of electoral maps here (some reciprocal linking would have been nice). My favorite is the dry erase map.

Thu 06 Nov 2008 at 8:59 AM

I personally thought the ajaxing in the yahoo dashboard was nice and user-friendly.

Thu 06 Nov 2008 at 10:17 AM

Another nice map is at the LA Times. You can see results for the presidential race or for each of the propositions individually. They can be displayed either by county or by margin percentage.

Thu 06 Nov 2008 at 12:09 PM

I created some mashups of maps by Mark Newman to illustrate the changes between the results in 2004 and 2008. It is amazing how subtle yet consequential the change is.

on my flickr: http://flickr.com/photos/jermsy/

Thu 06 Nov 2008 at 12:18 PM

Thanks infosthetics,

The widgets turned out to be a huge success for us. We got 5 times the installs we set initially as a goal. One thing that I wish we had done is the US county map. I have to congratulate The New York Times for being able to optimize it for the traffics and make it work very smoothly. It is a great work from Matt Bloch and the team at The Times.

By the way, I have to mention that I love the dry erase map. it is very original.

Is it just me who think that foxnews' results map is a little bit too much, eh? But, well what else would one expect....

Meanwhile, I am compiling a postmortem of what we did with our maps and how it end up the way it is. Some may find it interesting. Check back in a few days.

Fri 07 Nov 2008 at 3:58 AM

I added the election results to the dashboard. Thanks for the post. forest and the trees dashboard here

Fri 07 Nov 2008 at 9:56 AM

the LA times has an amazing map that shows how California counties voted for each proposition, and another map for the margin of victory by which each proposition one in the county. It is so edifying and impressive! It is very gracefully done. California results.

Fri 07 Nov 2008 at 1:52 PM


I know we're a little bit late with our post, but we've made some maps of the recent election that may be of interest. We also recently posted KML files at county level.




Fri 14 Nov 2008 at 6:46 AM
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