Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Link of the Day - Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008

Voting America examines the evolution of presidential politics in the United States across the span of American history. The project offers a wide spectrum of cinematic visualizations of how Americans voted in the presidential elections at the country level from the beginning of the modern party system through the modern day. Visitors will be able to see the historical developments in American voting patterns as they moved across the landscape of the United States.

The Voting America maps will help voters deconstruct myths about the American electorate, such as the popular notion that the U.S. is divided into large regions of opposing "red" and "blue" sections of America. If you know where someone lives, goes the common perception, you can probably guess their politics. By looking at elections at the county level, however, these maps show that the U.S. is not so clearly divided into red and blue regions.

A new collaboration with Google will make digital maps of presidential elections from 1980 to 2004 available in Google Earth. These maps detail how people voted in every county in the United States, providing far more detail and information than what is currently available in Electoral College maps. The voting returns are also paired with population data—including information on race, age, gender and income levels—in every county, allowing people to examine the factors that affected voting in any given election.

You can access the Google Earth layer by going to Google's 2008 Election site.

Anyone with an interest in history and/or politics, as well as teachers of secondary social studies will find much here to think about and discuss.

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