PURPLE AMERICA?….The map below is the now well known “purple” map of the 2004 election. (This version is courtesy of Robert J. Vanderbei.) Rather than coloring each county red or blue, it shades them based on how strongly they voted for Bush or Kerry. The result is a soothing purple meant to show that America isn’t really as divided as everyone thinks.

I’m not so sure. By using bright red only for 100% Bush counties and bright blue only for 100% Kerry counties, I think it artificially squeezes the vast majority of counties into a purpleness that doesn’t really represent their political natures very well. From my point of view, any county that votes more than 70% for either candidate is pretty much a monoculture, and their coloring should reflect that.

So here’s what I’d like to see: a map like this in which every county that voted 70% or more for one candidate or the other is colored solid red or blue, and the rest are spread along a spectrum that goes from 30% to 70%. As a psychological portrait, I think it would be more accurate than what we’ve got now.

Does anyone know how to do this? If so, email it to me and I’ll post it.

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