This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Demographics of the Electoral College

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog in the New York Times, created originally for the 2008 presidential election campaign, helped to bring public exposure to the number of electoral votes needed to become President. The history behind the electoral college is nicely explained on the website of the Federal Election Commission, with the number of electoral votes accorded each state being the sum of that state's number of senators (always two) and the number of members of the House of Representatives (always at least one). So, each state has a minimum of three Electoral College votes, but the rest are distributed according to the number of seats in the House, which are based on the results from each decennial census. Thus, every ten years there is a shift in the Electoral College votes among the states in line with the shifting of House seats, as happened after the 2010 census

So, the map of the US by electoral votes per state is obviously similar to the map of the states by population size, and Slate has put together a very nice cartogram showing how the US would look from this perspective, based on the Electoral College votes received by President Obama and Governor Romney.

And, speaking of maps, Justin Stoler of the University of Miami sent me a very interesting map of party affiliation by county in Florida, where you can readily envision the power of education in helping to decide an election.



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