Mapping the US midterm elections

Two years after Obama has been elected president, another political change has come to the United States in this year’s midterm elections. Politically most significant will be the changed balance of power in the House of Representatives, which has now a majority for the Republican party (winning 240 of the seats, compared to 186 going to the Democrats, and 9 undeclared at the time of writing). Unlike the seats in the US Senate (with still a small majority for the Democrats), the share of seats in the Congress reflects roughly a quite equal population. The congressional districts, which are the decisive constituencies for the House of Representatives, are thus reflecting a general image of the political mood in the US (while the Senate is composed of two Senators for each State, regardless of the population).
Therefore it makes sense to create a different map of the election results for the House of Representatives in order to show a population-centric view of this year’s midterm. The following map uses a gridded population projection and maps the election results onto it, so that it shows the proportional population share of the results in its true dimension: Each person on the following map has the same space, so it reflects the number of people represented by each member of congress. To see where changes took place, different shadings of red/blue have been used in addition. The map uses the same colour key as the election maps on the Guardian website – their map allows you to identify any of the States and gives further details on the results for each electoral district.
This is how the results from the election to the House of Representatives in the 2010 Midterm elections of the United States look like on a population projection (a geographical view with a conventional map is included as an inset to allow comparison with the more commonly used maps):

Map of the 2010 US midterm election results for the House of Representatives
(click for larger version)

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General Election 2010: The swings that did matter

We have seen and heard a lot about the election outcome, not only on this website (here, here, here, here and here), but one more map: The following hexagon map (see here for a comparison of the different map types we are using) shows the changes that have actually taken place in the constituencies. The colour scheme indicates where seats have changes between the parties, and where they remained the same. For a clearer picture, the national parties in Scotland (SNP) and Waled (PC) have been put together under one colour.
This map is also available as a kmz file for GoogleEarth and other compatible software, which allows to zoom in and identify constituencies (a geographical version of the map is also included in the file).
GoogleEarth kmz file Click here to download the kmz file (15MB)

General Election 2010: Hexagon map of the results and changes in seats
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General Election 2010: Different views

The following three map show different ways of mapping the British election results in comparison. The left map uses a traditional projection (using the British National Grid), which represents the geographical area and thus overemphasises the vote of rural areas (making blue much more dominant than the real results are). The map in the middle uses hexagons to represent the constituencies, so that this map distorts land area in favor of a representation of seats in the British Parliament. This kind of visualisation has recently become very popular in the media and is now a common feature on most online election maps (like the BBC one). The right map shows the election results on the gridded population cartogram, which has been shown in more detail on this website before. Here the projection puts the population distribution in focus, so that this reflects best how many people are represented by a certain party. The overall picture is more similar to the constituency-based map than the land area map, however, is still shows some differences as constituencies are not exactly the same population size (for administrative reasons, but not least also because not all people in an area are entitled to vote). Each of the maps is useful for itself depending on what you want to know about the election outcome, as all three are telling a very different story of it.

Mapping the General Election 2010 in Great Britain(click for larger view)

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin Hennig. Please contact me for further details on the terms of use.

A people’s vote

Another map of the British election results: This time we mapped all winning parties in relation to the population distribution. Like in the previous maps (Here: 1, 2, 3), we used the gridded population cartogram as a basemap, because unlike conventional maps (showing land area) or the increasingly used constituency maps (showing one shape per constituency), this maps resizes the results related to the population distribution. It shows, how many people are represented by the winning party, and each grid cell refers to the same geographical extent. The smaller a grid cell, the fewer people are living there, so that rural areas are those were many lines are close together, whereas conurbations literally bulge out of the map. For better identification, some places are labeled, so that the geographical reference is easier to make (see the second version below for more detail). So here is the true picture of the people’s vote in Britain:
A true map of the British General Election results 2010: The people's vote

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin Hennig. Please contact me for further details on the terms of use.

2005-2010: Change?

Now that you know the results of the general election, and also had a look back at earlier elections, see here what has really changed: This is a short animation shows the British general election results in relation to the population distribution from 2005 transforming into the 2010 results and back in a loop:

Changing election landscape in Britain 2005-2010
(click to view larger version)

If the animation doesn’t start straight away, give it a few seconds or minutes to load completely. It has 7 MB in size and may take a while depending on the speed of your internet connection.

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin Hennig. Please contact me for further details on the terms of use.

British General Election Results 2010

Decision day is gone – and no decision on the future administration yet. The British General Election will be keeping us (and the politicians) busy for a while, so there is plenty of time for an analysis of the election results. This map shows the winning parties in all constituencies (the results from Thirsk & Malton where added on May, 27) mapped on the gridded population cartogram of Great Britain.

Winners of the British General Election 2010 mapped on a gridded population cartogram(click map for larger view)

Technical notes: This cartogram reflects the real population distribution in Great Britain and thus the total number of people living in an area. Each grid cell thus represents the same physical area, but is resized according to the number of people living in this area. We used the British National Grid as a reference projection. More gridded cartograms and further information on the techniques that we used to create these maps can be found on the worldmapper website at

The content on this page has been created by Benjamin Hennig. Please contact me for further details on the terms of use.