A different look on election results. Patchwork Map of the U.S. explains how and why Obama won based on categorized locations. I find this map very useful to understand how diversified different states are in the U.S. As a politician you can even develop your own strategies based on this map. It’s clear that one obvious reason to win was Obama has all industrial metropolises. Read more about it on WNYC.
Blending of colors is the new hot topic in election maps visualization. I totally agree with Dietmar that purple, which is the natural result of blending blue and red is a challenging color. He offers a solution based on CMYK and looks like picking a neutral color for 50:50 situation is a reasonable solution. Cyan and Magenta have a good contrast to be distinguished however on the other hand they do not represent the iconic colors of democrats and republicans.
How to achieve a good color blending method for visualizations is a great topic to think and practice. I will post my version soon.
On the Issue of Color in Election Maps
Every election brings us a sweep of beautiful new approaches to visualizing its results. This season, Chris Howard’s alpha-blending approach was my favorite - a subtle way of showing population density in relation to the outcome, especially in comparison to the heavy visual rhetoric of distortion cartograms.
It suffers, however, from an issue that I notice with almost all election maps: the official parties colors mix into a purple, undistinguisable mess, when mixed in the proportion of the outcome.
I would propose tweaking these colors just a bit so they become complementary and mix to grey, if the vote is 50:50. One way to do this is using a CMYK color scheme using 100% Y and 100% M for the Republican Party, and 100% C for the Democrats. I tried it out in the quick test below (imgur for full size):