We Are All Purple: The Destructive Lie of Red States and Blue States — UPDATED 2012 MAPS

This article was originally published before the election using these 2008 maps. Click here to see the new 2012 maps.

Typical red-state-blue-state map of the same 2008 presidential election results
© 2008 M. E. J. Newman



Red-blue map of the 2008 presidential election where each county is shown with the shade of purple that represents its result.
© 2008 M. E. J. Newman



Red-blue map of the 2008 presidential election where each county is shown with the shade of purple that represents its result and a surface area that represents its population.
© 2008 M. E. J. Newman



If you find this all as interesting as I do, you can see the original article with more maps here.

This article was originally published before the election using these 2008 maps. Click here to see the 2012 maps.

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About Phil Fox Rose

Phil Fox Rose is a writer, editor and content lead based in New York. He is coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of New York, helping promote centering prayer, which has been his contemplative practice for nearly 20 years. Raised atheist by ex-Mormons, Phil has journeyed through Quakerism, deep ecology, Buddhism and Catholicism. Now he's a congregant, worship leader, cook and chair of the leadership team at St. Lydia's, an awesome dinner church in Brooklyn, NY, and spends as much time in nature as possible. Phil has been a political party leader, videographer, tech journalist, punk roadie, software designer, sheepherder, stockbroker and downtempo radio DJ. A common thread is the process of learning about stuff, figuring it out and then sharing that understanding with others. Follow Phil by RSS feed, email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

  • http://alsantedview.tumblr.com Simon Tam

    Just wondering – if a third party candidate (such as Gary Johnson, Libertarian) won a state, how would the media even represent that in terms of state colors? Have we gone so far in perpetuating these divisions that we wouldn’t even know how to handle that situation?

  • Phil Fox Rose

    Great question Simon. There hasn’t been a third party win of a state’s electoral college votes since 1832, and I don’t think they did color election maps back then, but we’ve had 3 independent (though not third-party) senators in recent years and this 2010 NY Times map shows two ways they dealt with it. In the case of the Alaskan write-in, they used green (even though she’s a Republican) while for Lieberman and Sanders, they just made them Democrats with the explanation that they caucus with the Democrats. I understand that as far as balance of power, that’s the important issue — who has control of the senate — but it’s certainly another way to diminish their relevance.

    • Drew Roynon

      Didn’t George Wallace win several deep south states in 1968 as the American Independent Candidate?

      • Phil Fox Rose

        Drew, you’re absolutely right! How could I have forgotten that. Here’s a map of it. They didn’t all use red and blue like they do now, but I found one that did.

  • Mike Green

    Interesting visuals. I wonder how each of these would look if the color were determined on a sliding scale that reflected the margin of victory. Clearly, the “ends” of the scale would not be 0/100, but somewhere closer to 35/65. Otherwise, every one would skew to the center.

    • Mike Green

      Silly me. After clicking through to the original source, I figured out that the final example did just that. Ooops.


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