Monday, August 25, 2008

On the web: Voting America

An interesting new web resource has been unveiled in time for the 2008 election season: Voting America: United States Politics, 1840-2008, created by scholars at the University of Richmond. Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, describes it this way:
Borrowing a technique from Hollywood, historians at the University of Richmond have created animated maps that chart voting patterns in U.S. presidential elections since 1840.

The maps show county-by-county data for every major election year in which data are available, and that information shifts over time. One map, for example, highlights counties where the victor won by only a small margin. It reveals how "battleground states" have changed over the years. The maps are displayed as video montages, with each election year shown sequentially....

Leaders of the project, called Voting America, have coined a term for their images: 'cinematic maps.' They are examples of an emerging trend in social-science research in which scholars turn complex data sets into pictures to help reveal patterns across time.

There is much more. Some maps include video commentary by scholars. Of interest to historians of voting and American politics. Hat tip, Ralph Luker.