What Would It Take To Turn Blue/Red States Red/Blue?

Over the course of the last two years, I have become much more interested in politics, particularly the election strategy process. For example, there are so many small ways candidates/parties can influence outcomes by targeting their messaging by demographic, or working to increase/decrease voter turnout in certain regions. In learning more about political issues and this process, I’ve turned to fivethirtyeight, as they often have amazing interactive graphics and aggregate data from many different resources in their models, but target an audience with some education about data analysis.

This interactive visualization allows users to adjust voter turnout percentages and political leanings by demographic, and shows the resultant electoral college map, based off of 2012 election data scaled for population changes. When I came across this graphic a few days ago, I thought it was the perfect tool to test my assumptions about certain demographics. I did this with my thoughts on my home state of Michigan, which usually goes blue, but went red in this election. I decreased black voter turnout a bit, and increased the republican leaning and voter turnout for non-college-educated whites, the two factors which are being most attributed to Trump’s winning of Michigan’s electoral votes. This was just enough to flip Michigan to red, and flipped Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well, both key states that went red in this election.

This interactive is probably most targeted towards people with a good grasp of the electoral college and specific hypotheses they want to test regarding this past election. It does provide a clean interface for learning about the demographics, both in this aggregate method and on a state-by-state basis further down the page. However, I think it would be more effective with some more demographic factors such as age range. The interactive was also published in October before this election outcome, so having a revised section post-election with the updated data on these percentages of voter turnout would create more relevance and make it more accessible to a wider audience.