Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Shades of red, shades of blue: mapping midterm election ratings


(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

With the midterm elections in the U.S. just six weeks away, everyone is wondering how the balance of power between Republicans and Democrats will shake out after November 2. Although more than 500 seats will be decided in House, Senate, and Governor races, the current tallies are so close that individual races are receiving great scrutiny: you’ll find several sources providing estimations for how each race is leaning.

To make tracking the blues and reds a little easier for armchair pundits, we’ve partnered with some of the most respected names in politics—Cook, Rothenberg, CQ-Roll Call and RealClearPolitics—to put their ratings in the same place and on the same map. You can find it at maps.google.com/elections2010.

The map initially shows loads with states shaded according to one of the sources’ ratings of the Senate race; click the links on the left to switch to House or Governor races, or to switch sources. To compare the ratings head-to-head, click a given state or district, and you’ll see ratings from each source displayed. We refresh the data daily based on the latest ratings, so come back as the races develop. If you would like to put this map in your own website, you can embed it as a gadget and grab the code here.


This gadget is powered by the highly flexible yet simple-to-build-on Fusion Tables, which directly integrates into Google Maps API v3. Even if you’re not a programmer, there’s a lot that you can do with Fusion Tables to manipulate and visualize data, and in the spirit of the season, check out our new tutorial that demonstrates how to analyze Census data by congressional district and share what you’ve come up with.

Along with other initiatives, including the Election Center with our Public Sector team and You Choose at YouTube, this map gadget is an important way that we’re working to improve communication, discourse and understanding of the political process.

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