A Map of Afghanistan's Election

By: Inoljt, http://thepolitikalblog.wordpress.com/

The New York Times posted a very interesting map of Afghanistan's recent election.

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Before continuing, I must note that my purpose is not to question whether irregularities or fraud might have denied Abdullah Abdullah victory; I am simply analyzing the data as it appears.

There's a lot of data here, and interpreting it is fairly difficult; few people know much about Afghan politics and demographics. This map indicates the margins each candidate won. Kabul is the big red circle. In total, Karzai won 55% of the vote, essentially doubling the vote of the second-closest candidate.

Compared to a similar maps of U.S. elections, several things stand out. The first is the extent to which polarization is apparent. Afghani society is very clan-based, and elections can reveal polarization like nothing else.

At the point most politicians win an election by more than 20%, maps like the one above tend to consist of something like below:

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This is Barack Obama's 24.03% landslide in California. Compare it to Karzai's 27% victory: one might be forgiven for concluding that out of the two elections, Karzai did worse.

(Many) more maps below the fold.

There's more...

This Healthcare Map is the Best You Can Do, Republicans?

By now I'm sure many of you have seen this map that the Republicans are shopping around:

Has anyone bothered to read it?  Because it actually isn't a very good argument against healthcare at all.  While this shows many of the inner agencies that may or may not play some role in healthcare reform / oversight, in terms of the doctor patient relationship, there's only 2 things between you and your doctor: A new health insurance exchange that includes a public option, and your traditional health insurance plan.

So in reality, while confusing, this map is just telling us what we already know: That the plan will add an insurance exchange to better help you decide what plan is right for you, including a public option.

And that's the best defense they have? Look at all these other ancillary agencies we can add to confuse you?

There's more...

States vs. National

Forget about national polls for a second (even though it is a great concern). My feelings is that Obama will have a hard time winning the electoral college even if he had the lead.

Looking at the states:

FL is almost out of play. McCain was never behind in state polls for FL before the conventions. After the convention bounce, it doesn't seem likely Obama is going to win there.

OH is still possible, but has become a lot harder. Before the conventions, McCain had a slight lead (1-2%). The electorate there is a lot more socially conservative than most people think. The whole "bitter comment" thing hurts Obama in OH as well as PA. These are the people who literally are hurt very badly in the economy and cling to guns, religions, and anti-immigrant sentiments. Like one OH voter said on CNN, Obama just doesn't seem like a "real American" to him. I don't think PA is going to turn red, though.

VA has the best chance as a pick up for Obama. But it is traditionally a red state. McCain and Obama were actually tied before the conventions. I am very interested to see what will happen post-conventions.

Honestly, 60 days is still a long way to go. But if you really look at states by states, Obama has his work cut out for him.

There's more...

Another call for transparency

How can we have reasonable discussion if there isn't basic transparency in the information presented here?

Item 1:

A few weeks ago I called for transparency for the data in compiling electoral vote maps.  

The diary was on the recommended list for more than 24 hours and 93% voted in favor of more information regarding which polls were used, their sample sizes, margins of error, etc.
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/14/1450 42/287

The response from those who keep the maps was that a) They did it that way four years ago and b) The maps are helpful because you can click on them and change who gets what states.  

But:
 a) The internet has changed a lot in the last four years and what was new then is old technology now. While I used to recommend this site to the college students I teach and my friends and colleagues because of the information provided this not my choice for that purpose now. There are, simply put, better sites, for up to date, accurate and transparent information.  Of course that doesn't have to be the case. This site could be as good as the others.
  b) There's no technical reason that I know of as to why the maps can't both be used to show how the overall electoral votes would shift and allow for transparency regarding the data used to support them.

Item 2:

The graph now front-paged which purports to show that Clinton had more votes per pledged delegates than Obama. Besides certain problems posters have pointed out (such as the ridiculous use of a compressed range, an issue I learned about 30 years ago in an Intro Psych class, via the text How to Lie With Statistics and the issue relating to caucus states, etc.), there is no information presented about what vote totals were included.  The lack of transparency presents a problem for discussing in an intellectually honest way.  

There's more...

Candidate - "Where am I today"

I have been tracking candidate locations with an online map, kinda of nice to see (literally) who is where on a given day.  I'm now trying to tie in polls to see how they change after a stump speech; and also to see local news coverage rather than national supposition (spin is .. ah ... great but what the locals are talking about is real!).

http://www.mapbuzz.com/viewer/1760

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