Illness as indicator

Local health outcomes predict Trumpward swings

…on November 15th Patrick Ruffini, a well-known pollster, offered a “challenge for data nerds” on Twitter: “Find the variable that can beat % of non-college whites in the electorate as a predictor of county swing to Trump.” With no shortage of nerds, The Economist has taken Mr Ruffini up on his challenge. Although we could not find a single factor whose explanatory power was greater than that of non-college whites, we did identify a group of them that did so collectively: an index of public-health statistics.

Read more on Economist.com

I intend to post the underlying code for this to Github in a few weeks.

A country divided by counties

America’s presidential election over time and space

As our map of America’s voting patterns on a county-by-county basis going back to 1952 makes clear, Mr Trump’s gains were concentrated in rural areas across the northern United States. Republicans have long held the edge in America’s wide-open spaces, but never has the gap been this profound: a whopping 80% of voters who have over one square mile (2.6 square km) of land to enjoy to themselves backed Mr Trump. As the scatter plot below demonstrates, as counties become increasingly densely populated, fewer and fewer vote Republican. American politics appear to be realigning along a cleavage between inward-looking countryfolk and urban globalists. Mr Trump hails from the latter group, but his message resounded with the former.

Read more and check out the interactive map on Economist.com

Defining realignment

The anger and fickleness of voters are forcing change. But in which direction?

BIG structural changes to political parties happen only once in a generation. Academics reckon that in 219 years America has seen just six different party systems, each attracting a distinct coalition of voters. Donald Trump’s idea of turning the Republican Party, long the ally of big business, into a “workers’ party” may yet force a seventh. To track the trend, The Economist has melted down the American electorate into their policy choices and priorities alone, freeing them from party labels to see what kind of winning policy platforms might emerge in future.

Read more on Economist.com