Monthly Archives: January 2004

Atlas on CD


I’ve had the suggestion of a CD (compact disk) version of the Atlas on the store page for some time. Today, it is finally available! The Atlas CD version is the html version of the site with all the national maps from 1789 through 2000, the state county maps from 1960 through 2000, county-level data table from 1960-2000, CD maps for 2000, etc. The CD also includes the Certificate of Ascertainment and Certificate of Vote for each state in 2000 (from the National Archives and Records Administration). Bonus features on the disk include super larger versions of the national county maps (1960 through 2000) in Mercator Projection (2511 x 1350 pixels) and also national county maps in Lambert Conical Projection (1440 x 890 pixels). The CD may be purchased through the Cafe Press store. The cover artwork is courtesy of my good friend, Sean Moyer, over at The Chrome Cow. He is quite an accomplished computer artist.

Site Membership

Check out the new homepage! In addition, I have enabled the new site membership feature. I have been working this last year on creating a very detailed, versatile, database-driven site to provide even more information with greater flexibility. See the members information page for details on exactly what new data and features are available. I am asking for financial help to cover the increasing cost of bandwidth usage (some of the new features significantly increase bandwidth requirements when viewing site pages). The financial help is in the form of membership dues in exchange for access to these features. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pay, there is also the option to become a contributing member – where access is granted in exchange for donating (in some form such as data or code) to the site. Note that I am not removing any of the currently-available features. These will remain freely accessible to everyone. Enjoy!

Iowa Caucus Maps Posted

I have finally compiled and uploaded the county and congressional district results for the 2004 Iowa Caucus. Kerry is purple, Edwards is red, and Dean is green (with shades of each color representing the strength of the popular-vote win (in decades). The results are from the percentage listings at the Des Moines Register (It looks like the CNN data at the county level are wrong). Kerry and Edwards split the counties almost evenly with Kerry winning in three of the five congressional districts. Dean wins two counties – including Jefferson, the home of the University of Management (formerly Maharishi International University). This is the home county of John Hagelin of the Natural Law party, where he received 16% in 2000. There are several ties, noted by the striped shading – including a three-way tie between Dean, Edwards, and Kerry in Fremont County (located in the lower-left corner).

Primary Votes

For those of you who vote strategically (i.e. – if your first-choice candidate “can’t win”, then instead of voting for your first-choice candidate, you instead vote for a less-choice candidate that may have a greater chance of winning.) Note that this type of strategy is only beneficial in a winner-take-all situation. Such rules may be applicable in the November election (although I personally discourage this practice), since most states (NE, ME excepted) allocate their electoral votes based on the state-wide popular-vote winner.

However, in the primaries, most delegates are awarded proportionally – and often by Congressional District. For example, in tomorrow’s New Hampshire Primary, there are seven delegates awarded proportionally to the candidates in each of New Hampshire’s two congressional districts. An additional eight delegates are awarded proportionally to the candidates based on the state-wide primary vote totals. A minimum of only 15% is required to receive delegates. So, a candidate receiving 23% state-wide and in each congressional district would receive five delegates out of 22 total. You should think of the primaries, not like the general election, but more like the Tour-de-France. A contestant need not win any states to obtain the nomination.

Major Site Update

I have performed a major site update today. Most of the old html files have been replaced by a database-driven set of scripts. Overall, this provides a signficant enhancement to the content, allowing for greater viewing choices and more flexibility (see, for example, the ability to sort state-level data according to margin of victory, vote percentages, etc.). Additional features also appear – such as home state maps. Also note that some of the vote totals have changed slightly. This is due to continuing research and adjustments to individual state and/or county totals. Such changes entered into the database now cascade through the entire site seamlessly (as opposed to the old method of updating every individual html page in which that piece of data was incorporated). If you discover any problems (broken links, strange appearance, etc.) please consider entering a bug in the new bug tracking database.

Iowa Caucus 2004

The (almost complete) results of the Iowa Caucus are available in the 2004 Primary pull-down option of the Election Results section. The county-level map is not yet finished (I’m having difficulty finding complete and accurate results – the Iowa Secretary of State does not run the event – If you have a site suggestion, please leave a comment.)

The race dynamics shown in the pre-caucus polls proved accurate in the rising support for the campaigns of John Kerry and John Edwards. It appears that the negative campaigning took its toll.

Also, any visitors that attended the Iowa Caucus and would like to share their experience, please let me know. I’d like to highlight the event (in a weblog entry) from the perspective of a participant.

A Diversion from Politics

Only two days before the Iowa Caucus, instead of keeping my eyes glued to CNN or the computer screen, I found myself hiking in the wilderness of Southern California! A magnificent place – just to the south of Palm Springs is Mount San Jacinto Wilderness State Park. An airial tramway (with quite a large gondola) whisks passengers up about a 2 mile cable to the mountain station, some 8,500 feet above sea level. Here is a beautiful high forest with large pines – and about 2 inches of snow with a temperature of 39F (and to think I go hiking in the snow in California after leaving the icebox in Boston!).

I didn’t stay in the “cold” long, and soon I was back in the desert below for a quick lunch in Palm Springs. Next was a visit to Joshua Tree National Park. The park is another national treasure, a beautiful desert landscape filled with, yep, Joshua Trees – essentially a rather large Yucca plant. The landscape was filled with huge rounded boulders of granite, flat plains, and mountains. One small hike was through the “hidden valley”, a lowland area surrounded on all sides by rocky uplift (with spires) – it was blasted into in the early part of the 20th century in order to allow cattle to access some vegetation to feed on. Overall, a very enjoyable outing.

DC Primary

The District of Columbia held its presidential “primary” yesterday. However, the event was nothing more than a political “beauty contest”, and not a very comprehensive one at that. Only four of the leading nine candidates were on the ballot (Howard Dean Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun, and Al Sharpton). The remaining candidates did not participate (pressure was applied from the national Democratic party because the DC primary date violates party rules). No delegates were awarded from the results of the primary.

The preliminary results of the DC primary (from the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics) show a very-low turnout of 16.3% (42,318 cast ballots out of 259,322 registered Democrats). Howard Dean captured the most votes, 17,584 (42.8%) followed by Al Sharpton with 14,090 (34.3%), Carol Moseley-Braun with 4,776 (11.6%), Dennis Kucinich with 3,408 (8.3%), and perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche Jr. with 498 (1.2%). Other candidates garnered about 1.8%.

Its 2004!

I’m back from a bit of vacation. Hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays. Its now only 15 days until the Iowa Caucus and the kick-off of the 2004 Presidential Contest. The site will, of course, be following each of the primary and caucus contests and present results. The site was also just upgraded to a higher-bandwidth server (I bought more bandwidth to accomodate the anticipated increase in traffic).
On a slightly different note, I was very entertained by the creation, on the atlas forum, of a forum fantasy election. Quite a fun idea, with some fine posts and intelligent wit. I have moved all of these topics to their own section (appropriately named, Atlas Fantasy Elections).