Two Maps of the “Midterms”: Where the Republican Strongholds Are

Two cards to the “Midterms”
Where are the Republican strongholds?

The US midterm elections have not yet been decided: important results still await in the House of Representatives. Is the US Election Map Really Burning in Republican Red Almost Everywhere? shows the real majority in the United States.

In the US congressional elections, votes are still counted in several states. As became known over the weekend, the Democrats – the party of incumbent President Joe Biden – narrowly defended their majority in the Senate. The balance of power in the House of Representatives, on the other hand, is still open.

On Sunday evening, 20 of the 435 mandates had not yet been awarded. The reason for the delays includes special voting rules in individual states. The Republicans are just ahead in the House of Representatives. Most recently it was 211 to 204 for the party, which also includes former President Donald Trump. The majority threshold in the “House” is 218 seats. Opposition Republicans only needed nine additional seats, while Democrats needed 14.

Note: infographics are constantly updated.

Traditional American electoral map, constituencies by area:

Looking at the conventional election map (here: “map view”), some quirks in US electoral law can easily give the impression that the US population is overwhelmingly on the side of Republicans on this vote. Most of the area glows in Republican red.

However, the well-known geographical contours give a highly distorted picture: in elections for the House of Representatives, MPs are elected per constituency. To this end, the United States is divided into 435 congressional districts (“conventional districts”), measured roughly according to population size.

The result: This distribution creates large differences in size between the densely populated regions, for example on the east and west coasts, and the rural areas in the mid-west. Much of the United States is glowing red: the familiar contours of the traditional election map give the impression of strong Republican dominance.

Stylized US electoral map, one-size-fits-all constituencies:

It is usually only the sparsely populated rural areas where the Republicans are leading the way. This makes the party seem stronger than it actually is. The large population centers, where the Democrats won in many places, take up less space on the classic American map. This makes them appear small and almost insignificant.

The skewed impression can be corrected quickly: a glance at the stylized election map (here: “tile view”) shows the same data – only here the constituencies are shown in the same size as hexagonal tiles. Each constituency in this so-called “tilemap” is represented by a regular hexagon. This gives a much more balanced picture of the actual election results – the House of Representatives will not be dominated by Republicans in the future either. The majority are extremely tight.

In the midterm elections, halfway through President Biden’s four-year term, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate were up for election. 36 governorships and other important offices in the states were also occupied. The distribution of seats in Congress determines how much political leeway the incumbent president has for the remaining two years.

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