"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Reslicing the pie


Shift the focus just a little bit, and the picture can look a good deal different.

This yellow-green map is from the Washington Secretary of State’s office showing the results in last year’s contest over Initiative 1100, which was aimed at privatizing more of the liquor sales in the state, which is now run through a state store system. It shows four counties out of 39 favoring the measure (passing in the green, failing in the yellow), which statewide failed 46.57% to 53.43%.

Now look at this one, recently posted on the Sound Politics blog (source prior to that unknown).


Here, the I-1100 vote is shown by legislative district (passing green, failing red, higher positives or negatives noted by darker colors). The same general geographic picture turns up, to a point – the passes are located mostly near the Puget Sound – but both the broader picture and the subtleties emerge more clearly. The east-of-Cascades vote in this one looks powerfully negative, while the Puget area vote looks more split. The vote was fairly close in King County (where it narrowly lost), but here the urbanites tended to side with the eastern rurals, while many of the more suburban and exurban areas went for privatization.

Thereby blasting a lot of stereotypes. These are maps to ponder.

UPDATE Stefan Sharkansky, the blogger who developed and posted the maps at Sound Politics, wrote us to describe how he arrived at them:

“To answer your implied question about the source — I explained in a comment to my post that I created the maps myself by combining state data and loading it into Google Earth, specifically: I took the district-level election returns from the Secretary of State (http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/en/PreviousElections/2010/general/Data/Pages/default.aspx) District maps in KML from the Legislature’s GIS server (http://maps.leg.wa.gov/ArcGIS/rest/services/LegDistricts/MapServer/generatekml). I wrote a script to create the final KML from the source based on voting results and loaded it into Google Earth.”

Good work.

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