Mark Newman of the University of Michigan has produced a map of the presidential election in which each county is colored red or blue depending on who won it.
It is pretty striking how many counties Romney won. It is also striking that Obama got 2.5 million more votes than Romney. If the blue counties are as blue as the red counties are red, that means that more people live in the small number of blue counties than in all the red ones combined. In other words, while there aren’t many blue counties, that’s where most of the people live. To give an example of this disparity, 3.8 million people live in the 469 square miles of the city of Los Angeles. This is half a million more people than the combined populations of Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, which together cover 1.6 million square miles. These four states are 3,400 times larger than Los Angeles but have appreciably fewer people. In other words, while the land area of the red counties is vastly greater than that of the blue counties, there are hardly any people living in many of them.
The map clearly shows Obama’s strengths: the Northeast, the upper Midwest, the West Coast, and the Colorado-New Mexico axis. There is also some strength in the South. In Southern Florida, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties are full of New York transplants who are strong Democrats. There is also a blue band that curves down from North Carolina. These care counties with large black populations.