Election Results Graph

Orange Country provides timely online election results, and their HTML is friendly enough that is can be imported into JMP. Below is a graph I came up to show the Chapel Hill town council results by precinct. Precincts, along the horizontal axis, are sorted by number of total votes. [Click graph to see full resolution version.]

Chapel Hill 2005 Election Results by Precinct

I’m thinking there’s a better graph using area, but this overlay is the best I can do easily. At least it shows a few interesting pieces of information:

  • In general, not much variation among precincts.
  • A few significant-looking exceptions to the general case: Cutson in Cedar Falls, Easthom in Patterson, Thorpe in Northside and Lincoln, Baker in Absentee, Harrison in Durham.
  • Absentee was by far the largest “precinct”. [Sorry for chopping off the top of the graph, but otherwise there’s too much unused space in the graph; Easthom and Kleinschmidt got over 500 there.]
  • There is a significant difference in votes per precinct. Is it worth campaigning in Battle Creek and Country Club?

Looking at the voter turn out statistics, it’s clear the main factor in the votes per precinct is just that some precincts have more registered voters than others (I don’t know how registered voters correlates to population, though). However, there are exceptions. The smallest (in registered voters, that is) precinct, Weaver Dairy Sat. (is that Carol Woods?) had the fifth highest voter turn out with over 68% voting. And two of the largest precincts, Battle Creek and Country Club (are those UNC?), brought up the rear, due to a measly 2.4% turn out. So the graph doesn’t tell enough of the story there; those precincts are worth campaigning in if one can increase the voter turn out.

8 thoughts on “Election Results Graph

  1. Excellent graph Xan.

    Weaver Dairy Sat. is Carol Woods and they have a tradition of high turnout.
    Patterson is Laurin’s home district (and has Larkspur community in it).
    Durham is Harrison’s district.
    Thorpe’s crew pushed for turnout in Northside – a traditionally black neighborhood.
    Absentee includes “Early Voting” which was on-campus at Morehead Planetarium.
    Battle Creek includes students and the Gimghoul neighborhood (which turned out last time because of the chiller plant – this time ???).
    Country Club is heavily students.

    The students did not turnout this time (or as many folk point out, most anytime 😉 )

  2. Thanks, Ruby. Use the chart as you wish. I squeezed the width a little for my blog, but if you show it in its natural size it will look better.

  3. Xan, I have done some interesting graphs before in which each column represents a precinct and the width of the column is proportional to the size of turnout there. The each colum is broken into cells for each candidate with the length of the cell in each column reflecting the candidate’s proportion of the votes cast in that precinct. It makes for a very good way to graphically illustrate what happened. Unfortunately I ahven’t figured out a good computer tool for doing this.

  4. Mark, that sounds like the kind of graph I was aiming for, too. Makes more efficient use of space, but the downside is that it’s not so clear what the finishing positions were within precinct (though maybe sorting the cells by finishing position would solve that without too much checkerboarding).

  5. Yes, sorting the cells by order of finish is how i did it. It can make for a difficult to read graph at first, but eventually it is revealing.

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