And now for something completely different, the Boston Globe's "What If" map for the U.S. Presidential election is perhaps my new winner in allowing the individual the most options in considering the outcome of the race. Using a variety of demographic variables including race, religion, and ethnicity, the user adjusts the percentage of the total turnout of these groups and to which candidate they would favor. Using a graph of turnout on the Y-axis and candidate "leaning" on the X-axis, the user moves the controls to assign their predictions. You can leave out any of these demographic factors or use all of them. You can default to the results of the 2004 election or in the case of ethnicity, use the exit polling numbers from 2006. There is basis for the graphs in the 2000 Census. The Globe has a succinct explanation of how the controls were create.
So, try it and see if you can guess how the percentage of the Catholic vote would affect the election. What percentage of the black vote does Obama need to obtain in order to truly swing the election. Will women turn to McCain because Palin is on the ticket? It is truly fascinating to see just how little the vote can swing based on demographic leanings. It's a great way to understand what the history is of each group and the impact each can have on the election. You can deduce why candidates focus a specific message on one group or another and perhaps why you would identify with a certain candidate based in your personal background. Kudos to the Globe.