Some comical conservative misunderstandings over the population density of Virginia counties have yielded a positive result: a new spate of attention to cartograms, a type of map which, by deliberately deforming geographic features, can more accurately show the relative populations of each component jurisdiction. Analyst Mark Newman has produced some well-known examples for recent presidential elections, which combat the distorting effect of sparsely populated states that, at a glance, show a sea of red every four years.
Cartographers have now also created such maps for the recently concluded Virginia gubernatorial election, which help illustrate the growing influence of the state's blue-trending northern reaches and explain why Democrat Terry McAuliffe was able to keep Republican Ken Cuccinelli at bay. Here, for instance, is a very helpful cartogram from University of Mary Washington professors Stephen Farnsworth and Stephen Hanna:
Meanwhile, Larry Sabato and company took a somewhat different approach, but ultimately, their cartogram shows the same things as UMW's: