The Real Toronto Election Map
Note: this post is about the Toronto Municipal election that Rob Ford won. But you know, you can apply the feeling here to more recent elections, sigh.
I’ve been very frustrated with the media’s story that the Toronto election was a landslide and that it was all downtown vs uptown. Ford won fair and square but keep in mind that more than half the city didn’t vote for him (he got 47% of the city vote). Now the new story is based on a silly map of red and blue wards showing which candidate won the most votes in each ward. This shows a very divided city. But its completely misleading since some wards were very close, some had a third voting for someone else and even the strong core wards of each candidate still had 20-30% for someone else. That’s a lot of voters being swept under the rug.
So I made my own map, two actually.
I used the election open data from the city of Toronto to colour each ward. Each ward has both blue and red intensity relative to what percentage of the ward voted for Ford or Smitherman. So if they are almost even as in ward 26 its a mild purple. Etobicoke is quite blue with 65% to 79% (ward 2) support for Ford and downtown is fairly red with some wards showing 61% (ward 27) support for Smitherman. So you can clearly see the lack of excitement for Smitherman’s campaign that everyone is commenting on and this is why he lost. You can also see that the downtown vs suburbs effect is real but is not nearly as strong as the media tries to say it is; it’s a gradual scale and Smitherman lost more because he didn’t have as many strongholds rather than that no one in the outer city voted for him.
The second map also overlays the “Other” vote, Pantalone plus anyone else, with yellow lines. The lines don’t mean anything but their brightness shows you how much of that ward voted for someone other than the two contenders. They range from about 8% (ward 2) to 33% (ward 18) of the ward.
When will the media stop pandering to us and give us the full context rather than always trying to simplify things down to get at some particular framing of the story like “Downtown vs Suburbs”. The world is never that simple. That is all.
The raw image file with layers is available here to anyone if you want to make it prettier or add other data, its in Gimp format, which is like an open source version of Photoshop.
Pass them around on twitpic:
Update: Thanks everyone for the feedback on the maps! Here’s some extra info
- spreadsheet – this is the mayoral results spreadsheet from the Toronto Open Data site but with some summary calculations worked out on the Ward 1 sheet. Each ward’s summary for votes for each of four categories.
- photoshop image file – this is my gimp program saving its native xcf file format to photoshop psd. If that doesn’t work for you let me know in the comments, I’ll try something else
- why you might not want to bother – Patrick Cain has made some fantastic, zoomable scrollable maps of the Toronto votes data that make all this photoshop fiddling look pretty basic. So you should go over there first and see if he’s showing the data you want to surface.