Precinct-level map of 2020 election results

NYT’s The Upshot published their precinct-level map of 2020 election results. Zoom in to your geographic area and bask in or scratch your head over the detailed variation.

This seems be a recurring view now, with their “extremely detailed map” making an appearance after the 2016 and 2018 election. They also had their “most detailed maps” in 2014.

However, this year, The Upshot made their precinct-level data available on GitHub, so you can look closer if you like.

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All of the insults

For NYT’s The Upshot, Kevin Quealy has been cataloging all of the insults Trump tweeted over the past five years. The project is complete:

As a political figure, Donald J. Trump used Twitter to praise, to cajole, to entertain, to lobby, to establish his version of events — and, perhaps most notably, to amplify his scorn. This list documents the verbal attacks Mr. Trump posted on Twitter, from when he declared his candidacy in June 2015 to Jan. 8, when Twitter permanently barred him.

48,000 words.

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Map of the voting in Georgia, the runoff vs. the general election

For NYT’s The Upshot, Nate Cohn explains how Warnock and Ossoff won Georgia. The accompanying map by Charlie Smart provides a clear picture of swooping arrows that show the shifts from the general election to the runoff.

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What states are doing to make mail-in ballots clearer

Mail-in ballots can be rejected if they’re not filled out or mailed correctly. A small percentage of them always are. This year, when we’re talking millions of mail-in ballots, even a small percentage means a lot of tossed ballots. For NYT’s The Upshot, Larry Buchanan and Alicia Parlapiano show how some states modified the design of their ballots to reduce the rejections.

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Tracking the mail

With mail-in ballots looking to be more common than ever this year, NYT’s The Upshot is tracking the mail:

The data here, covering more than 28 million pieces of first-class letters tracked by SnailWorks, shows how on-time delivery declined noticeably in July after the arrival of Louis DeJoy, the Trump-aligned postmaster general, and the start of policies to trim transportation costs. That drop in national performance was more abrupt than during the chaotic period when the coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the country.

“We had a wave of our members, hundreds and hundreds of locals, telling us there were service problems a month ago,” said Jim Sauber, the chief of staff for the National Association for Letter Carriers.


I wonder what the distributions for each time frame looks like. Even during non-pandemic times, it looks like a quarter of the mail is counted as late. And it’s at least a little bit comforting that we’re talking in units of days late rather than weeks or months.

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Vote-by-mail volume compared against years past

The volume of mail-in ballots will likely be higher than usual this year, but relative to the Postal Service’s usual volumes from years past, the bump doesn’t seem unfathomable. The chart above, which shows average weekly volume over the years, from Quoctrung Bui and Margot Sanger-Katz for NYT’s The Upshot, shows the scale.

Of course, if certain administrations continue to hamper USPS operations, that’s a different story.

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Distribution of unemployment at the tract level

We’ve been hearing a lot about national unemployment rate, but it’s not uniformly distributed across the country. Some areas are a lot higher, some places are a lot lower, and there are places in between. To see the variation across the United States, Yair Ghitza and Mark Steitz estimated unemployment at the tract level.

Quoctrung Bui and Emily Badger for NYT’s The Upshot have the maps and histograms zooming in on places where unemployment is the highest.

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Where people are wearing masks

NYT’s The Upshot ran a survey through the data firm Dynata asking people how often they wear a mask in public. The Upshot then mapped the likelihood that a random group of five people are all wearing masks:

These variations reflect differences in disease risk and politics, but they also may reflect some local idiosyncrasies. Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, an assistant professor of communications at Michigan State University, said mask behavior can be subject to a kind of peer pressure: If most everyone is wearing one, reluctant people may go along. If few people are, that can influence behavior, too. Such dynamics can shape the behavior of friends, neighbors and communities.

As you might guess, it looks similar to the map of where people were staying at home.

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Flow of prison population

In a collaboration between The Marshall Project and The Upshot, Anna Flagg and Joseph Neff look at the flow in and out of jails and what that means during these times of social distancing:

Preventing the spread of the virus in jails is challenging. Social distancing is crucial, but it’s virtually impossible in dormitories with rows of beds in a common room. The same is true of two people in a single cell, or group showers or bathrooms that serve dozens. All these dangers escalate when jails are overcrowded, filthy or understaffed.

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Hospital bed occupancy

Using estimates from the Harvard Global Health Institute, The Upshot mapped what hospital bed occupancy might look like across the country if we don’t make changes now:

“If we don’t make substantial changes, both in spreading the disease over time and expanding capacity, we’re going to run out of hospital beds,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, which produced the estimates. “And in that instance, we will not be able to take care of critically ill people, and people will die.”

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