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View Diary: Political geography: What if Appalachia were its own state? (166 comments)

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  •  The census has the information online (12+ / 0-)

    though it's not the easiest to track down, the information exists and google eventually found it with every state displayed by county so it wasn't 300 units separately rather than a dozen. The most annoying thing with the populations is that for apportionment only, the census has certain federal agencies like the state department and military report back to the census about how many of their employees and their dependents are living abroad and then the census just assigns them by state. Redistricting and pretty much everything else ignores this and just focuses on residents at the time of the census. So I for the apportionment rounds that did this, starting with 1970 onward except for 1980, I had to take the state by state overseas population and estimate their county by county distribution. It's possible an electoral vote here or there got assigned that otherwise wouldn't have, but overall that error should be very small.

    For the political data that's also by county and I already had everything for every statewide partisan election ever that was contested between 2006 and the present by county, along with president going back to 2004. To get 1960-2000 I took the county level data from Dave Leip's atlas since many of those states don't have data going back that far on their state elections websites. Dreaminonempty linked to a reference book that was all of $6 on amazon that has the 1920-1956 county by county results for all the states and I'll probably get that as well and eventually enter in the numbers, but not anytime soon.

    If you're curious about looking at any of that data I uploaded the spreadsheet here. It has the state by state summary for the affected states and the new Appalachia, the presidential data for both sets going back to 1960, the census/reapportionment back to 1900, and the electoral college going back to 1960. Ridiculous fun fact, Appalachia would have had 42 congressional districts in the 1940s.

    •  West Virginia is the only (1+ / 0-)
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      state entirely present, so it still requires you to cut up states to get the data in one block (rather than adding up each county individually), something which I don't know how to do and was curious about. The same with how you added up the political calculations (excel)? The county data from Dave's is something you would have to copy down one at a time, 286 times for each race, and add up. Even copying that much data down to excel once is mindboggling to me, unless you are able to buy or procure that data already in excel form, and then easily make your calculations.

      Just looking at many of your diaries, I feel an anxiety attack building my chest as I estimate the sheer number of processes involved (yet wanted to do something similar), so I guess what I was curious about is that my estimates and my severely convoluted approximations of all the steps and calculations involved in a lot of these more ambitious projects are hopefully wrong and that there is a relatively streamlined or more simple process that I'm not seeing, which removes at least some of the repetition.

      "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

      by ArkDem14 on Tue Nov 19, 2013 at 11:24:35 PM PST

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      •  I used excel a lot to cut down on time (1+ / 0-)
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        As for copying things from Leip's Atlas you can copy an entire state's worth of counties at once and I just set up a formula to convert that clunky format to something more useful. Then all I had to do was assign the counties to a new state, sort, subtotal, and voila, got the data. It only took a few hours total for all of them. Tracking down the census data, figuring out which counties to include, and making the maps is what took a while.

        •  I'm going to have to (0+ / 0-)

          message you sometime for a step by step guide to solving some problems I have. Hah.

          "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

          by ArkDem14 on Wed Nov 20, 2013 at 10:26:32 AM PST

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