Saturday, March 13, 2010

Google Insights: blue states and red states

Someone somewhere, about a decade or so ago, got the idea to use the colours blue for the Democratic Party and red for the Republican Party (the opposite of conventional wisdom). Someone else got the idea, during election coverage, to use this colour scheme to colour states on maps. Someone else got the idea to refer to the states coloured red as 'red states' and those coloured blue as... well, perhaps you've guessed. As a result, Massachusetts (senatorial elections notwithstanding) is a so-called 'blue state' and Alabama a so-called 'red state'.

So how red and blue are they really? Well, I searched for those terms: 'blue state' and 'red state' to see who was Googling them. Confusion reigns:

The two maps aren't really all that different from each other (which actually makes sense). Maine and Massachusetts Google 'red states' the most, which could be interpreted as espionage, whereas West Virginia and DC Google 'blue states' most. In this case, it's a bit more curious: West Virginia (#3 for 'red states' as well) seems to take its status as a transitional state seriously, Googling both sides. DC, on the other hand, is as blue as they come - even if it's not a state per se.

Here's the trends over time. Notice, logically, how similar the two are. When people are Googling one, they're Googling the other.

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