Silver anticipates impact of female voters through mapping and data visualization

In a recent article on his website, fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver used charts and maps to demonstrate what it says in the headline:  “Women Are Defeating Donald Trump

Silver utilized data from multiple polls to produce a chart which reveals a gender gap among voters.   As one of the charts indicates, every poll shows that democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holds a significant lead, among female voters, over Trump, the republican nominee.

The same chart shows that Trump is favored by a majority of male voters in 10 of the 13 polls utilized.  However, the data shows that Clinton’s lead among female voters is much more significant that Trump’s lead among male voters – thus, the headine:  “Women Are Defeating Donald Trump.”

Silver wrote, “on average, Clinton leads Trump by 15 percentage points among women while trailing him by 5 points among men.”

He illustrates the difference in the gender vote with two separate U.S. maps showing how the election would turn out if only women voted and if only men voted.

He explains in the text that, if only females voted, she would win all the states she is already favored to win, but also emerge victorious in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas.   In the map, the blue states vastly outnumber the red states and Clinton wins the electoral vote 458 to 80.

The second map paints a different picture, if only males were to vote.  Red states outnumber blue states and Trump wins the electoral college vote 350 to 188 – a gap not nearly as big as the difference among female voters.

Thus, Silver concludes, “it seems fair to say that, if Trump loses the election, it will be because women voted against him.”

I thought Silver’s illustrations and charts effectively showed how important the female vote will be in this election, especially considering that (at the time this article was written) the majority of voters from each gender favored different candidates.

Silver aptly applied the difference in each state to show how it would apply to the electoral vote, and was able to come to the conclusion stated in the headline.  He needed the following data:  results from multiple polls, the splits among female and male voters on a state-by-state basis, and the amount of electoral votes each state owns.

He was able to tell a story, or at least make an interesting point, that most people would not have realized were it not for his breakdown of the data, and his ability to illustrate that breakdown through charts and maps.


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