Introducing a Cool New Election Map A look at what's happening in our digital neighborhood, including NPR's new election map. Michael Olson clicks us through.
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Introducing a Cool New Election Map

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Introducing a Cool New Election Map

Introducing a Cool New Election Map

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

(Soundbite of music)


That music could only mean one thing, and that thing is that - you're not a thing. You're a person. What am I saying? NPR's Laura Conaway is here with an update on what's going on on the BPP site. Hi, Laura.

LAURA CONAWAY: How're you doing? I've been promoted from thing to person.

MARTIN: Yeah. I - yeah, I promote you to personhood.

CONAWAY: This is great. Thank you.

MARTIN: Like you needed me to do that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAWAY: Thank you. We're going to have a little check in on the Book Club later today. Sarah Goodyear has found some cool video clips that talk about what Anansi is. We're reading Neil Gaiman's "Anansi Boys."


CONAWAY: Apparently Anansi is this global phenomenon which I had no idea about.

MARTIN: No, me neither.

CONAWAY: It's a folk hero. So, anyway...

MARTIN: It's totally interesting, though.

CONAWAY: That's coming. Come check it out. I have opened a thread on the Texas polygamy case, which is one of those ones that makes you just want to kind of stand back and say, I don't know.


CONAWAY: I think I'm going to go ahead and open a thread coming out of that conversation you just had with Nancy Cook from the elections unit about what's going to happen with the Florida and Michigan delegates. You can - go ahead and whatever you think is going to happen, check out this new map that we have at I'm so glad to have this thing in our digital neighborhood.

You can move the states around and try to predict which state will go to which candidate. They have two different scenarios right now. They have McCain versus Clinton, McCain versus Obama. It was done in collaboration with PBS's NewsHour. It's so cool, I almost can't even describe it myself, so I had this guy Michael Olson from the NPR Elections Unit, I think he's online with us from Chicago. Michael?


MARTIN: Hey, Michael. Thanks for joining us.

OLSON: Hey, thanks for having me.

MARTIN: So this thing, as Laura describes it, this is like the coolest map to ever exist in the world of mapdom. Can you describe this for us? How does it work?

OLSON: All right. Well, if you just point your browser to

MARTIN: OK. I'm going to do this as you tell me. OK. Here I am,

OLSON: OK, slash map.


OLSON: You got it. OK.

MARTIN: Wait, maps singular?

OLSON: Map singular.

MARTIN: Oh, sorry.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Map singular. OK. OK, here I am.

OLSON: All right, and so now what you see when you get to this first site, and it is maybe a misnomer that it's singular, because this map is loaded with many different versions and things that you can look at...


OLSON: But when you first get there...


OLSON: You get to see the outlook. It's the presidential outlook and it defaults to the NPR/NewsHour outlook for McCain versus Obama.

MARTIN: Yes. I see that.

OLSON: And as you see that it actually looks a little bit more favorable to McCain, even though the national climate, on many other levels, and other indicators...

MARTIN: Yeah. I mean, you guys just used the red/blue thing, but yeah, there's a lot of red states on here.

OLSON: Exactly. Exactly. And so you can click through the map there, and you can see, you know, all the states, sort of what the info is behind them.

MARTIN: So if I like go to, let's say, Idaho, my home state, and I click on it, and then it tells me Idaho is clearly red. That's a little bit predictable. And then you can do this for all the states. It gives you information about the state itself, and the issues that matter, and 2004 election winner, George W. Bush, 68.5, that's pretty cool. And then results of primaries and then - and the Senate race as well, loaded full of information.

OLSON: Exactly. Exactly. And so you can see, you know, from each of those tabs, and we will also be rolling out a House tab and a governors tab, so we'll be keeping track on all that, too. So you're getting all the context from NPR and the NewsHour, but then also from the local stations on all these races.

MARTIN: So this is your big chance to defend this map. There are all kind - you know, there are maps - everyone's got a map. All news organizations have some kind of election map. What is so special about ours?

OLSON: Well, even my mom has a map at this point, you know...

(Soundbite of laughter)

OLSON: So it's a - I think that the - what stands out with this map is the editorial content. Most of the other folks that have maps out there, they're able to display various - you know, who looks like who's up, who's down, maybe polling data, what have you, and we have, you know, all the demographic data and all the numbers that every political junkie is looking for.

MARTIN: But we also have analysis.

OLSON: But we have the analysis, and then we also have this unique local perspective from member stations, which, really especially in this media landscape, you don't have any sort of sense of a network, or folks that are offering, you know, sort of this multiple approach, where you're getting the localized content. If you - you know, if you just click real quick here on the Senate tab,


OLSON: And let's go to New Mexico, one of the battleground states.


OLSON: And you see that they have yet to settle in on their primary there, and there's - right now you see New Mexican - New Mexico's GOP on attack before the Senate primary...


OLSON: And that's a juicy nugget of a story there about folks trying to get the - to replace a senator seat - Domenici's seat. It's an open Senate seat there. It's going to be a big race.

MARTIN: See, the Senate races have almost been overshadowed. There's just been so much emphasis on the race for the White House, but there are some really interesting Senate elections coming up as well. All kinds of information on the site about that. Hey, Michael, thank you so much. This is really helpful.

OLSON: All right. Thank you.

MARTIN: Michael Olson is an editor with the NPR elections unit. He is map designer extraordinaire. He was joining us on the line from Chicago. Hey, everyone, go check this out. You will not regret it. There is so much good stuff on there, See that very cool map and all kinds of in-depth election coverage. And Ms. Conaway, thank you for helping guide us through this process.

CONAWAY: No problem.

MARTIN: We appreciate it.

(Soundbite of music)

MARTIN: Stay with us, on the show coming up, sex, karate, and rich people. That's what you have to look forward to in theaters this weekend. That's a diverse menu. We'll talk it over with our movie guy Daniel Holloway. That's coming up next on the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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