Colorado is getting bluer

This post is not really related to “technology” except that in order to make the video below I had to edit the Colorado county KML files in Google Earth based off data I got from Wikipedia. Then imported them into Quantum GIS and re-edited them. Then I had to save the resulting maps as PNGs and opened them in GIMP so I could crop and label them. I then took the exported GIFs and opened them in Windows Live Movie Maker, added transitions and captions. Finally I uploaded them to a YouTube account and linked to them here in my WordPress blog.

Some of this stuff I already knew how to do. Using QGIS and using images in Movie Maker were brand new. Obviously I hope my skills get better as I learn QGIS better…and Movie Maker or some better equivalent. Right now I’m really just trying to get a handle on Colorado politics.

The video below doesn’t necessarily say anything as it’s more or less stripped of context. It is of course interesting to see that Colorado’s blueness spread across the election and re-election of Obama. The gains in 2008 were particularly impressive, but it was “a Democratic year.” But one more county turned blue in 2012 and no counties returned to red despite 2012 being “a Republican year.”

The maps could be more informative if I graded the colors in terms of percent blue/percent red. Or if I simply showed the percent above/below some pre-chosen baseline.

It is also worth pointing out that all new blue counties were already adjacent to blue counties. So it’s not at all clear if those counties turned blue due to genuine changes of heart of red voters there or if the blueness was the result of immigration into those counties from blue-minded people from out of state choosing to live near other blue-minded people in state (or people moving from a high-cost blue counties out into nearby-but-cheaper red counties). Which is to say, I’m not providing this map as analysis itself. It’s really just here to document what I hope is a lot of progress in my ability to make useful maps and present them.