Just a few quick things:
(1) More accurate maps, weighted by population size, of the 2004 election. This should give you a much better sense of things than the ubiquitous but very misleading map graphics we see these days. Maps are misleading because state areas don’t line up with important quantities like population size and perception of areas of irregular figures is notoriously inaccurate.
(Interesting to see an “old web” stalwart, Cosma Shalizi, on this one. For those of us reading the intarweb back in the mid 90s, his various web ramblings as a physics student at UW-Madison were interesting reading. One of the original blogs, though nobody called it that then. I even tried my hand at it but the really big difference between me and someone like Shalizi is the fact that his writing output is immense and mine is, well, not. I honestly don’t know how he does it.)
(2) A map of the newspaper endorsements in the 2008 election. Note the numerous outliers in “blue” states (aka highly urbanized states), where newspapers such as the New York Post endorsed McCain, way back in September. The discussion is quite worthwhile. Also the New York Times fesses up, in pictures?
(3) The degree to which the election map is lining up to look like the Election of 1896 of William McKinley vs. William Jennings Bryan is… uncanny. The fit is not perfect, but it’s awfully close, and I suspect for many of the same big picture reasons (the urban vs rural split being dominant in the country right now), though there are many interesting role reversals between the candidates. For instance, William Jennings Bryan was the brash young orator who overthrew a party favorite… to represent the Evangelicals.
(4) In case you wondered what we look like, here’s a re-enactment of Angry Midwesterner ranting to a relative: