Third-Place Candidate, by county, 2016 Presidential Election


The map above uses preliminary results from the 2016 US presidential election to show the third-place finisher in the presidential election in each county. In almost every county the top two candidates were Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (with the exception of several extremely conservative and heavily mormon counties in Utah and Idaho where Hillary fell to third behind Independent Evan McMullin).

The Libertarian ticket of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Governor William Weld received 3.3% of the nationwide popular vote, over 4 million votes total, which was by far the strongest performance of a third-party this year. It was also the best result for a third-party since Ross Perot’s Reform Party run in 1996. This success is evident on the map, as the Johnson ticket reached third-place in the vast majority of counties in the US.

Jill Stein of the Green Party came in fourth in the national popular vote with 1.3 million votes (1%). She was only able to reach third-place in a handful of counties. Among these were several major cities, including Portland, San Francisco, Oakland, and New York City (she had more votes than Johnson in every borough except Staten Island). She was also the strongest third-party candidate on most of the islands of Hawaii (and the San Juan islands of Washington state), part of the northern coast of California (Humboldt and Mendocino counties), and two Native American reservations in North Dakota and one reservation in Wisconsin, along with a couple of other counties.

Evan McMullin is an interesting case. He ran as an independent conservative, hoping to gain the votes of Republicans who were unhappy with Donald Trump. However, he entered the race late and was unable to get on the ballot in most states. Additionally, Republican voters ended up coming home to the party, voting in strong numbers for Trump. McMullin, who is LDS, ended up as the “mormon candidate”. Trumps was unpopular among the conservative Mormon population, which allowed McMullin to pull 21% of the vote in Utah and 7% in Idaho. Nationally, he came in fifth, receiving only 0.4% of the vote, but he came closest of any third-party candidate to capturing a state. McMullin actually placed second in several counties in Utah and Idaho, beating Hillary Clinton in those areas, though he placed third overall in both states. Donald Trump did not fall to third in any counties, though he came closest in the District of Columbia, where he received 4% of the vote and write-in’s received 2.5%.

This year also saw an uptick in the number of “write-in” votes. For example, write-ins dominated the third-party vote in Vermont, and these votes were almost certainly  for the state’s own Senator Bernie Sanders. Almost 8% of Vermont voters wrote-in a presidential candidate on their ballot. Write-ins also placed third in one county in western Wyoming, and in the District of Columbia.

Nevada is the only state with a “None of these Candidates” option on the ballot, and it got 2.6% of the vote in that state and won third-place in two rural Nevada counties.

Finally, the Prohibition Party’s candidate, James Hedges, received 5,565 votes nationwide (apparently the best showing for the Prohibition Party since 1988), which comes to 0.00004% of the national vote. Nonetheless, despite this tiny showing, James Hedges somehow came in third in Arkansas County, Arkansas, with 133 votes, beating Gary Johnson’s total by 7 votes.

Several other third-parties ran candidates, such as the Constitution Party (0.14% of the vote) and the Party of Socialism and Liberation (0.04% of the vote), but none of these parties finished third in any counties.


The disappearance of San Francisco’s middle-class neighborhoods, 1990-2010

Over the past 30 years San Francisco’s middle-class neighborhoods have been decimated. In 1990, 60% of San Francisco residents lived in middle-class areas, but by 2010 that number had dropped to 41%. Given current trends, the next census report (in 2020) will almost certainly show an even smaller middle-class in San Francisco. These facts are not surprising, as the tech boom has made San Francisco a poster child for economic inequality. Countless think pieces have been written about the city’s problems with exploding rent, gentrification, and a widening income gap.

I wanted to add to this discussion by creating a series of maps showing how San Francisco’s inequality is distributed across the city. These were inspired by Daniel Kay Hertz fantastic series of maps visualizing inequality in Chicago. The maps below show a city that was solidly middle-class as recently as 1990, but has quickly become sharply divided between homogenous upper-income neighborhoods, and areas that are overwhelmingly low-income. Census block-group data was used, with the median income of each block-group compared to the median income of the San Francisco-Oakland metropolitan area. Low-income areas are colored red, middle-income areas are colored light-grey, and upper-income areas are colored green.

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Map in gallery form.

In 1990 the map is dominated by a sea of light-grey middle-class areas, but by 2010 the map is much greener with many more upper-income areas. San Francisco has generally seen it’s middle-class neighborhoods transition towards the upper-income range, as opposed to becoming lower-income. In 1990 only 9% of San Franciscans lived in upper-income areas, but by 2010 that number was 32%. In contrast, the number living in lower-income areas declined from 31% to 26%.  Many of the residents of these lower-income and middle-income areas have been displaced to other parts of the Bay Area, or outside the metropolitan area altogether.

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The table below shows the change in median income (as a % of the metropolitan area median) by neighborhood from 1990 to 2010, with middle-income values (between 75 and 125% of the metropolitan area median) bolded:

Change 2010 % of Metropolitan Median Income 1990 % of Metropolitan Median Income
The Presidio +79% 163% 84%
Potrero Hill +58% 148% 90%
South Beach / Financial District +55% 144% 89%
Noe Valley +50% 155% 105%
Mission Bay +50% 142% 92%
Lone Mountain/USF +37% 123% 86%
Marina +37% 145% 108%
Castro +36% 137% 101%
South of Market +35% 81% 46%
Haight-Ashbury +33% 128% 95%
Inner Sunset +33% 126% 93%
Hayes Valley +27% 89% 62%
Mission +27% 92% 65%
Pacific Heights +27% 152% 125%
Bernal Heights +27% 116% 89%
Russian Hill +21% 115% 94%
Japantown +20% 67% 47%
Twin Peaks +20% 128% 108%
West of Twin Peaks +20% 170% 150%
Glen Park +19% 132% 113%
Seacliff +18% 224% 206%
Outer Richmond +12% 103% 91%
Presidio Heights +12% 138% 126%
Outer Sunset/ Parkside +10% 110% 100%
Inner Richmond +10% 98% 88%
Outer Mission +9% 110% 101%
Western Addition +8% 68% 60%
North Beach +8% 83% 75%
Nob Hill +7% 75% 68%
Bayview/Hunters Point +5% 70% 65%
Excelsior +3% 100% 97%
Oceanview/Merced/Ingleside +2% 93% 91%
Portola +2% 94% 92%
Tenderloin -4% 28% 32%
Treasure Island -5% 64% 69%
McLaren Park -6% 25% 31%
Chinatown -6% 31% 37%
Visitacion Valley -12% 65% 77%
Lakeshore -14% 68% 82%

Neighborhoods that were middle-income in 1990 saw the greatest changes in their median income. 14 neighborhoods transitioned from being middle-income in 1990 to being upper-income in 2010, including Potrero Hill, the Financial District, the Marina, the Castro, and Inner Sunset, to name a few. A prime example of this trend is Noe Valley, which in 1990 had a median income that was 105% of the metropolitan area median, solidly middle-class. By 2010 Noe Valley had jumped all the way up to making 155% of the metropolitan area median, and was firmly in the upper-class range.

Some middle-income neighborhoods have remained fairly stable, but these neighborhoods are generally located on the fringes of the city, farther from workplaces and public transit. Neighborhoods that were middle-income in 1990 and remained that way through 2010 include Portola, Excelsior, and Outer Mission. The map below shows this pattern, as many of the neighborhoods with small changes in income are located on the southern edges of the city. Very few neighborhoods in the heart of the city have remained middle-class.


Two neighborhoods that were middle-income in 1990 became lower-income by 2010, Visitacion Valley and Lakeshore. These two neighborhoods sit on the border of San Francisco’s city limits, and their decline in relative incomes was likely caused by working-class residents from other parts of the city moving there seeking out cheaper rent.

As for those neighborhoods that were low-income in 1990, there have been a few that  became middle-income by 2010. But these neighborhoods mostly consist of rapidly gentrifying areas like the Mission District and South of Market. So while they have moved into the middle-income category, these neighborhoods are suffering high rates of displacement and internal divisions between wealthier newcomers and older working-class residents. They may not remain middle-income for long, but instead transition into the upper-income category as newcomers make up a greater and greater proportion of these neighborhood’s population.

As for the area’s poorest neighborhoods such as Chinatown and the Tenderloin, they saw their incomes fall slightly from 1990 to 2010 (relative to the metro area). These neighborhoods have been left behind in San Francisco’s boom times, which contributes to the huge gap between the rich and poor in the city. It will be interesting to see if their median incomes rise by the 2020 census due to an influx of young professionals seeking out cheap rent. It’s also possible that these areas may benefit from the city’s low unemployment rate, with a recent report suggesting that San Francisco’s poorest resident have seen some economic gains. Nonetheless, it is disturbing that San Francisco’s tech boom has not increased incomes much for the neighborhoods in the most dire need of a raise.

Lastly, there were three neighborhoods that were already upper-income in 1990, Seacliff, Presidio Heights, and West of Twin Peaks. These neighborhoods all saw moderate increases in their relative incomes. But generally, they did not see as big of rises as areas that were middle-income in 1990. This makes sense, since their rents were already expensive in 1990 and they had less room for their incomes to grow.

Overall these maps and statistics tell the story of a city that is moving farther and farther away from an egalitarian distribution of wealth. As rental prices continue to increase, more and more areas of San Francisco will become unaffordable to the middle-class. The speed of this transformation is terrifying and depressing, but it also means that it was not long ago that San Francisco was significantly more egalitarian. Looking at the 1990 map of San Francisco’s neighborhoods shows a city much more open and available to people of average means. It is important that we don’t let the memory of that older San Francisco disappear.

Data Source:

Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota 2011.

Governor’s Political Party, by State, 1790-2016


The map above shows how political control of US governor’s mansions have evolved from 1790 to the present day. For times where multiple parties controlled the governorship over the course of one year, the party which had the longest period of control in that year are marked on the map. The map illustrates how power has shifted, from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans, then to the Whigs, and finally for the past 150 years to a back-and-forth struggle between Republicans and Democrats. Important to note: the effect of elections is usually only seen on the map the next year. For example, the 1994 midterms were a landslide for Republicans, but those governors did not generally take office until early 1995, so 1995 is when those states that flipped Republican turn red on the map.

Below, I go into some more detail about the trends in party control of governorships over different time periods, starting with our nation’s earliest political struggle between the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.

The first party-system in the United States was divided between the Federalists, followers of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The Federalists supported a strong national government, and in foreign policy were friendlier towards the British. The Democratic-Republicans favored a limited government, and desired good relations with the French. Geographically, the Federalists were strong in the North-East while the Democratic-Republicans dominated the South.

In 1790 the parties were fairly equally matched, while a large number of governors remained non-partisan. During George Washington’s second term (1793-1796) the Federalist party gained strength, eventually controlling half the nation’s governorships. John Adams was elected as the first and only Federalist President in the election of 1796, defeating Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Thomas Jefferson won the presidency in a rematch in 1800, and the Democratic-Republicans gained popularity in the states under his administration as the Federalist party faded away. By 1810 the Democratic-Republicans had the governorship in almost 90% of states. The Federalists experienced a brief surge in support during the early stages of the War of 1812, as the war was initially unpopular in New England. But once the war ended in a victory for the US, the Federalists were discredited, and the party dissolved at the national level.

With the death of the Federalists as a national force, the Democratic-Republicans were the sole US political party for a short period of time. James Monroe faced only token opposition from the Federalists in 1816, and ran unopposed as the Democratic-Republican nominee in 1820, the last presidential race to feature only one candidate. However, the election of John Quincy Adams in 1824 broke the Democratic-Republican party apart. Into it’s place rushed two new parties, the Democrats, led by Andrew Jackson, and the National Republicans, led by Henry Clay. The Democrats would absorb most of the old Democratic-Republican supporters, while the National Republicans took up the mantle of the Federalists, arguing for a strong national government. The National Republicans were unable to defeat Andrew Jackson’s Democrats, and eventually transformed into the Whig Party.

The Whigs had more success as a party, electing William Henry Harrison in 1840 (he would die in office after only a month) and Zachary Taylor in 1848. They had less success at the state level however, only gaining a majority of governor’s mansions once throughout their decades long existence, in 1838. This was their peak, and they declined rapidly at the state level throughout the 1840s and early 1850s. The Democrats remained the d0minant party at the state level, but their hegemony was about to be broken by the “slave question”.

The issue of slavery quickly tore the nation apart in the 1850s. The Whig party collapsed due to bitter divides over this issue. Anti-slavery Whig and Democrats joined forces to form the new Republican party, which competed for the first time in the elections of 1854. The Republicans opposed the expansion of slavery into new states and territories, while the Democrats increasingly became a party representing slavery interests and the South. The Republican party gained strength in the North through the late 1850s, as former-Whigs and Know-Nothings (an anti-immigration party founded in the aftermath of the Whig collapse) joined their ranks. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president on a platform of stopping the spread of slavery, and the South seceded in reaction.

During the Civil War, the Republicans were dominant in the Union States, with only a few Democratic and Unionist governors serving during this time. The Confederacy abandoned it’s party system entirely, with non-partisan governors serving who were almost entirely former Democrats.

Republicans continued to gain strength at the state level after the Civil War ended. Reconstruction gave voting rights to blacks in the South, which created a huge base of support for the Republican party. Despite Democratic attempts to restrict blacks right to vote through violence and intimidation, the Republican party was able to gain control of a large number of governorships in the South. At the same time, they remained dominant in the North as the Democrats had been discredited by the Civil War. By 1869 the Republican party controlled 81% of all governor mansions in the US.

The two parties returned to more even footing after Reconstruction was violently ended by white supremacist campaigns. Democrats were able to suppress the black and republican vote in the South, giving them one-party control over those states. Meanwhile, in the North the Republican party had grown less popular as the Civil War receded in public memory. For two decades, from the mid-1870s to the mid-1890s, the Democrats generally controlled more governorships than the Republicans. There were a few years when Republicans briefly retook a majority of state governors mansions, but the Democrats vice-grip on the South gave them a large advantage.

The mid-1890s marked a transformation for both parties fortunes however. The two-party system was disrupted by the rise of the Populist Party. This party was an outgrowth of the Farmers Alliance, and gained massive support in the rural areas of the Western and Southern United States. Farmers in these areas were suffering economically, and felt abandoned by both major political parties. They forged alliances with labor groups in several states, and at their peak they controlled four governors mansions. The turmoil of this period, which featured a huge economic crisis in the form of the Panic of 1893, took place under a Democratic President, and Republicans were able to regain a consistent majority of state governorships despite being shut out in the South.

Republican strength at the governor level continued, with two exceptions, until the the Great Depression in 1929. The two exceptions were the 1910s, when the Republican party was bitterly divided between a conservative faction, led by William Howard Taft, and a progressive faction, led by Theodore Roosevelt. Democrats were also able to gain a majority of governors for a brief two year period from 1923-1924 under the Harding/Coolidge Administration.

But otherwise, it was not until the Great Depression that Republicans hold at the state level was broken. in 1930 Republicans controlled 63% of all governors. Just three years later, they controlled only 17%. Democrats had a huge majority of governors until 1939, while at the same time electing FDR to the presidency, and achieving 2/3rds majorities in the House and Senate. It was one of the most dominant periods for any political party in US history, as FDRs popularity was buoyed by the success of the New Deal.

The 1938 elections delivered a blow to the New Deal as Democrats margins were cut at the state and federal level. WW2 began shortly after, and Democrats continued to lose governor races throughout this period even as FDR remained popular. Republicans regained a majority of governor mansions in 1944, and the two parties proceeded to trade places over the next 10 years. But in 1955, after a recession under President Eisenhower, Democrats retook a strong majority at the state level.


Democrats held over 60% of the governorships every year for a decade, from 1957 to 1966. But big changes were underway, as the Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, and Womens Rights movement, among others, reshaped politics in the 1960s. A backlash against LBJ’s administration led to big gains for Republicans in 1966, who for the first time since Reconstruction became competitive in the South, this time buoyed by a backlash against the Democrats Civil Rights agenda.

This Republican resurgence was short-lived however, as Democrats regained state power during the Nixon and Ford administrations. After Watergate Democrats reached a peak, holding 72% of all governors mansions from in 1976, 1977, and 1978. Republicans were not able to retake a majority of governorships until after the huge Republican mid-term landslide of 1994, when Bill Clinton’s unpopularity gave them a solid majority of state houses along with both houses of congress for the first time in decades. Since 1995 Republicans have dominated at the state level with a rare exception, the 2007-2010 period when Democrats benefited from a backlash against the Iraq War and the Great Recession under President George Bush. But by 2011 Republicans had regained their state-level edge and today hold over 60% of all governor mansions.

Major Trends:
If we look at the trends over the past 160 years, since the advent of the Democratic-Republican party system in 1855, we see that generally no party maintains an edge in governorships controlled for more than a few years. The data is characterized by sharp turns, where one party may control 60% of governor positions for a few years, then plummet down to only 40% for the next few years. The longest periods when one-party had the majority of governor positions are from 1971 to 1994 for the Democrats (24 years), and 1895 to 1910 (16 years) for the Republicans. Generally, each party gained when the other party had a president in the white house, with a few rare exceptions such as the 1930s when Democrats continued to gain for a few years even after FDR took office.

Highest Peaks in % of Governorships Controlled:

Democratic Party:

1938: Democrats controlled 81% of all governorships. This was the peak of Democratic Power during the New Deal and Great Depression, as Democrats also had huge edges in the House and Senate due to FDR’s massive popularity. Their edge in governorships is even greater if you include the left-wing Farmer-Labor Party governor of Minnesota and the Progressive Party governor of Wisconsin in their totals. Republicans at the time controlled only 7 governorships. Republicans had been stuck in single digits since 1933, after FDR’s landslide election in 1932. The Great Depression took a huge toll on the Republicans during the 1930s, but the 1938 midterms would help them recover. Republicans jumped up to 19 governors as the nations recovery from the Great Depression suffered a setback.

1976-1978: Democrats controlled 72% of all governorships. These years, post-watergate but before Jimmy Carter’s popularity tanked due to foreign crises, oil shocks, and recessions, were some of the best for Democrats in recent memory. Democrats still had a solid grip on the South despite Republican attempts to break in post-civil rights, while Republicans in the north had been decimated by Nixon and Ford’s unpopularity.

1984: Democrats controlled 70% of all governorships. This one may seem surprising. 1984 was the year Reagan was re-elected in a landslide, but at the time Democrats were still dominant in the governor races. A recession in 1981-1982 had boosted their representation, and the South STILL had many Democratic governors even at this late date. Democrats also reached this 70% mark in 1959 after a recession under Republican president Dwight Eisenhower.

Republican Party:

1869: Republicans controlled 81% of all governorships. The Reconstruction period was great for Republicans, as the votes of newly enfranchised blacks in the South made Republicans competitive there, while the party was still popular in the North after it’s victory in the Civil War. From 1866-1870 Republicans had over 70% of all the nation’s governors under their control.

1921-1922: Republicans controlled 71% of all governorships. The party benefited from a  “return to normalcy” under popular president Warren G. Harding. The Democratic Party was unpopular after 8 years of Woodrow Wilson. Republicans held nearly every governorship outside of the South, which was still under one-party Democratic control.

1997-1998: Republicans controlled 64% of all governorships. Bill Clinton’s easy re-election in 1996 had not helped Democrats regain governorships from the Republican Party, as more southern states flipped to Republican control.

Know-Nothing Party:

1856: Know-Nothings controlled 19% of all governorships. The Know-Nothings, like the Republicans, rose out of the ashes of the Whig Party, but had much less staying power. Their platform was anti-immigrant and anti-catholic, but they could not avoid the political issue of slavery and quickly declined as their party was absorbed by the Republican and Democratic parties.

Populist Party: 

1897-1898: Populists controlled 11% of all governorships. The Populists were a left-wing insurgent party, dedicated to farmers aid and nationalization of the railroads. They allied with labour groups in several states, and were able to take control of four governor mansions, mostly in the Midwest with the exception of Washington, in 1897 and 1898, while the allied Silver Party took control of Nevada. Their party was already in the process of being taken over by Democrats under Williams Jennings Bryan by this point, and the Populists would quickly fade away like most third-parties.

Map at half-speed:

Map at double-speed: 

Map in gallery form: