Whenever the Democrats win, the right wing will invariably pull out a map like the one on the right to try and illustrate that most of the United States voted for the conservative, even if more people voted for the Democrat. SEE??? LOOK AT ALL THAT RED!!! LOOK AT IT!!!!! This is done to try and delegitimize the victor, and somehow "prove" that conservatives are the real majority (much of the "heartland" blather is based on this).
Just to note before I go on, even though I found this map attached to a posting from yesterday on a conservative website, I'm pretty sure this reflects the 2008 election, instead of 2012, since it shows some counties as blue that I know went for Romney, and some as red that I know went for Obama, but for the purposes of this post it will do.
So where are all those blue counties located? Generally, they're located where the bulk of the population lives. Since I live in Pennsylvania, we'll use the Keystone State to dig a little deeper (I made my own color-coded map for PA as a reference, but its a bit messy, although it generally conforms to the above.)
Which counties went for President Obama in Pennsylvania, which as of the last census contained 12,702,379 people? They would be Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Dauphin, Allegheny, and Erie. Not surprisingly, these counties also contain the state's biggest cities; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. These counties contain 6,634,551 people, or over 52% of the state's population. Not coincidentally, the President took Pennsylvania with 52% of the vote. Those vast swaths of red are for the most part pretty sparsely populated and rural or mountainous. Romney didn't get much help from the larger suburban counties he won either. For example, while Chester County, with a population of nearly half a million people and one of Pennsylvania's largest counties was in Romney's column, he beat the President there by a mere 58 votes. Centre County, another fairly large county (which not oddly at all, is in the center of the state) and home to Penn State University, went for Romney by 20 votes. The Republicans aren't going make up ground with anemic wins like that, even if they do manage to garner 60% of the vote in Forest County (population 7,716).
Just a little something to keep in mind when you see a similar map tossed around (and you probably will).
Population data came from the US Census Bureau website.
2012 election data for Pennsylvania came from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's website.