Reading the tea leaves with Amazon's election heat map

Published: Sunday, Aug. 26 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, United Parcel Service (UPS) driver Paul Musial lifts an Amazon.com box in Palo Alto, Calif.

Paul Sakuma, File, Associated Press

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Our take: Could the 2012 U.S. election be predicted by the sales of partisan books sold on Amazon.com? The world's largest online retailer wondered just that, and came up with the "Amazon Election Heat Map 2012." While Amazon disclaims "book purchases can reflect curiosity as much as commitment," the novel idea is detailed here in an Economist piece:

"Might the mental meanderings of bookworms presage who will be the next American president? Amazon does not presume this may be the case, but the online retailer has nonetheless created a heatmap of the American election based on the partisan nature of books bought by state.

"The company's methodology is simple: it classifies books into "red" (Republican), "blue" (Democrat) and neutral. Then, it looks at the 250 top-selling books in both red and blue categories over the past 30 days (updated daily) and notes the shipping address. The map's color and intensity displays which states are turning over pages of what partisanship."

Read more about Visualizing the American election: Reading the tea leaves on the Economist.

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