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Data journalism, Data visualisation, elections, Mapping, Open data

US election 2016: How to download county-level results data

If open data means anything, it applies to elections. But yet here we are, a week after the results, and open data around the results is hard to find. It matters because having that data allows us to understand the results better, and what they say about America today. It also means that the data can be visualised too.

There are some bright lights: David Wasserman at the Cook Report is waging a one-person mission to count up all the popular votes, as late counting comes in, state-by-state. You can see the results here, on this Google Spreadsheet.


But if you’re after county-level data, it’s tricky to find.

However, one person has been doing just that. Tony McGovern has scraped Townhall.com’s excellently-formatted results to collate the US results, county by county.

Download the county results here >>

John Guerra has used the data already to produce this rather lovely map.


Election map made with the data

Here we are, nearly eight years after data.gov became a reality, and we have to rely on the community to provide data we should all have access to, as of right.

UPDATE! Tony has now added comparison data to 2012’s election (based on a dataset I uploaded four years ago…) >>

About Simon Rogers

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', from Faber & Faber and a range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Edited and launched the Guardian Datablog. Now works for Google in California as Data Editor and is Director of the Sigma awards for data journalism.


18 thoughts on “US election 2016: How to download county-level results data

  1. Can you please add 2020 to this ASAP? I’m very curious of the trends since the total number of votes has increased by such a large margin. It points to possible foul play, in my opinion

    Posted by Dave | November 7, 2020, 5:59 am
  2. Great data source for county data – good job!!!

    Posted by raul garcia | January 11, 2017, 1:09 am
  3. The 2012 Romney vs Obama results by county can actually be found on data.gov, I think, at https://catalog.data.gov/dataset/presidential-general-election-results-2012-direct-download . When you download and extract the .tar file there, the package includes a .dbf file with all the data, and it comes with a shapefile etc for making maps. Plus the data seems to be more inclusive than the (preliminary?) data from The Guardian – a couple of random counties I checked had slightly higher vote totals than the Guardian data.

    Posted by Joost | December 15, 2016, 1:57 pm
  4. Used this data to show my introductory quantitative social science students how to map the (most recent) 2016 election results in R. Thanks so much for sharing these links!

    Posted by Todd K. Hartman | December 1, 2016, 12:25 pm
  5. Great info! Thanks for posting.

    Posted by JP in AZ | November 29, 2016, 7:26 pm
  6. Hi, thanks for the county link !! Awesome.

    I have built a Power BI dashboard so you can easily visualise the data and make your own analysis.
    See here : bit.ly/2eLE8qM

    I will add the county-level analysis soon 🙂


    Posted by Franklin | November 26, 2016, 7:24 pm
  7. If these poor losers get their way and
    Figure out a way to eliminate the Electoral College, we should then change the Popular vote to a by County
    Vote. This would give all Citizens a fair chance to elect their favorite candidate rather than the Liberal cities doing it for us. The Electoral College is in place to offset this very thing.

    Posted by Harold Platteborze | November 24, 2016, 4:59 pm
  8. Any idea where to find the county level registered voter numbers?

    Posted by Katie Brinkley | November 19, 2016, 4:52 am
  9. Reblogged this on lyndamk's reads and commented:
    Access county level data for election 2016

    Posted by lyndamk | November 18, 2016, 8:09 pm
  10. This is awesome- and thank you! Any idea if Townhall.com is also pulling registered voter turnout data? I’m having a hard time finding that in one place- and don’t want to scrape every single county’s web listing

    Posted by Katie Brinkley | November 17, 2016, 5:32 am


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About me

Data journalist, writer, speaker. Author of 'Facts are Sacred', published by Faber & Faber and a new range of infographics for children books from Candlewick. Data editor at Google, California. Formerly at Twitter, San Francisco. Created the Guardian Datablog. All opinions on this site are mine, not my employers'. Read more >>

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