I didn’t expect the opportunity to write another post about an ESPN SportsNation poll to arise so soon after the last one, but rumors of a $300 million contract for Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton have ESPN asking its totally equipped to answer this question audience whether they think the potential contract is a good idea.
Here’s how the responses look:
While we could discuss angsty West Virginia’s inability to make up its mind on this question, the interesting twist, for our purposes, is that Montana and Vermont have entirely declined to weigh in. Their silence leaves us with a void into which we are left to impute existential meaning (or, in Vermont’s case, ice cream). Are Montanans and Vermonsters so disgusted by the very asking of the question that they refuse to dignify it with any response? Or, in an act of humility, have they recognized their own shortcomings with respect to the ability to analyze the relative merits of a long-term arrangement fraught with numerous physical, financial, and psychological components, a task that escapes mastery by even the leading minds in the field, and decided to refrain from acting beyond the scope of their limited, though completely normal, faculties? Or, to consider yet a third alternative, are they already out skiing and/or loaded up on Heady Topper and thus too busy to be bothered to respond?
Based on my hypothetical polling of my actual friend, a Vermont native who lived in Montana, I suspect these two electorates simply may not have an opinion on the matter. As we now have seen, such a posture so confounds ESPN/SportsNation’s “embrace debate” mentality that their reaction is to wipe you off the map.
UPDATE: Montana and Vermont have broken their silences, unanimously agreeing that this contract is a really bad idea! As always, click the map above to see the latest results.
While I am glad that they allow for mouseover information showing a breakdown of percentages and total votes, the point of this is a graphical representation of what people across America think about a particular topic. I think that this can be a very powerful and fun tool to represent information about sports. But the difference between a 90-10 split and a 48-52 split is dramatic. Weighting states with varyingly dark colors is easy, even when they do multiple question polls. Then white doesn’t mean no one voted but rather people don’t have a clear favorite. Moreover, some states only have 16 votes while others have hundreds. There are ways to represent this (3D plots, or the plots where the area is adjusted to correspond to the number of voters), although they are typically cumbersome.
Anyways, seeing this clear “winner takes all” approach to these sorts of graphs suggests to me that ESPN (at least) tacitly endorses the electoral college.
White does mean no one voted. Grey means that there is not a clear favorite. Compare the previous post.