What The 2012 Election Would Have Looked Like Without Universal Suffrage

These five maps look at how the 2012 election would have played out before everyone could vote.

President Barack Obama has been elected twice by a coalition that reflects the diversity of America. Republicans have struggled to win with ever-higher percentages of the shrinking share of the population that is white men — "a Mad Men party in a Modern Family world," in the words of one strategist.

But at America's founding, only white men could vote, and the franchise has only slowly expanded to include people of color, women, and — during the Vietnam War — people under 21. These maps show how American politics would have looked in that undemocratic past.

Map 1: 1850

Map 2: 1870

Map 3: 1920

Map 4: 1970

Map 5: The Actual Election

Data explanation:
Maps use the exit poll data available on CNN.com. 2012 presidential exit polls did not occur in AK, AR, DE, DC, GA, HI, ID, KY, LA, NE, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY. Data for those states without exit polls was extrapolated from regional demographic voting patterns.

Note: an earlier version of one map included incorrect markings for three states.

Thanks to BuzzFeed's data scientist Ky Harlin and our information designer, Jane Kelly, for pulling together the data and creating these maps.

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