116 Years of Electoral Infographics From The New York Times

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Explaining presidential outcomes, from 1896 to the present

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The homepage of The New York Times as it looks right now. (nytimes.com)

Tonight is a night for political decision-making, but tonight is also a night for political news-making. News sites -- including ours -- are experiencing one of those increasingly rare things: a moment when the eyes of a nation are collectively focused on the same small collection of screens. 

When it comes to the infographics that are gracing many of those screens, The New York Times is one of the most impressive outlets there is. And that's in part because the paper has a long -- a very, very long -- tradition of creating images that inform and explain and inspire. Below are just some of the electoral maps as printed in The New York Times -- from the McKinley/Bryan race in 1896 to the Obama/McCain contest in 2008. Not only do those graphics illustrate the outcomes of the elections that shaped America; they also offer insight into the evolution of news delivery itself. Every four years, we learn from the past, and improve. 

For more graphics, check out graphics for each election on The New York Times's Tumblr, here.

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William McKinley (R -- shaded white) defeats William Jennings Bryan (D-shaded black). Page 1 of The New York Times on Wednesday, November 4, 1896. (Virginia, North Carolina, and a handful of other states in the West, the Times notes, were shaded incorrectly.)

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The New York Times


Warren G. Harding (R) defeats James M. Cox (D). This graphic came from Page 1 of The New York Times on Wednesday, November 3, 1920.

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The New York Times


Richard Nixon (R) defeats Herbert Humphrey (D) and George Wallace (I). This graphic came from Page 23 of The New York Times on Wednesday, November 6, 1968.

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The New York Times


Ronald Reagan (R) defeats Walter Mondale (D). This graphic came from Page A20 of The New York Times on Wednesday, November 7, 1984.

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The New York Times


Bill Clinton (D) defeats Bob Dole (R). This graphic came from Page B5 of The New York Times on Wednesday, November 6, 1996.

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The New York Times


Barack Obama (D) defeats John McCain (R), 2008. This graphic was displayed on the Times's website.

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The New York Times
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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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