Can someone explain the data visualization of Google's live election results to me?

My understanding is that the states they've "called" have a check mark that is blue if a Democrat (Clinton) victory or red if a Republican (Trump) victory. The results additionally show the number of votes report thusfar as a count and as a percent. The states they consider too early to call based on the % of precincts reporting do not have a check mark.

However, in the case of Washington it has been "called" as a Democrat (Clinton) victory, but shows a higher count and percent for Trump (?).

View 1: enter image description here

View 2: enter image description here

Note: There were some smaller third party candidates cut off in the screenshot above, like 2 Socialist candidates.

  • $\begingroup$ Any chance of a link to these results (although obvs the live results will be different now) or is it one of these magic things that appears on google search pages that's possibly not linkable? $\endgroup$ – Spacedman Nov 9 '16 at 8:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Spacedman oh sure, it's the result you get for "election results" so google.com/search?q=election+results. Even now there are still several states that haven't been called. $\endgroup$ – Hack-R Nov 9 '16 at 21:51

Possibly because google was predicting based on changes from previous elections, possibly combined with opinion polls, on a precinct-basis. If all the pro-Trump precincts report in first, you'd still see a blue box because of the very low probability of historically Democrat precincts voting Trump.

"Calling" something in a US election is not an official result, its a confident prediction by an agency. Sometimes these are wrong. Search for "Dewey Defeats Truman" for a classic example.

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  • $\begingroup$ My grandparents had the Dewey Defeats Truman Chicago Tribune on their wall :) Washington had previously appeared in red, then blue before that, so I'm not sure this explaination works tho. They are supposed to only be called based on the ratio of votes and % reporting rather than history. I'm thinking that Google just screwed up because that state had unexpectedly flip flopped after they called it, but then started to go back the other way (and eventually Clinton did win it, of course). They had not even called California at that point though, which was much more clearly a Clinton victory. $\endgroup$ – Hack-R Nov 9 '16 at 21:38

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