May 31, 2012 at 4:18 PM ET
When you set up your home's wireless router, you might pick a name like "Devin's Place," or just leave it as the default -- or maybe you'll use it as an opportunity to advertise your political leanings. "Voteobama," for instance, or perhaps "obamasux." OpenSignalMaps, a service that tracks and maps Wi-Fi signals, tracked routers being used for this purpose all over the country; you can see who's waving their Obama flag in your city using their interactive map.
Their database has nearly 75 million Wi-Fi access points mapped, and somewhat surprisingly, less than a thousand of those expressed some political leaning, or at least one that mentions the President.
There is a regional bias, though it's not so strong as one might expect. New York is fairly pro-Obama:
While southern Florida is far more negative:
The breakdown was more or less even when accounting for errors, such as the erroneous labeling of a Wi-Fi name as positive when it is in fact negative, and that sort of thing. Internationally, there was much more of a net positive in Obama mentions.
The blog post also contains a snapshot of Buenos Aires, where there are scores of Wi-Fi names that support the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and hundreds more that may refer to her (but are just as likely, perhaps, to belong to someone named Cristina):
Of course, it is a rather rough and crude method, but fun nevertheless. No one would use it for a serious indicator of the partisan status of any particular city or region, but such highly public displays of political views are still interesting.
Devin Coldewey is acontributing writer for msnbc.com. His personal website iscoldewey.cc.