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Millennial voters would turn US blue? Viral map may be misleading

Bluer than blue? Young people did favor Democrat Hillary Clinton, but the viral map you may have seen isn't that simple.

After the nation's election maps slowly turned red Tuesday night, giving a victory to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, another map began to circulate on social media, one that rolled as blue as the ocean. But it's not what many people think it is.

It's easy to look at the map and assume that it shows how millennial-age voters actually cast their votes Tuesday night -- squarely with the Democrats. That's not the case.

We tracked down where the much-shared map came from. It doesn't reflect actual election results from Tuesday night. Website SurveyMonkey confirms to CNET that the map is pre-election, from October, and it shows the results of a SurveyMonkey poll based on responses given by more than 30,000 likely voters aged 18-34. You can see a slightly updated version of it on the SurveyMonkey site.

It's easy to see why so many who were disappointed in the election results are sharing this image. In a world where only these survey-takers voted, America would be preparing to inaugurate President Hillary Clinton in January 2017.

Clinton did win many young voters. CNN reports she took 54 percent of voters age 18 to 29, and that 37 precent of that age group voted for president-elect Donald Trump. President Barack Obama won 60 percent of that age group in 2012, according to CNN.

There's another map SurveyMonkey shared that shows a very different state-by-state result in a similar survey conducted between October 25 and November 7. It shows how white evangelicals who responded to the survey said they would vote. Here the nation turns as red as a fire engine.

Such colorful red-blue maps have become memes before in this election, and they're likely here to stay. While they shouldn't be confused with actual election results, the maps may offer up valuable information. Especially if some day bears get the vote.