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Al’s Blog

Multi-seat Madness

March 10th, 2009 by Al

Just to demonstrate a problem that can occur with fptp elections in multi-seat districts, the result of the 2008 municipal election in the Tredegar Central & West ward (a four seater) of Blaenau Gwent CBC:

  1. S.Thomas, Lab, 808
  2. H.L.Trollope, Lab, 740
  3. N.Hobbs, Lab, 712
  4. D.I.Morris, Lab, 691
  5. G.Bowen-Knight, Plaid, 587
  6. G.Walters, PV, 544
  7. W.Kenvin,LDem, 539
  8. D.Wilcox, PV, 516

It is obvious that the voters of Tredegar preferred all four Labour candidates to all four non-Labour candidates. And, on one level, that’s all that matters. But election junkies are usually more interested in partisan support than ‘owt else, election junkies like statistics and election junkies like percentages. So, what were the party totals for Tredegar Central & West? If we just add up everything we get:

  1. Labour, 57.4%
  2. PV, 20.6%
  3. Plaid, 11.5%
  4. LDem, 10.5%

The problems here are obvious. Only one party ran a full slate; two of the parties ran just one candidate. And each voter has four votes; as a result more votes were cast in this election than registered voters in the ward (and this with the usual awful turnout of a local election). One common solution to this problem is just to take an average of the votes for each party, thus:

  1. Labour, 30.8%
  2. Plaid, 24.5%
  3. LDem, 22.5%
  4. PV, 22.1%

While this method might make sense if all parties ran full slates, when one party runs four candidates and no other runs more than two, the percentages start to have little in common with the actual election result. Another common method is just to use the top candidate of each party; this method has the same problem with results like this as just doing an average and throws in a different problem (that of personal votes). A further, desperate, alternative would be to average the results of the Labour and non-Labour candidates, thus:

  1. Labour, 57.5%
  2. Non-Labour,  42.5%

The problems here are obvious as well. When given the choice, some voters always split their tickets and quite a few will only vote for a single candidate (especially if their chosen party has just one candidate). And so on.
In other words, there appears to be no easy solution to this problem, and where does that leave map-makers? A possible answer would be to abandon (more or less) winning-party maps and just map party support instead… comparing the vote of each party to the number of voters in each ward and not to the votes of other parties in the same ward. More on that at a decent hour.

Ethnic Groups in Birmingham

February 15th, 2009 by Al

Even more Brum maps:


Birmingham NS-Sec Maps

February 8th, 2009 by Al

Some LA-4 maps

December 15th, 2008 by Al

LA-4 Maps

A: compares Carmouche to Landrieu.

B: compares Carmouche to Obama

C: compares Landrieu to Obama

Feel free to compare these maps to two sets here and here.

Eve of the Poll

November 3rd, 2008 by Al

It’s almost over.

Just thought I ought to, you know, post something.

An interesting night ahead of us, I guess.

Religion in Birmingham

August 18th, 2008 by Al

Been a while since I’ve posted something up here. Ah well. Maps of census data on religion in Brum:

Believe in Brum

Map uses middle level SOA’s rather than wards or lower level SOA’s; wards in Birmingham are just too big to show more than very broad patterns of anything, while lower level SOA’s are (in a city as big as Brum) tiny. But I might well make lower level SOA maps of some especially interesting areas at some point. Heh. Maybe even output area maps, although that might be a little silly.

Income and the 2008 London elections

June 26th, 2008 by Al

Just been messing around with some experimental income statistics (last census here didn’t collect any income data so some people worked out a model. Probably not all that accurate, but fun anyway) and ward-level results from the London elections. Perfectly normal behavior I’m sure. Anyway, I looked at the data set that had weekly household income fiddled around with to take into account housing costs and so on and compared to the aforementioned ward-level election results. Following shows the number of wards in each income bracket won by each candidate (first prefs only)…

£ 800+,  Johnson 10, Livingstone 0
£ 650-800, Johnson 32, Livingstone 1
£550-650, Johnson 58, Livingstone 7
£500-550, Johnson 50, Livingstone 9
£450-500, Johnson 79, Livingstone 23
£400-450, Johnson 54, Livingstone 53
£350-400, Johnson 36, Livingstone 80
£300-350, Johnson 13, Livingstone 73
£200-300, Johnson 2, Livingstone 43

And now for the list vote…

£ 800+,  Con 10, Lab 0
£ 650-800, Con 32, LDem 1
£550-650, Con 62, Lab 2, LDem 1
£500-550, Con 51, Lab 7, Green 1
£450-500, Con 81, Lab 21
£400-450, Con 57, Lab 50
£350-400, Con 28, Lab 82, BNP 6
£300-350, Con 6, Lab 77, BNP 2, LDem 1
£200-300, Con 1, Lab 44

Wards that voted Johnson for Mayor and Labour for the (list) GLA break down like this:

£450-500: 2
£400-450: 1
£350-400: 2
£300-350: 5
£200-300: 1

And wards that voted Livingstone for Mayor and Tory for the list (GLA) break down like this:

£550-650: 5
£500-550: 1
£450-500: 4
£400-450: 5

All wards that went BNP on the list voted for Johnson, all wards that went Liberal or Green on the list voted for Livingstone. Small mistakes in the data be possible. Anyway, this is all just the raw data; the interpretation is left up to the reader (for now at least).

London, 2008

May 29th, 2008 by Al

A ward map of the 2008 London Mayoral election;

There’s so much that could be said and written about many of the patterns in the map and of the causes of Livingstone’s defeat. But here’s something written a quarter of a century ago that sums things up quite well;

“The danger, especially on the left, is not only that activists may be unaware of their and the party’s isolation from ordinary people, but that they may not care. They may actually give up the struggle for the workers as a whole, not to mention other sections of the people who do not happen to agree with the ‘correct’ policy or the way the party is run. They may choose their supporters to fit their convictions, in which case it is likely that others will look elsewhere. For instance, they may see their most congenial constituency as ‘the dispossessed’, ‘the centre of a big decaying city’, cosmopolitan and racially mixed, and look for a parliamentary seat in preference in such a place. ‘It would be a mistake to stand in a safe seat with a solid white skilled working class… I wouldn’t be happy there anyway’ (Ken Livingstone). Would it be surprising if the sort of people who have formed the ‘historic spine of the Labour Party’ would not be happy with such a candidate either? The strength of the labour movement has always been that it could represent all parts of the working class – both Stepney and the Fife coalfield – and it did not discriminate against any. If Ken Livingstone, who is one of the ablest, most prominent, most attractive and strategically placed figures in the party, feels really at ease with only some kinds of the inhabitants of Greater London – is it not reasonable to fear that it will be difficult for him to realize his own and his party’s political potential in Britain’s greatest city?”

Eric Hobsbawm, Labour’s Lost Millions, 1983

Oh, Pembrokeshire… I love you, but you’re *so* corrupt…

May 22nd, 2008 by Al

Read and weep:

Municipal Elections in Wales party, uh, three I think…

May 4th, 2008 by Al

Hope the maps show up alright (edit: some tweaking needed, but at least they show). On the left winning party for each ward (except in cases where the ward was split between an independent and someone from an official party) on the right all the wards that elected at least one independent are shown in light grey. Mistakes possible (and more likely on the latter map than the former). In some respects these sorts of maps aren’t all that useful (party vote maps being much more interesting) but you have to start somewhere…