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Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

Multi-seat Madness

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

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.

Some LA-4 maps

Monday, December 15th, 2008

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.

London, 2008

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

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

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

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

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…

Old House Results Maps IV: West Virginia 1972-2006

Saturday, March 29th, 2008


Old House Results Maps III: Pennsylvania 1992-2006

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Old House Results Maps II: Georgia 1982-2004

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

One more thing; the maps come without initial comment by me. I might comment on them later and I’ve no objection to people using leaving their own comments about them here (quite the reverse actually).

Old House Results Maps I: the Introduction and Key

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

A while ago I made a load of maps of old House of Representative elections (outline maps taken from all over the place; quite a few from this very site actually) and I made a few more recently (when I wasn’t very well and couldn’t concentrate on any real work but felt like doing something other than spending all day in bed) and thought I might as well put them up here. Pennsylvania and Georgia first. But before that, the key;

The maps will be by percentage majority (or percentage lead if you prefer). Mistakes (both in the maps and in the way the results be shown on them) are possible, sadly.

New Hampshire town maps

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Just noticed that Dave has uploaded town-level maps of the recent New Hampshire primaries. It’s worth comparing the results of the 2008 Democratic primary with those of the 2004 Democratic primary:

Clintonia Kerryland

While there are certainly similar patterns in both maps (Dean and Obama both did well on the border with Vermont, Clinton and Kerry both did well on the border with Massachusetts), there are some significant differences. I would go so far as to say that the differences are significant enough to indicate that the social basis of support for the top two candidates in 2008 was, at least in part, quite different to the social basis of support for the top two candidates in 2004.

Iowa Maps (pre-caucus)

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

With the Iowa caucus now almost upon us, ’tis perhaps time to give local politics in Wales a break and look instead to, well, Iowa. First maps (by, of course, Dave) show past caucus results, just to get into the mood of things:



First map shows the 2000 GOP primary, second 2000 Dem, third 2004 Dem. Next some demographic maps (from 2000 census and surveys and so on)…

The general idea is that comparing the results (when they come in) with the above maps might give us an early indication of the sort of people each candidate has real appeal to. And now, to bed.

EDIT: 1. % employed in primary industries (read: agriculture), 2. % ” ” manufacturing, 3. ” ” finance and so on, 4. % in the public sector, 5. % managerial/professional, 6. % with degrees, 7. median hh income, 8. strength of Evangelical churches, 9. strength of Roman Catholic church.

And now to bed.