Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Spurious Scottish Independence Maps

In a little over two weeks, on the 18th September, the citizens of Scotland will go the polls to vote on whether Scotland should become an independent country.

Portland Communications has been analyzing social media conversations around the debate of whether Scotland should become independent. This analysis has focused on a number of Twitter hashtags; #indyref, #YesScotland and #VoteYes (the Yes campaign’s primary hashtags), & #BetterTogether and #NoThanks (the No side’s hashtags).

The Scottish Independence Debate on Twitter includes two maps which look at the geographical distribution of these Tweets. One of these maps is a now almost obligatory CartoDB Torque library animated map of Tweets. This map animates through the geo-located Twitter messages (containing the above hastags) from 17th July 2014 to 15th August 2014.

As with most of these animated Twitter maps it is difficult to arrive at any conclusions from this map, apart from a lot of people use Twitter. One interesting spike in the data does occur on the 5th August, after the first televised debate on the issue.

The other map visualizes the density of Tweets with the researched hashtags. The map uses different colored markers to show those Tweets in favor of independence and those against. Again it would be extremely difficult to conclude anything from this map as Twitter is probably not the best place to conduct a representative poll of the voting population in Scotland.

UsvsTh3m have created their own poll on the question of whether Scotland should become independent and have mapped the results. Respondents are asked to enter the first part of their postcode and answer the question 'Should Scotland be an independent country?'.

Again this map should be taken with a pinch of salt as it is a hugely non-representative sample of the British public. However the map does show an interesting clear north/south divide in the UK, suggesting the further you live from Scotland then the more you are likely to be against its independence. Except if you live in Wales, then you are more likely to be favor of Scotland becoming independent.
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