Sunday, December 08, 2019

The UK Election Map

On Thursday the UK will be electing a new government. However we don't need to wait until Friday for the first interactive UK election map. In preparation for this week's general election the Economist has released a map which allows you to explore how a number of different demographic factors shaped the 2017 UK election.

The Economist's The political geography of the 2017 election allows you to visualize on an interactive map how different demographic factors, such as age, race and population density effect the results in individual UK constituencies. The map also allows you to explore the support for Brexit in each UK constituency, based on the 2016 EU referendum results.

One of the surprises in the last UK general election was the high youth turnout. In general young people overwhelmingly vote Labour. However traditionally turnout among the young is very low compared to the turnout of older voters, who tend to vote in large numbers for the Conservative Party. The unexpected large turnout of young voters in the last UK election is one of the main reasons the polling companies underestimated the Labour vote in 2017 (I believe that for the 2019 election all but one of the major polling companies have now changed their weightings towards respondent's self-declared voting intentions rather than weighting by age).

The Economist's interactive map includes two age filters. You can choose to see the seats won by the percentage of the population who are 16-34 years old. Alternatively you can choose to view the number of seats won by the percentage of the population over 65. Using these two filters you can explore for yourself how the age breakdown of the local population can have a drastic effect on the results in different constituencies.

Population density is another major demographic factor in voting intention. Like many other countries around the world rural electoral areas in the UK tend to vote more conservatively than urban constituencies. The Economist's map allows you to see the results of the 2017 UK election by the local population density. If you select a range on the population density slider and then drag it up and down to show constituencies with higher and lower population densities you can observe how the number of seats won by the Conservative Party goes down and the Labour Party seats rise as the map shows the more densely populated constituencies.

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