Changing Italian Voting Patterns?

Italy 2013 election Monti Vote MapThe recently completed 2013 Italian General Election has been avidly discussed in the international media. The contest failed to produce a clear winning coalition in the senate, resulting in a hung parliament. It also saw the eclipse of the centrist, technocratic, austerity-oriented party of Prime Minister Mario Monti, which received only about 10 percent of the vote nationwide, as well as the strong return of Silvio Berlusconi, whose coalition barely missed taking a plurality of votes. Perhaps most striking was the strong third-place showing of the… – Read More

Ethnicity and Political Division in Ghana

Ghana 2012 Presidential Election MapAfrica Democracy Index MapGhana is often regarded as West Africa’s best-governed country, with a relatively well-established system of democratic rule. Although the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index for 2011 rates Ghana as a “flawed democracy,” it is nonetheless only one of two democracies listed in the region. (Mali appears in the same category on the map, but it has recently lost its democratic status.) Ghana’s December 2012 presidential election reinforced its democratic standing. The election was… – Read More

Intense Regionalism in the South Korean Presidential Election of 2012

300px-South_Korean_presidential_election_2012.svg South Korea is usually considered to be one of the world’s most homogenous countries. Regional differences in dialect are relatively minor, with only that of Jeju island being distinctive enough to merit designation as a separate language by linguistic splitters. A pronounced sense of Korean nationalism, moreover, is found across the country. But despite these commonalities, South Korea is still characterized by intense regionalism, as is evident in election returns. The December 19, 2012 presidential election in particular revealed deep political cleavages.

Geographical Patterns in the Czech Presidential Election

Czech Presidential Election MapThe president of the Czech Republic occupies a largely ceremonial position, with little real power. The country’s recent presidential election, however, was a hotly contested and closely watched contest, in part because it was the first time that the office was filled through a direct election. Also of significance was the issue of historical memory, focusing on Czech relations with Germany and ethnic Germans during and immediately after World War II. The victorious candidate, Miloš Zeman, of the left-leaning Social Democratic Party, cast nationalistic aspersions against his… – Read More

Military Conscription and Austrian Electoral Geography

Conscription World MapNote to Readers: The invaluable website Electoral Geography 2.0: Mapped Politics  has posted a number of interesting electoral maps over the past several months while GeoCurrents focused on linguistic issues. For the next week or two, we will examine several of these maps in detail, beginning with the portrayal of a seemingly minor but nonetheless intriguing election, the Austrian Conscription Referendum of 2013.

Conscription of Women MapAs the Wikipedia map posted to the left shows, roughly… – Read More

Changes in U.S. Electoral Geography from 2000 to 2012: A Renewed North/South Divide?

As noted in a previous post, the presidential contest of 2000 seems to have been a watershed event in U.S. electoral geography. Up until that point, successful Democratic candidates enjoyed considerable support in many predominantly rural counties dominated by Whites, particularly in the Upper South (see the map of the 1996 election). In order for the Democrats to have carried many of these counties, southern candidates seem to have been necessary. As a result, all successful Democratic candidates from 1964 to 1996 were southerners (Lyndon Johnson… – Read More

Iowa, Minnesota, and the Anomalous Zone on the U.S. Electoral Map

In recent U.S. presidential elections, rural counties have tended to vote heavily for the Republican candidates. As a result, most of the United States is shaded red on county-level electoral maps. Most of the low-population counties that do support Democratic candidates fall into one of several categories. In some cases the explanation is clearly demographic; the heavily African-American belt stretching from southeastern Virginia to western Mississippi, the heavily Hispanic areas of northern New Mexico and southern Texas, and the scattered Native American counties in the northern… – Read More

The Republican Postmodern Turn, Silicon Valley, and California’s Political Transformation

The New York Times map of county-level changes in the U.S. presidential vote from 2008 to 2012 shows almost every county in California shifting red in the Republican direction. In most counties, the change was minor. Barack Obama still took California by almost 60 percent of the vote, a figure exceeded (among states) only by Hawaii (70.6%), Vermont (67%), Rhode Island (62.7%), New York (63.6%), Maryland (61.7%), and Massachusetts (60.8%). And in the California legislative contests, the Democratic Party triumphed handily, and is now poised… – Read More

California’s Changing Electoral Geography, Part I

The website of the California Secretary of State provides much valuable information on the recent election, which featured eleven state proposition. But the site also includes the five most pointless electoral maps I have ever seen, maps in which every county is depicted in an identical manner because the ballot initiative in question either carried all counties in the state or failed to carry a single one. As can be seen in the image posted here, the residents of every California country approved Proposition 40… – Read More

Preliminary Observations on the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Several pundits have claimed that the second major victor in yesterday’s U.S. presidential election was statistician Nate Silver, who correctly picked the winner in every state, thereby seemingly demonstrating the power of Bayesian analysis—when done correctly. In scrutinizing Silver’s final pre-election map, I can find only a few minor instances in which was not fully on-target (Iowa, for example, was not as close as he had depicted it). In a Slate column, however, Daniel Engber claims that the real credit should go to the… – Read More

Thai Transsexual Wins Election

Yonlada Suanyos, a transsexual woman, recently gained fame by becoming Thailand’s first katoey (or openly transgender person) to be elected to public office. Ms. Suanyos, a PhD candidate who also runs a television station and a jewelry business, will soon become a councilor in Nan province in northern Thailand. She was formerly a member of a transgender music group called Venus Flytrap, performing under the name of Posh Venus. – Read More

The Urban/Rural Divide in Slovenia’s Recent Election

Several recent GeoNotes have emphasized the urban/rural divide in U.S. Republican presidential primary elections. The same pattern is evident elsewhere, and is illustrated in a particularly striking manner in the recent Slovenian Family Code Referendum. The new family law code, which had been passed by the Slovenian Parliament, extended the rights of same-sex couples and prohibited the corporal punishment of children. A conservative group called “Civil Initiative for the Family and the Rights of Children” opposed the law and collected enough signatures to force a… – Read More

Geographical Patterns in the Louisiana Republican Primary

The map of the Louisiana Republican presidential primary supplied by the Huffington Post last week revealed little of interest: Mitt Romney won Orleans Parish (encompassing New Orleans) decisively, and Rick Santorum took every other part of the state. A modified version of the map that shows Santorum’s margin of victory, however, reveals several other patterns. As can be seen, Santorum did not do quite as well in urban parishes as he did in rural ones, at least in the southern half of the state. His margin… – Read More