Friday, June 12, 2009
Who voted today
The polls are about to close in Mt Albert. I don't have much to say about politics, I've spent most of my adult life at one university or another so I am, of course, incurably left wing but I don't regularly read any left leaning blogs. It's a truism that the loudest advocates on either side of the political spectrum have more in common with each other than the do with the rest of us, the political blogs produce such little light for so much heat that I don't bother. (Paul at the Fundy Post has done a better job of articulating a similar feeling).
But elections do interest me because they make so much data (at this point you may wish to reflect on the fact that most scientists score above the population average for Autism Spectrum tests). In the US they have sites like 538.com that put that data to work and, perhaps most importantly, make really pretty graphs. I'm sure DPF will pronounce that David Shearer's election is the inevitable result of a by-election held in a Labour stronghold and a campaign that started so poorly it was quietly shut-down while his counterparts on the left will celebrate a victory that reflects public opinion on the budget, Mr Key's pronunciation of the work 'texts' and Richard Worth's impropriety. Still, I thought it might be interesting to see exactly who voted today:
Parliamentary Services and each bar shows the percentage difference between Mt Albert and the country at large. For instance, in the 2008 election ~11% of Mt Albert's electors gave their party vote to the Greens against 6.5% for the country as a whole, so Mt Albert is 69% more Green (or, if you prefer Marxist-Gai-worshipiing-socialist-busybodyish...) than average. I'll leave interpretation to the reader but I will add one caveat, presenting the data as percentage differences runs into the same problems that popular accounts of medical research so frequently slip into when they report the relative risk presented by some food drug or gene. Even though Mt Albert has 20% more New Agers than average (labeled hippies in the religion section of my chart) the suburb is not fill of crystal-clutching Wiccans, in absolute numbers there are 369 New-Agers, about 30 more than the national average