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Unprecedented fragmentation, a weakened government that will have to go in search for further allies to keep functioning, and a new record low for the Labour Party. Because of the continuing collapse of the Labour Party, the results also constituted the worst performance for the left overall in provincial elections since 1994, while centrist parties?—?the Democrats ’66, a party for the elderly and various regional lists?—?did well. I contributed a rather exhaustive analysis of the election results, with plenty of maps and charts, as guest post to the World Elections blog. The referendum on Scottish independence last night ended up as the No camp hoped, the Yes camp had been trying not to think about, and almost exactly as I’d predicted, though I was certainly not alone.
Ah, even better: Antony Green also made a map of the 2011 SNP vote by council area, which is the administrative unit by which the referendum results were announced. Comparing the geographical spread of the Yes vote in the referendum with the SNP result in the UK elections of 2010 is less relevant, considering the much smaller share of the vote the SNP received in those elections. Stephen Fisher did great work explaining what seemed like a paradox in this post at his blog Elections Etc. Only after controlling for the effects of socio-economic circumstances is there such a clear relationship between the Yes vote and SNP support. Despite its populist image, the governing Fidesz party is still very much a bourgeois party, at least in Budapest.
The electoral geography of Budapest, as it relates to income levels, does not necessarily follow the same logic as that of Hungary as a whole. The fact that a party does best in the richest (or poorest) areas doesn’t necessarily mean it also does best among the richest (or poorest) voters.
Last Sunday’s state elections in Saxony were marked by a low turnout, an only slightly eroded dominant position of the Christian-Democrats, and an imposing result for the right-wing, anti-system Alliance for Germany (AfD) party.
Election night had its share of suspense as the extreme-right NPD hovered right around the 5% electoral threshold. There are several interesting geographic dimensions to the results, and I created an infographic at Infogr.am to share them.
It’s not easy for local elections in a country the size of The Netherlands to make the international news.
Which got the Dutch election night headline space from the BBC to The Guardian, from the Times of Israel to Al-Jazeera, and from Fox News to the Huffington Post.
All of which was pretty unfair, considering that Wilders’ Freedom Party (or the PVV, as the Dutch call it) had been something of a non-entity in the whole local elections campaign.
There are two questions about this argument: To what extent were they right, concerning the developments as they unfolded in the last days of January? Poland’s Centre for Eastern Studies, which created the map used in the Monkey Cage blog post, summarized the state of the Ukrainian protests on January 29 in a detailed briefing, covering events across the country. By then the Centre had already published more detailed write-ups of ongoing events in the previous few days. Even if only a few thousand people took part in those various protests, that may indeed have been unprecedented; after all, in Luhansk for example, Yanukovych received over 80% of the vote in the last presidential elections.
Vice versa, eighteen policemen were injured in Dnipropetrovsk alone, according to regional authorities.
Anti-government protesters in Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk talked to France24 about their motivations on January 27th. The slideshare touting the protests’ strength makes mention of football fans several times. The Ukrainian Center for Social and Marketing Research SOCIS last week released the results of a poll it conducted between 17 and 26 January. Yanukovych’s party won the 2012 elections by racking up 65% of the vote in the Donetsk region, over 50% of the vote in Lugansk and the Crimea, and some 40% of the vote in the regions of Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odessa and Mykolaiv. In the same poll, respondents were given a straight choice between entry into the EU and entry into a Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. In some regions, the mere prospect of increasing protest did seem to change some of the political dynamics.
Anton Davydchenko, the leader of a group called National Unity in Odessa which claims to have rallied over 1,000 volunteers, all ready to take up arms against anti-government protesters if necessary, would presumably recognize some of these descriptions and take issue with others. All in all, the authorities in the South and East seem to have succeeded in beating back any challenge which local protesters posed to their position in late January. In the end, if the protest movement is to crack the South and East in a meaningful way, it may not be up to the protesters themselves. The others, however, are still hedging their bets, at best - and it would have to be someone like Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man and still powerful in his native Donetsk, to really overturn the dynamics.
For convenience’s sake, I gathered electoral maps for all the presidential and parliamentary elections in those twenty years (as well as the 1991 independence referendum), in one big overview file. Oddly, the candidates actually running for presidential office sometimes seemed irrelevant to the geographic divide itself. Moreover, Keegan’s point appears more vindicated when looking at the 1991 referendum results, though the division there was merely one between a large versus a near-unanimous majority in favour of idependence, or, especially, the 1994 presidential elections. Two pictures of the meeting and the prospective candidates who volunteered to stand for TUSC in Waltham Forest in 2014.

Those were the main features of the outcome of last month’s provincial elections, on March 18, which determined not just the make-up of provincial legislatures but also the Dutch Senate. The result is an anti-climax after such excitement and absolutely unprecedented turnout, and it leaves election obsessives picking through the results.
All the more impressive that the pro-independence activists managed to get the city behind their cause. For example, the SNP won over 52% of the vote in the Moray, Aberdeenshire and Angus council areas in 2011. That’s 14% of the just 20% of Scottish voters who opted for the SNP in the Westminster elections.
Conversely, electoral support for the far-right Jobbik in Budapest tends to be stronger the poorer a neighbourhood is.
For example, in the European elections at least, the Socialist Party (MSzP) did seem to do better in the poorer, working class districts of Budapest than in the more prosperous ones. The AfD was helped by the fact that these elections, the first state elections it ever took part in, took place in the very state where the party had already done best in the federal and European elections. Below the fold, I accompany the Infogr.am charts with a few observations about what they show. The local, Yanukovych-friendly administrations and oligarchs usually keep these cities on a tight reign.
Sumy and Kirovohrad went for Tymoshenko over Yanukovych in the last elections, so it isn’t all that surprising that opposition protests would break out there. That day, however, “some protesters decided that we should go to the regional administration building.
There’s a long history of politics and football mixing, and Ukraine offers a new episode. The party would get 29% of the vote in parliamentary elections, and he himself is polling at 29-30% in presidential match-ups. A plurality of 43% chose for the EU, but 32% preferred the Customs Union (with the rest offering no answer), and that latter number will be proportionally higher in the East and South. Lesser moguls will not do, as two of the richest businessmen in Dnipropetrovsk found out after January 25.
The dividing lines today are, after all, not very different from the borders of previous eras – could they become real borders of one kind of another again? On February 4, a week after the small protests in the South and East crested, an AP report concluded that “two months into Ukraine’s anti-government protests, the two sides are only moving further apart.
It’s no secret that the same broad geographic divide appeared, time and again, in most of the elections since 1991, when Ukraine gained independence. In 1991, the former dissident Viacheslav Chornovil was the worthy but politically weak candidate who won only in the Galician northwest of the country, while former apparatchik Leonid Kravchuk based his landslide victory on wide support in the south and east. A map overlaying the borders between Imperial Russia and Imperial Germany on the Polish election results of 2007 has done the rounds online among map geeks for a few years because of the striking correspondence it reveals.
But here is the result, overlaying different historical borders on the 2010 Presidential election results. Vote Against the Tories!We stand in the tradition of the late Bob Crow, a co-founder of TUSC, who was well known for his support for international workers’ solidarity while opposing the EU as a body that was pushing anti-worker and pro-austerity policies.
If anything, due to the Glasgow-centered nature of the YES vote, there is more of an overlap with the map of the Labour Party’s 2011 results (even though Labour, of course, campaigned against independence). One might reasonably speculate that the share of NO voters among the much larger pool of those who voted for the SNP in 2011 was significantly larger still. But at the same time, the party’s results in Budapest as a whole were the best it received across the country, even though Budapest is also the most prosperous region of the country.
Nevertheless, its 9.7% of the vote was remarkable and well beyond what the polls had foreseen.
And that’s what he did, on March 19, when the municipal election results were being tallied. Moreover, as was mentioned in almost none of these stories, it actually lost votes in both cities.
The slideshare used three of Sergii Gorbachov’s detailed maps, presenting the situation on January 25-27.
Local fans of Metalist Kharkiv and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk protected demonstrators from attacks by aggressive pro-government groups, AFP reported on the 31st, along with even fans of Shakhtar Donetsk, in Yanukovych’s own hometown.
But not necessarily in terms of measuring the balance of public opinion across the regions. If the Party of the Regions remains at strength and the Communists hold on to at least half of their vote, as this new poll suggests, then a majority of those who have an opinion in these regions are likely still in their camp. In the Dnipropetrovsk region, the Party of the Regions and the Communist Party pooled 55% of the vote in 2012 while Fatherland, UDAR and Freedom added up to 38%, so if shifts are taking place roughly proportionally around the country, that region too would at best be evenly divided now. But elsewhere  in the South and East, any challenge to the grip of Yanukovych loyalists seems to have been beaten back. They won’t be motivated by political idealism, but by self-interest, needing the doors to the EU to stay open, stability to return to the country, and themselves not to be targeted by financial and visa sanctions to protect their wealth. That day, Hennadiy Korban and Borys Filatov decided to air live broadcasts of the antigovernment protests in Kyiv on a large outdoor screen at a shopping mall they owned, and hoist the flags of the EU and Ukraine at their local properties.

But in 1995, the roles were reversed: Kravchuk won constituencies across the north and west when he lost his reelection bid against Leonid Kuchma, who swept the vote in the south and east. It can’t be a coincidence that the historical background of that region is wholly separate. Check out this map of the Holodomor – the genocidal, man-made famine that struck large parts of Ukraine, which is often blamed on indifference or outright malice on the part of Stalin and his regime. In addition, I used the Wikipedia page and subpages on the administrative raions of Ukraine,  and a detailed Ukrainian Wikimedia map of the electoral multimandate raions of the country. Read moreWhat we stand forTUSC will oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions.
So you’d expect a fairly close relation between the map of the 2011 SNP vote and the referendum vote. That would still make for a geographic anomaly though, because it would mean that the habitual non-voters who did come out to vote now were much more unionist-minded in SNP strongholds than their peers in other council areas. But when those parties run separately, their support reveals very differing geographic patterns. The relation between Fidesz and Jobbik votes and income levels in Budapest also appear to be quite different from how they work out in some of the other regions. Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Odessa have a million inhabitants each; Zaporizhia has over 800,000.
The BBC linked to videos showing vigilante titushki, armed with seemingly identical batons, gathering inside a Dnipropetrovsk government building and then rushing out to viciously beat up demonstrators. That’s about 10% more than these parties received in the 2012 parliamentary elections. In openDemocracy, Valery Kalnysh recapped polling data from late December, when the Euromaidan protests were already ongoing but hadn’t yet escalated, and they showed that 50% of Ukrainians then supported Euromaidan while 42% did not, and that opponents were far in the majority in the East, by 65% to 30%. Hours later, the New York Times recounted, the electricity was suddenly cut to all their three shopping malls.
Dividing Ukraine up into seven large states, each with its own parliament, would pull the country back from the brink of civil war and prevent the country from falling apart, the communists argue. Political divisions, both within the country and the protest camp itself, will remain, and possibly become more pronounced” over time.
Those elections marked the first real time that the electoral map showed a dividing line right down the middle of the country that would start marking election maps again in every major election after 2002.
Whereas the rest of northwestern Ukraine used to belong to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and much of it to interbellum Poland as well, this region was belonged to the Austro-Hungarian empire until WW1, and to Czechoslovakia between the two world wars.
That piqued my curiosity, so I ventured on an effort to do a similar overlay to the Polish one: how do the old Polish and Lithuanian borders with Russia overlap with Ukraine’s current political polarization? Check out how the territory that still belonged to Poland in between the two world wars overlaps with the most overwhelming support for Tymoshenko (click the map to enlarge). Compare it with the post-independence electoral maps, and any overlap is … hard to see.
Delineating the far eastern border of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a bit difficult since some settlements like the erstwhile Krylov that were right on the border back then have long been submerged in the Kremenchuk dam reservoir. Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts. But exit poll after exit poll has confirmed that, although the correlation is becoming weaker over time, the party does better among lower-income voters and worse among higher-income ones. In the Crimea, the regional parliament banned the Freedom party, though it was forced to reverse its decision on February 7. But the opposition, not altogether without reason, is likely to see this as a mere Russian strategy to break up the state and seize the South and East. If anything, the Holodomor was most devastating in areas that now habitually side with Russia-friendly politicians like Yanukovich. In the south, the problem in defining how the historical border overlaps with current territories, lacking more detailed maps, lies with the transfer of Transnistria to Moldova.
Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services.Our policiesJoinTUSC has had hundreds of declarations of support. Especially when you consider that large numbers of Labour voters came out in favour of independence, as Glasgow shows, could this mean that a significant number of SNP voters came out against independence?
However, since we’re dealing with data by city district rather than by whole states here, such a paradox should be less likely to occur. A whole series of polls by different pollsters between May and November 2013 had showed a similar balance of opinion, with support for EU access consistently at 41-47% and, with the one exception of a November poll, support for the Customs Union at 31-40%. As January ended, one reporter found no more protests in Donetsk, just a middle-aged local scoffing: “Euromaidan? Korban be detained and interrogated as a witness in connection with a previously dormant investigation of a 2012 murder”.

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