Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vancouver Election: Geography of Politics

On November 19th Vancouver voted and on November 20th, data geeks were having at it. On election night, it was fun just watching the results roll in on the city map, with each division going either red or green. And it was a nail-biter (I don't think I was the only one screaming for last hold-out in the West End to report) that made all the difference for the Green Party's Adriane Carr who beat out COPE's Ellen Woodsworth by 90 votes for the 10th and final Councillor spot. It does go to show you that every vote counts.

At the end of the spectacle, we had a city that was very much green with some significant pockets of red:
But what does it all mean? It's a very simple map: green division are ones in which Robertson received a plurality of votes and the Red ones are which Anton received a plurality. At first glace, the City seems to be divided on a more North-South axis instead the assumed East-West one. However, another map that Frances Bula posted shows a bit more detail:
In this map, Robertson's core support is in the North-East and Anton's is in the South-West. Most of the rest of the city it seems his support hovers around the 50% mark. Here's another map someone put together that I got from twitter that I have no idea how to embed properly (if you know how, let me know!), so you'll have to click on this link to see the details:
But it'll show you the details per division when you click on them. Here's the stats for my division, #124:

One other thing that most remarked was how low the voter turnout was at 35%. Here's a map the shows the percentage turnout by division:
Participation rate was highest in the West side of the city. I personally wonder if it's because of a high student population or if it has something to do with land value, income or ethnic background. What drives those people to the polls more than any where else in the city? If anyone would like to speculate, please do so. One thing to note is actually how low Vancouver's participation has ALWAYS been. So this election and the last one isn't really out the ordinary. On the contrary, an election with higher than 50% turn out would be out of the ordinary. Still, doesn't make it right.

Over all, what does this tell us about our city? It seems to reaffirm that people tend to gravitate to places/neighbourhoods in the city that they identity with and that they chose to surround themselves with like-minded people. Or, maybe that because of certain constraints (like income) we end up living with and socializing with similar people?

Did you learn anything about your neighbourhood from the way that it voted?

Also, check out fellow blogger, Canadian Veggie, for his analysis which is super interesting.

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