Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Mapping out the UK General Election 2015

Found this great blog with a insight into the next election thru the power of maps. read more at  http://election-data.blogspot.co.uk/   or follow on twitter

Find below part of an article from the above blog

I want to use this post to examine the political map in the 2015 UK general election in much the same way. The aim of this post is NOT to get into long drawn-out discussions about which seats are already in the bag for any of the political parties. I know I will get some respondents disagreeing with my methods. I know that many of you will likely have different criterion on which you judge a seat to be 'safe'. If you want to get into a debate about what is or isn't a 'safe' seat this is the wrong place to do so. Rather I want to show how the UK is not that different from its cousins across the pond. We too have our 'goat seats'. We too have zones and areas of the country where it would be cost-effective for the campaigns to avoid.

So, let's make a start. I am going to start by listing the seats where the same winning party has polled over 50% in the last four general elections. So, for example in Aberavon Labour have polled 51.9, 60.1, 63.1, and 71.3 per cent in the last four elections, each time securing winning margins of at least 35%. Similarly in Hampshire North East the Conservatives have polled 60.6, 53.1, 53.2 and 50.9 per cent in the last four elections, each time securing winning margins of at least 28%. There are 52 such constituencies in the United Kingdom, with a population of over 5 million and an area of 4,791 square kilometres. Half of these seats are in London or the North West and are predominantly Labour-dominated. In fact only seven of the 52 are not currently dominated by Labour. The map below shows their distribution.

Next I took those seats which the same winning party has secured majorities of over 20% in each of the last four elections. This added another 51 seats to the 52 we already have. So now there are 103 seats with large majorities and/or massive vote share for a single party. These 103 seats account for almost 10 million people in seats with an area of 19,937 square kilometres. This is an area roughly the size of Wales, with a population greater than the cities of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow combined. The map is shown below:

I did the same for those seats with consistent 15%+ winning majorities for a single party from at least the last three elections, and included those which have only had two elections due to new parliamentary boundaries. This further shrinks the map. There are now 215 constituencies which have established consistent large majorities, large enough to be outside the reasonable expectation of a seat changing hands. These 215 constituencies comprise 20,576,440 people, around a third of the population. These constituencies take up an area of almost 70,000 square kilometres. The map is shown below:

The final stage was to use my own judgement in selecting those seats where one could reasonably expect a particular party to win. In doing this I used those seats my own models are projecting to be a very high probability of success for a particular party. These judgement calls are clearly personal, and in the weeks and months to come I expect to reveal some of the methods I use here. However, I have purposely being very conservative in these choices on this occasion and set my models up likewise. This further shrinks the map, although I must say here that I would personally 'call' a number of seats not included based on my experience and the numbers. That said, even with a conservative setting, the map now shows 351 seats where it is reasonable to assume the result is known in 2015.

These 351 seats have a population of 33,881,216 people with a land area of 114,919 square kilometres. This is an area equal to the whole of England excluding the East Midlands, over half of the population. The map is shown below:

I know many of you will challenge both my methods and assumptions. But this post is intended to display the geography of political priorities and to underline how, for many people, politics is simply not worth the effort. In future posts I will further analyse the geographical distribution of the target seats of all the main parties, together with the efficacy of campaign spending. For now it's enough to simply present the numbers.


  1. Great maps, but I have to disagree with your closing remarks. Politics is *always* worth the effort.

    FPTP makes every voter equal to the other. None has more votes than anyone else as in preferential systems. If one happens to live in an area of a high majority for one party, it is no excuse not to vote or be bothered with politics.

    1. Absolute tripe. FPTP means that various voters votes worth far more than others. First, there is the size of constituency, which means certain constituencies are massive compared with tiny ones. But also there are the issues with whether voting makes an impact or difference on the constituency. This means that many votes make no difference in the slightest


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