Monday, 21 January 2008

Mapping the 2007 State Duma elections: turnout analysis

A friend and colleague showed me the above chart which has been bouncing round the Russian blogosphere this weekend. It shows, along the bottom, percentage voter turnouts, against the number of constituencies.

Your eye might first be caught by the far right of the chart: the number of constituencies reporting over 90% turnout. Well, my colleague points out, that this is not so unusual actually. In some parts of Russia there would have been near ubiquitous turn-out: far-flung military bases being a good example (which form tiny constituencies all of their own).

No, the interesting thing to note – and this data comes from the Central Election Commission’s own stats – are those little peaks: around 60%, 70%, 80% etc. in most non-compulsory election systems you would expect a normal distribution (or bell) curve; peaking around the 50-60% mark. The peaks around some fairly…um … ‘headline’ numbers are interesting.

There have been some snarky comments about this in the Russian blogosphere. I won’t comment: not least as I am reminded that, in Russia, it is a criminal offense for foreigners to criticize the government, state, church or cultural institutions. Said colleague may have been tempted to post about this on our corporate blog, which sadly I would have to veto: that would be the wrong sort of political development for our corporate blog to discuss. Either reader, though, looking at the chart, may care to draw their own conclusions.

No comments: