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Something For the Weekend…

A couple of little gems here on the European election results.

First, the Election Data Blog has produced a series of maps, showing the European election vote by area for each of the main parties (a category that still, just about, includes the Liberal Democrats). You can find them here:

http://election-data.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/european-election-results-2014.html

For the Welsh maps, scroll down the page (though I’m sure that many of you will find the English maps interesting as well). The maps re-produce the results by local authority area, although they also then have the constituency boundaries drawn in.

Second, Ian Clarke has produced an Excel spreadsheet containing all the results for each party: both in terms of numbers of votes and percentage share. Unfortunately, the system hosting this Blog doesn’t seem to allow me to post Excel files, so I have converted it into a PDF here. It’s certainly interesting to look at the percentages for each party; a few points I pulled out were:

  • The sheer consistency of the UKIP vote share: their lowest percentage was the 19.75% in Gwynedd (the only LA in which their vote share was below 20%) and their highest the 33.8% in Merthyr. Of course, from the viewpoint of winning constituency seats in a future general election, such even support is not helpful. As the SDP-Liberal Alliance proved years ago, even quite high levels of support can win you few seats if you do not concentrate your support effectively.
  • Labour scored the highest vote share in any LA, with 46.5% in Blaenau Gwent. They also, along with UKIP, were the only party to score in double-figures for vote share everywhere; their lowest share was the 10.3% in Ceredigion.
  • Plaid Cymru did well in four LAs, coming first in vote share in Ynys Mon, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Gwynedd. Aside from that, though, they failed even to reach 20% anywhere.
  • The only places where the Liberal Democrats got into double figures (or even close to it) on vote share were Ceredigion and Powys.
  • The Greens’ highest shares were in Wales’ largest city, Cardiff, and one of the most rural of seats, Ceredigion. This apparent stark contrast is probably partly accounted for the fact that the two areas are those with some of the highest proportions in Wales of current or past University students.
  • The highest share for the Socialist Party of Great Britain was the 0.29% in Rhondda Cynon Taf; something to build on, comrades.

Ian has also run a couple of correlations for UKIP vote share by LA. One is with the percentage of the population of each LA born in England. Interestingly, the correlation here is fairly weak but also negative: on average UKIP scored a lower vote share where the English-born population was higher. The second is between UKIP vote share and the ‘2011 Deprivation Index’ for each LA: here the correlation is moderate (r=0.30) but positive; this is consistent with the individual-level research on UKIP support, which suggests that far from being a party of ‘Golf Club Bores’ as some media stereotypes would suggest, UKIP support is drawn disproportionately from the socio-economic ‘left behinds’. Most people who vote for UKIP have never seen the inside of a golf club.

Comments

  • Simon Brooks

    The comments on the Ukip support in relation to (English) ethnicity is very interesting, and part of the conundrum is that many of the more ‘English’ counties happen also to be among the more Welsh-speaking. And so it may be that a relatively high ‘English’ Ukip vote is masked by a very low vote among the Welsh-speaking majority (non-Welsh speaking voters in other parts of Wales veering towards the UK norm in terms of support). Alternatively, of course, it may be that ‘English’ ethnicity becomes hybridized in Welsh-speaking areas of Wales and thus distanced from support for Ukip, and perhaps this explains a very mild negative correlation. Either way, some more research on this would be very welcome.

  • J.Jones

    I don’t think that a lot of research is needed Simon; the Fro Cymraeg is where the majority vote Plaid; Plaid was under threat of losing its MEP and made enormous efforts to maximise its vote in its heartlands. From what I can see their vote this time exceeded their vote in 2009 in those counties, even though their national vote dropped by 15,000.

    The problem is the same as I mentioned earlier; although nationalists want to link everything to English/Welsh nationalities other factors transcend that simple analysis.
    Of the England-born people that I have asked (we all live in Gwynedd) myself and three others voted Labour, one voted Green and one did vote UKIP. Personal anecdote is pretty useless for judging general truths but Plaid supporters are determined to “blame” UKIP support on English immigration…it’s too simplistic and it doesn’t work. “For Wales see England” when it comes to motivation.

  • Simon Brooks

    I didn’t say that the Ukip was an English vote; I merely noted some issues for further research. It is quite common for members of ethnic groups to become hybridized on moving to another country; by which I mean they take on some of the characteristics of their new community and blend them with their own. For example, Ceredigion has always had a very substantial English-born population voting Plaid, doing ‘Welsh things’, many learning the language etc. This process is very common in postcolonial societies, and given that Ukip acts in England as the English Nationalist Party it would be useful to see what role it plays in Wales. Is it the English Nationalist Party, or is it the British Nationalist Party, or is it a bit of both? Perhaps it acts as the English Nationalist Party in Kinmel Bay, for example, but not so in Tregaron? Some further research on this would be interesting.

    • J.Jones

      I think that it’s easiest to think of the large UKIP vote as a reflexive swipe of uninformed rage across Wales…..a feeling that things are wrong and no one is doing much about it. To most the European elections mean little and so tribal loyalties can be set aside. In the Fro of course the Europeans did matter.

      Carwyn and Labour particularly should beware in case it becomes a habit.

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