A Walk Down Electoral Calculus Memory Lane

Electoral Calculus is a well respected UK based political consultancy that has been around for close to 30 years now. Headed by mathematician Martin Baxter, its main interface with the public is to predict UK elections. “Predicting” elections in the UK, just like the US, is a bit more complicated than polling the national sentiment like those of us in proportional representation countries are used to, since the lower houses of both countries elect members from winner take all districts. [Read More]

Campaign Spending

We got a look at candidates’s spend during the 2022 election this week. ToM even gave readers the option to download the raw data, which we can use for a deeper look into the issue, especially if we join with election day data (look at the appendix at the bottom for more info on this). What’s the range of Campaign Spending? Most candidates spent around 7,000 euros. Some however spent markedly less, and a handful spent upwards of 20,000 euros (median was 4,200). [Read More]

How far is the nearest bus stop?

Access to public transportation is a relatively important affair, since it translates into the accessibility to healthcare for the elderly and directly ties into educational and work opportunities, especially for lower socioeconomic groups. Answering how well Malta is served is actually not that hard, given that you phrase the question along the lines of ‘how far is it to the nearest bus stop?’, ignoring things like frequency and routes. [Read More]

What the heck was that election

This post will feature a general rant before diving into these topics: District Trends Polling Error Shift of Electoral Support Did the Gender Quota misfire? Small Parties/independents in this election vs. others How do Chits and sampling help the parties call the election? Rant Before the Graphs That was a weird election, and not so much in the overall result. [Read More]

2022 Election Forecast Methodology

What is this and why? An election forecast that tries to: Project a more accurate picture of what might happen on election day using aggregations of public polls (in the hope that there is wisdom in crowds). Quantify all we know about the election and how it might unfold onto a probability space. It was inspired by popular forecasts that appear on fivethirtyeight.com, The Upshot or The Economist. [Read More]

Using Urbanisation Score as a Socio-political Predictor

Measures of an area’s urban-rural score play an important part in political science, and sites like fivethirtyeight and the Economist often use it as part of their election forecast models. This factor particularly makes sense in first past the post systems like the UK and US, where regional leans can influence national politics. While they should make less of an impact on a national level in proportional systems like ours, understanding individual districts might be beneficial for many other purposes. [Read More]

Elections and Quarantines

Postal Voting The Electoral Commission’s recent plans for accommodating those in quarantine make sense from a democratic point of view, after all, every eligible voter should be given a chance to cast their vote. The drive-through solution verges a tad on the absurd, but it’s worth bearing in mind Malta still never got around to implementing a postal voting system, a rarity in western democracies. Normally, this just means that the state has to subsidise flights for citizens living abroad who have to vote, but this time round it also means we can’t use the mail to vote in a pandemic like the US did. [Read More]

Deepdiving into Survey Methodology and that new ToM Poll

New Esprimi Poll Times of Malta/Esprimi came out with a new poll last weekend with some newer methodology than we’re used to. Though I have a feeling it largely made the rounds and captured the imagination of many because it bumped up the “40,000 lead” net figure to “50,000”. Percentage wise however, we’re bang on to other recent polls, in the 41% range for PN and 58% range for PL. [Read More]

Measuring Urban Heat Islands using Sentinel 3

How Pronounced are Heat Islands? I was inspired by this visualization to create something similar to see the extent of the urban heat island phenomena over the Maltese islands. Unfortunately, there isn’t a city of Washington D.C. equivalent ready to provide us with a calculated raster. I could either use Landsat 8 and try to calculate the Land Surface Temperature using one of the many algorithms devised or work with Sentinel 3 data from the EU’s Copernicus Programme. [Read More]

Tracking Frontex's Newest UAV

This is a high level article on the UAV operations. If you want more background on how I load and store the data, head here. Reports in a number of portals including Times of Malta show that an unmanned aerial vehicle has been deployed from Luqa airport. The timing, right ahead of the typically busy summer migration time, seems to be an indication of what the main mission probably is. [Read More]