MEP2024 Polling

How off were the polls this time round? The dust hadn’t even settled on Sunday evening, and prognosticators already started debriefing the apparent “polling miss”, all seemingly settling on the vote of the “undecideds” as being the cause. But let’s take a step back and see just how far off they were in the first place. I collected public polling published in the last 2 months. The solid line is 1st count party vote share for the MEP elections: often the thing polls are implicitly asking. [Read More]

Parliament's Composition Under Different Electoral Systems: a Defense of Malta's STV5

Intro Our electoral system has been facing a relentless slow drip of criticism percolating through the years (1, 2, 3) in an attempt to suggest that it is lackluster and needs updating. The arguments against STV5 in its current form, when reduced to their gist, are, that it props up the current two party system and that districts are more trouble than they’re worth. These criticisms are devoid of historical awareness when Malta had no issue electing multiple parties using the current system, and global awareness, where Ireland has no issue electing non-party affiliated independents to the Dáil Éireann. [Read More]

Creating a European Parliament Forecast

Intro Elections for the European Parliament will take place in 27 countries from June 6th to 9th. Besides the fact that there are few EP specific polls out there, forecasting this election is more difficult than usual because it is 27 mini elections, each with slightly different rules. There are a few sophisticated models out there that estimate share from historical performance and polling like this one from ECFR. [Read More]

Locality Level Population Pyramids

This is a companion post for a reactive shiny app that lives here. The NSO released the first part of their final report on the census a few weeks back, including fairly generous locality level data here. In this post, we’ll: construct an overall Malta and locality level population pyramids and wrap them in a shiny app for quick comparison. play with ways to quantitatively compare towns for ‘demographic similarity’. [Read More]

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, 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]