In my previous post, I provided links to fancy interactive maps from the Lithuanian Election Commission. They map turnout, how people voted on the referendum, and other fun things.
But they also map something completely useless, namely the party that “won” each constituency in the vote to decide how many proportional seats the party will get in Seimas. This is a completely stupid way to represent a map, since the point of the proportional seats is that they are distributed based on the percentage of the national vote a party gets. The Labor Party (Darbo partija) did not get 17 proportional seats in Seimas since they “won” 17 constituencies—that part still has to be determined. Rather, across the nation, they received enough votes to earn 17 of the 70 proportional seats. After all, according to the interactive map, Labor “won” 26 of the constituencies (if I count correctly). As such, their performance is hard to interpret across the nation as a whole, because we have no idea what the actual percentages were in each constituency. All we know is that they did well.
Consider this situation: in constituency A, Labor gets 15%, the conservatives (TS-LKD) 14%, and the rest of the parties split the rest of the vote among themselves. In the map, it’s colored for Labor. Now, in constituency B, Labor got 30% of the vote, the conservatives got 35%, and the rest of the parties split the remaining votes. B is colored for the conservatives (green in the interactive map), but I think it would be rather interesting to know that Labor performed so strongly in that constituency.
I’d like to know how each party did independently among all the constituencies. That way we can see where their strongholds might be. To do this, I collected all the vote results and then compared each constituency’s performance against the national total for each party.
For example, the Labor Party received 19.84% of the vote of Lithuania as a whole. In the Pajūrio constituency along the coast, however, Labor received 16.61%. In the interactive map, the constituency is colored blue, despite the fact that the party received a smaller proportion of votes of the national result! Labor didn’t “win” anything here! They underperformed. They are colored blue only since the vote was generally extremely fractured, and 16.61% was the most a party could collect (the liberals were a percentage point behind them).
So I decided to create a map for each party that managed the 5% threshold. Each map shows how that party performed in every constituency against the national total. In my map, the Pajūrio constituency is colored light red, because Labor performed between -2.5% and -.5% worse than the national result. The darker red, the more a party underperformed. The darker blue, the more a party overperformed. White means they performed more or less in line with the national result. Click on each map to see the larger version of it.
As one can see, while there aren’t outrageously new developments indicated in these maps, they certainly tell a lot more than the interactive map provided by the government and their GIS consultants.
As in that map, we see that Labor did very well throughout Aukštaitija. But we also see that they did reasonably well throughout the entire nation. They got killed in the three largest cities (Vilnius, Kaunas, and Klaipėda, as noted in the insets), and their support faded as they went toward the coast. As we’ll see, that’s the stronghold of the other main populist party, Order and Justice (Tvarka ir teisingumas).
Labor might likely enter into a coalition with the Social Democrats. Again, in the interactive map, it looks like they have strong support in Suvalkija, in the southwest. My map shows the same, but it also shows strong support nationwide, which explains why both they and Labor are atop the seat count, with 15 and 17 respectively. They also got killed in the major cities, but they dominated Šiauliai and did reasonably in Panevėžys. Most notably, they also got killed in Polish Lithuania (see below).
The third party in terms of seats were the conservatives, who collected 13 seats. In an election about change featuring the historically/hysterically unpopular Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius, it would make sense that his party gets slammed. And that’s what we see on the national scale. But where the countryside went for Labor and the Social Democrats, now we see that the two largest cities went hard for the conservatives. The city of Vilnius is a blue marble in a sea of resentful red.
Next up are the liberals (there are many liberals, but only the Liberal Movement received seats), who picked up seven seats. In the interactive map, the only hint we get that the liberals showed up was in Klaipėda. In my map, we see the truth of my comment in my previous post: everyone I know (and I only know city-dwellers) voted conservative or liberal. Just as with the conservatives, Vilnius and Kaunas are blue marbles surrounded by opposition. But now we also see how much support the Liberals have on the seaside, as well. Klaipėda is entirely dark blue, and the surrounding Gargždų constituency is also for the liberals.
Here I’ll pause for a moment for my American readers to wrap their heads around the idea that, in Lithuania, center-right parties do well in cities, while center-left parties do well in the countryside.
Well, that’s not entirely true, since the anti-government Drąsos kelias (Path of Courage), which emerged out of outrage at the government for not weeding out the pedophiles in their midst (I’m not kidding) received its strongest support in the outskirts of Kaunas. Of course, those very outskirts include the suburb of Garliava, which is where the incidents that led to the forming of the party occurred. They’re riding their outrage to seven seats as well.
Further complicating the idea of the center-left countryside, we see that the right-wing populist Order and Justice party, led by impeached president Rolandas Paksas, have their stronghold in Žemaitija, the area around Klaipėda. In the interactive map, they seem to only hold sway in the southern part of the region, but in this map, we see that their support is more widespread, which is why they managed six seats. Though they don’t have much support nationwide, we see the beginnings of a problem with this means of analysis: the party only received 7,31% of the national vote. As such, one might think it nearly impossible for a party getting only slightly more than 5% of the national vote to have sections that get colored dark red.
Well, one would think that as long as they don’t know about the one inviolate radical schism in Lithuanian politics: between Lithuanians and Poles. If one doesn’t know the history of the Vilnius region, especially during the interwar period, the map of the performance of the Polish Action should explain all. With 5.83% of the vote (good for five seats), the Polish Action is absolutely a non-entity in nearly the entire country. Yet they’re so strong in the Vilnius area that, despite receiving effectively no votes in the rest of the country, they still manage to do what 11 parties could not: seat members in Seimas based on proportional voting.
There remain problems with my analysis here: I rather arbitrarily chose the break points of -5%, -2.5%, -.5%, .5%, 2.5%, and 5% knowing ahead of time what the data would more or less look like. But it leads to less useful results especially in extreme cases, like the Polish Action. Using Jenks natural breaks, we get a better sense of how the Polish Action support is distributed around the area in Vilnius, for example. Furthermore, if a party gets, say, 50% of the vote, what does it matter if one constituency got them 56%? That difference is not as great as a party that got 2% of the vote nationwide but got 4% in one constituency. Though the total number of percentage points is smaller, it represents a doubling of the vote in comparison to the national total.
I figured it would be interesting to see, then, which parties over- and underperformed the national results. And might there be some parties whose fervid support is masked by the consensus seen in the maps above?
To answer this, I took each party’s percentage result in each constituency and averaged them for each party. This number is a bit different than the national result, but only by about a half a percentage point (and the difference decreases as the average approaches zero). I then compared each constituency’s performance as a factor of standard deviations above (or below) the mean. Two more maps were the result (and one really must click on these maps to see the large versions).
In the first map like this, which shows radical overperformers, we see that Labor’s stronghold is truly in the area just north of Kaunas. The Social Democrats are strong in Suvalkija, which makes sense, as their party leader, Algirdas Butkevičius, is from there. We see, furthermore, that the conservatives aren’t fervently supported anywhere in the country, outside of a region in Kaunas. Though they performed well in the national result, they never had the most excited support base. The lesser parties that received seats match more or less the results above: Order and Justice around Klaipėda, while the liberals are strongest on the coast, the Path of Courage as a strictly Kaunas affair, and the Polish Action surrounding Vilnius.
The results in Vilnius, though, deserve a bit of explication. First, we see the bright turquoise sliver in the middle. That’s the first constituency, Naujamiesčio. All voters registered abroad are bunched into that constituency, and that color corresponds to the Emigrant’s Party. We can see their support in other cities, as well: they are the most fervently supported party in both constituencies in Panevėžys and Alytus. Surrounding Naujamiesčio constituency are the desaturated greens of the Yes Association (Sąjunga Taip), the liberal breakaway party founded by Artūras Zuokas, the mayor of Vilnius. Abutting Vilnius to the east is the Naujosios Vilnios constituency, the home constituency of Algirdas Paleckis and, hence, a logical stronghold of his far-left Socialist People’s Front (Socialistinis liaudės Frontas). The rest of the map is interesting mostly if one can keep track of all the smaller parties in Lithuania, and I certainly can’t. As a final note, though, I’ll indicate the support the Peasants and Greens received around Šiauliai.
The second map, as the title suggests, shows where parties performed astonishingly weakly. Mostly, it shows two things we already knew: conservative and liberal support is exceptionally urban (noted by how frequently we see their colors in the countryside), and that Labor and the Social Democrats were wildly unpopular in the largest cities.
In closing, I have to add something about the efforts to make these maps. Unlike in the US, whose government hands out GIS datasets left and right, as far as I can tell, in Lithuania, the shapefile used in the interactive map is proprietary and belongs to the consultancy firm that makes the government’s maps for it. This is, in my opinion, profoundly fucked up. Not only did it delay the production of this post (as I spent all of yesterday hand-digitizing the inexact shapefile I used to make these maps—the inexactness of the shapes is why I’ve not made them interactive), but it’s just bad policy. Among the biggest problems I see in Lithuania is its knee-jerk pro-privatization (a relic of anti-communism, I’m certain), and the fact that I need to talk to a business in order to get data that the government should be collecting/providing (for free, even) is a catastrophe.