To Whom From Whom: Slovakia Electoral Shift Roundup

I had intended to post this tomorrow but SME just published an article on ebb and flow for the new parties SaS and Most-Hid based on a presentation by Olga Gyarfasova of IVO and so this is a good time to talk, if briefly, about where Slovakia’s voters are going and where they have come from.

First credit where it is due: thanks to Tim Haughton for finding and bringing to my attention an article in Pravda that presented data from an MVK about the stability of party electorates.  The graph made a decent point about the stability of party electorates (though I’ve argued above that these are not useful in predicting party results based on polls, making the statistic a rather academic one–not that there’s anything wrong with that) but also contained other data about where “non-stable” voters went that is in many ways more interesting because it helps to tell the story of where parties’ ebbs or flows are coming from.  That data, and the scale of the flows, was unfortunately buried in the graph and extremely hard to read.

So, with typical obsessiveness about graphics and a desire to avoid other work, I transformed this chart (more quickly than I thought I could) into something that told the story in a more complete way:

In this graph, I have roughly standardized the sizes of the images so that each pixel represents roughly the same number of voters.  The point is the same–KDH maintained the most loyalty, SNS the least–but from this (admittedly incomplete) data we begin to see the double flow that I have expected for some time: from former HZDS and SNS voters to Smer and from former Smer voters to SaS.  The graph only shows the data we have and so has lots of big residual categories (all other parties instead of individual parties and “undecided” instead of “will not vote” etc.).  It also fails to provide information on the flows to smaller parties or the share that flows from one party represent in the new electorate of the party to which it flows.

Thanks to Olga Gyarfasova, we now have some of that public for the two new parties, Most-Hid and SaS and here the pattern is again more or less what we would expect: SaS gains heavily from SDKU and new voters and disillusioned former voters; Most-Hid gains heavily from SMK-MKP.  There are a few surprises, however: SaS picks up a significant share of voters from Smer, and Most-Hid picks up voters from parties other than SMK-MKP (almost by definition “Slovak” parties) and from non-voters.

This is by no means the last word and all ebb and flow statistics need to pay closer attention to the degree to which flow is caused by people leaving and entering the electorate.  I hope to have more statistics on this in the near future and to improve the graphs above.  Until then, this will probably suffice.

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