In button form the Austrian flag looks a lot like a “Do Not Enter” sign, but this election at least that did not apply for new parties (of course the thing I am most interested in these days). There was some significant volatility in Austria this year. In raw party terms, two new parties entered and one existing party left parliament. There was a minimum of 14.5% shift in votes and a 16% shift in seats (less than in the last election, for which my figures are 17% of votes and 27% of seats, but much more than Austria’s overall average during the post-WWII period.) The shift was of a different character, furthermore: whereas nearly all of Austria’s volatility has in the recent past been among parliamentary parties (Mainwaring’s intra-system volatility, Tucker and Powell’s Type A volatility), this year nearly half of the total volatility (6.2% of 14.5) was related to new entries and exits (extra-system or Type B). In the last election the extra-system volatility was nearly as high (5.9%) but it was outweighed by intra-system volatility (10.9%); in elections before 2008, extra system volatility was barely discernable (averaging only 1.3%).
Particularly notable here is the emergence of the non-traditionally-named Team Stronach whose website ad looks like a blockbuster trailer:
Team Stronach Video
But of course the only interactive website anybody /really/ needs is the one that lets you look at the results yourself, the Political Data Yearbook: Interactive (he said fully aware that this post is simply a plug for that website:
It’s seems to be election season in Europe–Norway last week and Germany this week, with Austria, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic coming up in the next two months (the latter two of which are somewhat premature). No time (or expertise) to offer in-depth analysis of the German elections here, but I wanted to post some screenshots and a link to the Political Data Yearbook interactive: http://www.politicaldatayearbook.com/Chart.aspx/14/Germany
SDP did not t do that badly, at least by some metrics, and although this is being hailed as a “commanding election victory” and a “triumph” (which for CDU-CSU’s raw numbers, it certainly is), it looks a bit less impressive when seen in the context of the collapse of the FDP. Party death and birth, as always, are the interesting questions for me. FDP seems to be the kind of party that can survive a single very bad election, especially if people quickly tire of what is being done in its absence from parliament, as they likely will. But some support may also bleed off to another destination. By my rough calculations, there was about a 5% net increase in voting for parties outside the mainstream, most of it to Alternative for Germany (among existing small parties there was no clear increase). They appear to be betting now on poor economic results and consequences from bailouts to set themselves up and reap the dissatisfaction (not my analysis–that comes straight from National Public Radio (not the finest source on European domestic politics, but good enough, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=224101219). So an inconclusive death and a not-quite birth. The same whirlpools that tear Eastern European party patterns asunder with every election are not as powerful here and they face much stronger opposition. But the currents still seem to be present…
In the past I have reserved this blog for coverage of elections in Slovakia and the Czech Republic and for other elections where we see the emergence of new parties (one of my favorite topics). In that sense, this post is the beginning of something new. For the last two years, I have had the great good fortune to be allowed by the European Consortium for Political Research and Wiley Blackwell to help develop an online database derived from the rich 20 year store of data contained in the Political Data Yearbook associated with the European Journal of Political Research. It is the intensive work on this that, for the most part, accounts for my neglect of this blog in the last year or so, and it occurred to me that I could remedy this not only with some coverage of the upcoming Czech election, but also with some cross-posting between my two projects. For the moment, I simply want to announce that we have used the database to post the results of today’s Norwegian election. There’s nothing unusual about posting results, but what sets the PDYi apart is its ability to put those results in graphic context: how does this election compare with the last 6? Which parties did better or worse and by what margins. The PDY shows this and allows for a considerable amount of choice of variables and modes of display. A few samples below. And once Norway’s cabinet is announced, we can post that as well to show what ministries have been held by what parties (and ages and genders) over time. So take a look at the screenshots below and head to http://www.politicaldatayearbook.com/Chart.aspx/63/Norway for Norway or to http://www.politicaldatayearbook.com for all available data.
A sample line chart showing changes in party support over time.
A sample stacked bar chart showing the overall success of the Norwegian right and center-right over time.