Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The Final Result

With many of us beginning to think that the count in Longford-Westmeath won't be finished before the next election is called, I said I'd go ahead and put up the final results. Not much of a shift since the last post: Aodhán Ó Ríordán losing his seat in Dublin Bay North being the only real shift. I'm also assuming that Willie Penrose's single seat margin of victory will hold. 

If we hark all the way back to the contrast with the incumbents, then there has been a real greening of the map with the rise of Sinn Féin and resurrection of Fianna Fáil. In many instances, this has been at the cost of Labour, who have had a terrible election.  

Update: Longford-Westmeath finished with no change to the anticipated map.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The greying of the lines

This election has been remarkable for the number of independent TDs elected. There is a definite drift of grey across the map from the west. Sinn Féin flattered at in the polls but not at the polls. Fianna Fáil are back big time. For my money, FG and FF being closer in size will actually make a coalition more likely than if FG were nearly twice the size of FF as it seemed it might be at one point. Bad day for Labour, yes, but a few biggies who looked threatened pulled through. Nice to see the Greens back on the map too. 

I've had to guess a few of the final seats. You can add one to the FG tally for Seán Barrett. Also possible that I've made a few mistakes typing in the results. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016

An exit poll result

Well there you go. Here are some exit poll projections based on the numbers at Irish Election Stats. Fianna Fáil are flying it. Labour and Fine Gael are having a bad day at the office. I didn't see Renua jumping to 4 seats in this! I also fancy the Soc. Dems to get another one.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Fianna Fáil resurgence; Labour near-wipeout

In the latest HexMyTD interpretation of Irish Election Stats data, we see a massive resurgence from Fianna Fáil. On the other end of the spectrum, Labour has disappeared from Dublin and only holds onto 3 seats nationwide. 

There has been a massive shift since the last map. And again, it is important to remember that the final seats in a number of constituencies is highly marginal. All to play for in the final week.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

No signs of the wheels coming off the FG bus here...

In spite of most media outlets stating that the wheels were coming off the FG bus, mainly due to a modest drop in support in the latest polls, the HexMyTD view, updated using the 18th of February run from Irish Election Stats, doesn't show any real change in the real number of seats they will gain. 

I will say this: a 2% change in a poll with a margin of error of 3% is NO CHANGE! 

The HexMyTD view still diverges from the headline figure from Irish Election Stats. That is in the crucial divvying up of the final seat. My own view is that there will be a movement from Sinn Féin to Fianna Fáil. For example, there is a FF seat in Tipperary and they will get it at the expense of SF. Likewise in Kildare North: FF gain from SF.

I've noticed a bug in my code also and have Dún Laoghaire down as a 4 seater when it's actually a 3 seater given that the Ceann Comhairle will be automatically returned. You can move one seat from Labour to FG to adjust for that.  

Final numbers on that basis is FG (57), SF (37), FF (31), Labour (7) and the rest (26).

And, finally, I've hived off Dublin in this latest incarnation to ease the geographical distortion.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The lay of the land: Pre-debate polls

Based on an interpretation of the data from irishelectionstats.com on the 15th February, here is how the map looks. Again, I am slightly kinder to FG, SF and Labour than FF. The reason being that in some constituencies, for example Tipperary, the FF vote is split between a number of candidates with none of those candidates clearly ahead of the rest. 

This was compiled with data prior to the Leaders Debate. Many have noted how well the smaller parties did in the debate and I would certainly expect a rise for them in the next polls. But the real question is: will that turn into more seats? Where can you see a fourth Social Democrat being elected?

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Here's how the latest Irish Election Stats numbers look

The latest model run from the good folks at Irish Election Stats is out—hot off the tweet machine from @electionstatsie on Feb 13th. The projections in comparison to 2011 (below) is stark with a sharp greening. The massive reduction in Labour seats is widely expected. These stats have Sinn Féin as the second largest party, which is an amazing thing to write down. 

I realise that the number of hexagons per colour don't add up to the numbers quoted on the right. The reason is that @electionstatsie produce probabilities for each constituency and I plumped for different candidates making the final seat. In my reckoning, I have given SF 3 seats more than the headline figures from @electionstatsie.

Creating the cartogram

The process of creating the HexMyTD cartogram is a two-stage process. Starting with the geographically true representation of the constituencies, the first job is to create a cartogram that distributes population evenly. To accomplish this, I use a diffusion based cartogram code available from here based on an algorithm described in Gastner and Newman (2004). You might have seen the global population cartograms doing the same previously. 

The act of this on Irish constituencies is, yes—you guessed it, to expand the Dublin constituencies. Cork and Limerick city constituencies are also expanded, as the only predominantly city based constituencies outside of Dublin. The skewing is probably worst in the constituencies adjacent to Dublin: Wicklow is unrecognisable, Meath and Kildare distorted. Some of the rural constituencies suffer from squeezing. Notably, Mayo takes a big hit—maybe these cartograms won't be a big hit with an Taoiseach.


The final and most subtle of the steps is going from this cartogram to the final hexagonal grid. The areas are approximately right so that the number of hexagons corresponding to the number of TDs but there is a lot of shuffling at this stage. The aim is to lay out the hexagons so that they bear a semblance to the geographical shape of the actual constituencies. Donegal is good; Kerry isn't bad. Poor old Wexford is badly deformed and Dublin's a complete nightmare! Especially to a bogger like me. 


Michael T. Gastner and M. E. J. Newman
Diffusion-based method for producing density-equalizing maps
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, 101, 7499-7504 (2004).

Orientation: Provinces and more

As the cartogram reshuffles the country geographically, I thought I'd show you a few figures to help orientation. Here are the regions in our cartogram view. Obviously, Dublin dominates the eastern section and Munster and the rest of Leinster squeezes Connaught-Ulster into the corner.

And just to hep my own diaspora to orientate themselves:


The shuffling of the hexagons in constituency shapes is still a work in progress so I've shuffled Suir-Nore-Barrow confluence a little in this iteration. 

Friday, 12 February 2016


Here are the HexMyTD results for GE2011.

First of all, these aren't the incumbents—they're who won where in 2011. So this neglects Labour leavers, Fine Gael Renua-ers, by-elections etc. Also, my old renderer doesn't like fadas (I'm not trying to have a swipe at Fine Fáil).

It struck me how red and blue the map ended up. Yes, FG and Labour were the two biggest parties but I'm not sure I expected such a division. Throw in Sinn Féin and you have a real red Liffeyside going on.

Second of all, constituency changes are a pain in the ass for a part time mapper like myself. So let me know in the if I've missed your constituency (hopefully not—though it did take me a while to sort out Roscommon-Leitrim-Sligo) or favourite TD (a distinct possibility). Here is the updated legend for the 2011 constituencies.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A Hexagon per TD

With the Irish general election looming fast, I've been dusting off my mapping skills. 

The political geek in me loves poring over election results and the geoscientist in me loves maps.The maps in this blog combine both. 

The maps couldn't be simpler: there is one hexagon per TD. These sort of maps were all in abundance prior to the UK general election in 2015 (e.g. here's a summary) but I haven't seen one for Ireland yet.  

Using this map, we can plot the full results of the general election on a single graph—always tricky in multi-seat constituencies—and poor old Dublin doesn't need a separate map to see what is going on in the densely populated capital. 

Every hexagon is the same size so there is no population density distortion. This means that the map isn't geographically true so Dublin constituencies take over most of the eastern bulge. This map shows where your constituency lies as coloured hexagons, with a constituency list on the right hand side.