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- 1. 1<br />To vote or not to vote? <br />Investigating changes in the predicted probability of voter turnout when re-siting polling stations<br />Scott Orford <br />WISERD<br />Cardiff University<br />GISRUK 2010<br />
- 2. 2<br />Structure<br />Introduction<br />Micro-geographical factors that affect voter turnout<br />Brent case study <br />Binomial ML model<br />Predicting changes in turnout<br />Conclusions<br />
- 3. 3<br />Introduction<br />Concern over low turnout and the ‘democratic defict’<br />Turnout gap in GB largest of any Western liberal democracy (25 – 40 percentage points)<br />Factors influencing turnout at elections well known<br />Research tends to be election specific and not systematic <br />Little still known about importance of spatial and micro-geographical factors in a UK context<br />
- 4. 4<br />People usually have to vote in person at a designated polling station<br />Polling district boundaries and stations are determined by the council – administrative function<br />Not accountable to the boundary commission<br />Accessibility: “if possible, it needs to be close to where voters live and be fully accessible”<br />A review of polling districts and polling stations must take place at least once every four years<br />
- 5. 5<br />Possible factors when siting polling stations affect turnout<br />Distance<br />Morphology (compactness)<br />Voter density (compactness & distance)<br />Terrain<br />Ease of parking etc<br />Opportunities<br />How do these vary in different elections?<br />Rural/ suburban/inner-city differences (US research says there are)<br />
- 6. 6<br />Known factors influencing turnout<br /><ul><li>Individual factors (age, education, social class, occupation)
- 7. Political Knowledge (party identification, interest in campaign)
- 8. Civic Duty
- 9. Second-order elections (rationale choice theory)
- 10. Weather
- 11. Geographical factors</li></ul>Local campaigning<br />Marginality of seat (closeness of contest)<br />Population stability<br />Social composition “People who talk together vote together” (Pattie and Johnston) – clear evidence that conversation and context can influence voting behaviour<br />
- 12. 7<br />Constituencies and wards in the London <br />Borough of Brent, 2001<br />
- 13. 8<br />Max 32.2<br />Min 2.03<br />Mean 21.8<br />Std 4.41<br />N 115<br />Max 54.4<br />Min 3.82<br />Mean 36.2<br />Std 7.4<br />N 115<br />Max 67.21<br />Min 13.83<br />Mean 49.15<br />Std 7.27<br />N 115<br />
- 14. 9<br />Wards, polling districts and polling stations in the London Borough of Brent, 2001<br />
- 15. 10<br />Polling stations in each election<br />
- 16. 11<br />Table 2: Polling station context in each election<br />
- 17. 12<br />Euclidean versus network distance<br />
- 18. 13<br />
- 19. 14<br />100 metres<br />
- 20. 15<br />200 metres<br />
- 21. 16<br />300 metres<br />
- 22. 17<br />400 metres<br />
- 23. 18<br />500 metres<br />
- 24. 19<br />
- 25. 20<br />100 metres<br />
- 26. 21<br />200 metres<br />
- 27. 22<br />300 metres<br />
- 28. 23<br />400 metres<br />
- 29. 24<br />500 metres<br />
- 30. 25<br />Voter dispersion (density) measures<br />(combined measure of compactness and distance)<br />Euclidean distance measures (metres)<br />Percentage of postcodes in PD less than X metres from polling station<br />Where X is 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 750, 1000, 1250, and 1500<br />Road network distance measures (metres)<br />Percentage of postcodes in PD less than X metres from polling station<br />Where X is 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1250, 1500, 2000, and 2500<br />
- 31. 26<br />
- 32. 27<br />Model Specification<br />i = 1, …, 115 polling districts; <br />j = 1, …, 31 wards;<br />k = 1, …, 3 constituencies; <br />Dependent variable is the proportion of turnout at the polling district with postal voters removed<br />Model specification is binomial with a logit link<br />Estimated using second order predictive quasi-likelihood (PQL) in MLwiN 2.10<br />
- 33. 28<br />ML Models: non-density variables<br />
- 34. 29<br />Significance of voter density on turnout<br />
- 35. 30<br />Voter density estimates (network distance)<br />Election Maximum significance B-value T-stat<br />European: Density ND < 500m 0.040 3.08 <br />Local: Density ND < 600m 0.070 3.07<br />E.g. European and (Local) elections<br />If 50% of voters in a PD live within 500m (600m) of polling station, turnout increases by 2% (3.5%)<br />If 100% of voters in a PD live within 500m (600m) of polling station, turnout increases by 4% (7%)<br />
- 36. 31<br />
- 37. 32<br />
- 38. 33<br />
- 39. 34<br />
- 40. 35<br />
- 41. 36<br />
- 42. 37<br />Differences in the predicted probabilities of turnout by constituency and election at the locations of maximum, minimum and average voter densities<br />
- 43. 38<br />Percentage differences in the predicted probability of turnout at ward level when re-siting polling stations in the European election<br />
- 44. 39<br />Percentage differences in the predicted probability of turnout at ward level when re-siting polling stations in the local election<br />
- 45. 40<br />Percentage differences in the predicted probability of turnout at polling district level when re-siting polling stations in the European election<br />
- 46. 41<br />Percentage differences in the predicted probability of turnout at polling district level when re-siting polling stations in the local election<br />
- 47. 42<br />Percentage differences in the predicted probability of turnout at polling district level when re-siting polling stations at the maximum and minimum voter density locations for European and local elections<br />
- 48. 43<br />Conclusions<br />Supports idea of second order elections and rational choice theory of voting<br />Geographical factors are influential in lower salience elections<br />EEA 4 year review – perhaps examine polling station location with regards to accessibility and voter densities<br />Target certain polling districts and re-site polling station<br />Problem – trade-off between existing polling station building and portable polling stations (cost effectiveness)<br />New voting technologies may decrease numbers of polling stations and therefore increase accessibility and decrease turnout<br />

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