Research on Finnish Society (11:2018)

Political areas of competition in Southwest Finland: A cluster analysis of parliamentary election data from three levels of aggregation

Lasse Nurmi & Tommi Meskanen
University of Turku, University of Helsinki

This research utilizes the methods of geography, mathematics and political ecology to outline the political areas and to define the profiles of political competition within the region of Southwest Finland using parliamentary election results from the 2010s. Additionally the research investigates the areal concentration and dispersion of support for the parliamentary parties and the effect of the regional level of aggregation to the concentration of the political support. Our research questions are: (1) are there distinctive political areas in Southwest Finland? And (2) can political areas of stable and unstable competition patterns be identified by investigating election results over time? Using cluster analysis and map visualizations we show that there are distinctive political areas of competition to be found in contemporary Southwest Finland and that the map of political support changes significantly at the municipal and polling district levels.

Keywords: electoral geography, cluster analysis, parliamentary elections, political areas

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