September 19, 2014

· Sociology · Politics · Visualization

So, Scotland remains part of the United Kingdom. This morning on the bus (I should run a series called “Idle Data Analysis on the Bus”) I looked at how the high turnout compared to other Scottish elections. Data on turnout is easily available back to 1970. Here are two views of it.

Turnout in Scotland

Voter turnout in Scotland in National elections and plebiscites since 1970.

You can get a larger image or a PDF version of the figure if you want a closer look at it.

As you can see, turnout for the Independence Referendum was both astonishingly high and way off-trend. In addition to the long-term decline in participation, there seems to be a hint of a discontinuity in turnout post-1997, maybe after the second Devolution referendum. (Perhaps those more knowledgeable about Scottish politics can say more.) And of course you can also see that nobody cares about European elections.

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I am Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m also affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Read a brief overview of my work or my Curriculum Vitae.

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