Electoral Map of Britain

This is a map of parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain, proportionally coloured according to the support for the three main parties in the 2001 and 2005 general elections. It's inspired by a similar US Election Map made last year. Hover your mouse over a seat and you'll get a summary of the outcome of that seat's results.

Key & examples

       Description Example (from 2001)
    Strong Labour Bootle, Sheffield Brightside
    Strong Conservative Richmond (Yorkshire), Kensington & Chelsea
    Strong Lib Dem Ross Skye & Inverness, Kingston & Surbiton
    Labour, rivals' vote split Colne Valley, Leeds North West
    Conservative, rivals' vote split Wantage, Bridgwater
    Lib Dem, rivals' vote split Argyll & Bute
    Labour/Conservative marginal Kettering, Castle Point
    Labour/Lib Dem marginal Chesterfield, Cardiff Central
    Conservative/Lib Dem marginal Orpington, Somerton & Frome

Labour are red, Conservatives blue, and the Lib Dems green (not yellow, see the FAQ). A primary coloured seat (red, green, blue) is a seat dominated by one party, while a secondary colour seat (yellow, magenta or cyan) means a hotly contested seat.

For the SNP and Plaid Cymru votes, the scheme is much simpler to interpret, as there is only one colour. Examples are:

       Description Example
    Strong SNP Banff & Buchan
    Weak SNP Eastwood
    Strong Plaid Cymru Merionyyd Nant Conwy
    Weak Plaid Cymru Montgomeryshire

And similarly, the turnout one isn't too difficult to work out either:

       Description Example
    High turnout Winchester
    Low turnout Liverpool Riverside

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why aren't the Lib Dems yellow?

Because the three primary colours are red, green and blue. I did try a colour model where the Lib Dems were yellow, but as it's so close to red on the spectrum it made distinguishing between a strong seat and a marginal one much harder. I know, it's not exactly ideal. Sorry.

Before you write in pointing out yellow is a primary colour, it isn't. Wikipedia has informative page about the Red-Green-Blue model of colour (as opposed to Red-Yellow-Blue), and the differences between the additive and subtractive colour models, if you want to find out why.

2. What about Northern Ireland?

Neither Labour nor the Lib Dems contend there, and the Tories only contest a handful of seats. As the politics of Northern Ireland is organised on significantly different lines to that in the rest of the UK, I didn't see the point in incorporating it into the map.

3. Why are the SNP and Plaid Cymru separate?

A three-colour model cannot incorporate more than three. At least, not in any way I can think of. So I've included them separate to the big three, differently coloured, as a compromise.

4. You've made this map a bit too big for most people's screens, haven't you?

Yes. Sorry again.

5. What was the point of this?

Personal and academic interest of mine, really, I enjoy looking at the graphical representation of scientific data, and I'm studying for a Masters degree on the relationship between science and society, and I thought this would be a fun bit of research into the matter. The original US map depicted a country on a spectrum of 'purple' rather than the myth of a nation divided between red or blue, I thought it would be worth looking at the UK in a similar manner.

Looking at it, although the map reinforces the traditional idea of urban/rural divide between Labour and Conservative, but it's not as wide as some imagine - with much of the Midlands in pink or purple, rather than blue. However, the urban areas, with the exception of parts of London, are pretty much Labour. The Lib Dems' stronghold is the rural South West, with the odd glint of green in urban areas. The fact that so many seats are marginal and well-mixed are, perhaps a good argument for proportional representation, rather than first-past-the-post.

Also, I really wanted to destroy my bandwidth limit.

6. How long did this take you?

Don't ask.

7. Where did you get the data from?

The map is my own, based upon the Official ONS map. The data for the 2001 election figures are derived from Keele University's 2001 Election site, with permission. The 2005 figures have been screenscraped from various sources.

8. What else have you done?

I blog a bit, make some Flash toys and other apps, and generally justify my existence at www.qwghlm.co.uk.