Eurovision 2013 revisited

Eurovision 2013 revisited

Year after year in May Europe meets to celebrate one common guilty pleasure: the Eurovision Song Contest. More important in the outcome than watching the singing performances is the voting procedure: It sometimes appears as if points are not always related to the performance, but a reflection of European history and current events. That makes it interesting for detailed analyses (such as this detailed one by students of the Technical University of Denmark) regardless of whether one agrees with the quality and style of the contributions. The upcoming song contest takes place in Copenhagen, as Denmark was last years winner which can be seen in the following map of the total votes that each country received in the 2013 contest (see the bottom of this post):

Total Points received by each countryEurovision 2013
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But there is more to the results than the overall picture of the votes (Sidenote and warning: This blog post has a large number of maps embedded and may take longer to load up when viewing). In fact, Eurovision voting behaviour has a long tradition of being analysed in academic journals, indicating that beyond the quality of the musical contribution (and performance), there are indeed political and cultural elements to the outcomes. Ginsburgh & Nory (2006) for example mention that “ratings which should be based on quality only, takes into account other factors such as linguistic and cultural proximities” (p. 11), and Charron (2013) finds strong evidence for the claim that “certain pairs or blocs exhibit systematic voting bias for one another over time […] even when controlling for myriad alternative factors and taking into account various voting regimes“, though this alone will never be the only explanation for how people vote. In our short paper published in Political Insight, Dimitris Ballas, Danny Dorling and I tried to explain some of the patters of last year’s contest with a special consideration of the current economic crisis in Europe. The following series of maps gives you the full picture of our analysis from last year, showing the individual voting patterns related to the whole range of countries that we looked at. The first series of 19 maps below shows individual countries (in alphabetical order), opposing the votes received from other countries and the votes given to other countries . They show, that in many cases voting behaviour is not equally mutual between countries, but judge for yourself:

BelgiumEurovision 2013: Belgium
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DenmarkEurovision 2013: Denmark
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EstoniaEurovision 2013: Estonia
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FinlandEurovision 2013: Finland
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FranceEurovision 2013: France
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GermanyEurovision 2013: Germany
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GreeceEurovision 2013: Greece
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HungaryEurovision 2013: Hungary
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IcelandEurovision 2013: Iceland
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IrelandEurovision 2013: Ireland
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ItalyEurovision 2013: Italy
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LithuaniaEurovision 2013: Lithuania
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MaltaEurovision 2013: Malta
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NetherlandsEurovision 2013: Netherlands
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NorwayEurovision 2013: Norway
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RomaniaEurovision 2013: Romania
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SpainEurovision 2013: Spain
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SwedenEurovision 2013: Sweden
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United KingdomEurovision 2013: United Kingdom
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Not all countries made a contribution to the song contest (e.g. Poland which is therefore entirely missing from these maps), and not all countries were included in our selection of countries (see explained below), so that there is a number of maps that show either only the votes received from other countries or the votes given out (here we also looked at countries outside our selection such as the votes given from European countries to Russia to find out, whether there may be some interesting emerging patterns). The following collage concludes these maps and completes the picture of our cartographic analysis of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest:

Eurovision 2013
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The Social Atlas of EuropeThe above maps do not show all participating nations of the Eurovision Song Contest, which reaches as far as Russia and Israel (and even Morocco has already taken part in the competition). These maps were created as part of the work on the forthcoming Social Atlas of Europe which features a selection of these maps. The focus of this Atlas are all countries of Europe that are either member states of the European Union, recognised candidates for membership, or are in the Schengen area. The following reference map shows these states (and their distinct colours that are also used in the above maps) resized by their total population:

The Population of EuropeEurovision 2013
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Read more:

  • Hennig, B. D., Ballas, D. and Dorling, D. (2013). Voting for Europe: Eurovision 2013. Political Insight 4 (2): 38.
    Article online (Wiley)

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