Aye & naw: Scotland’s referendum mapped

55.25% of the votes cast at last week’s independence referendum in Scotland were ‘No’ according to the Electoral Management Board for Scotland (EMB), meaning that Scotland stays a part of the United Kingdom. While the results have been mapped all across the media (I recommend Olli O’Brien’s interactive map for that one), I haven’t come across and cartogram visualisation so far. So here we go…the missing map of the Scotland Independence Referendum 2014: The first two maps show a cartogram of the Scottish Local Government Areas resized according to the total number of votes cast at the referendum. The colours on top of the maps show the (remarkably high) turnout on the left map – apart from Glasgow (75%) and Dundee (78.8%) was above 80% in all areas, figures unseen in any democracies in recent years (compare this for example to the turnout at this year’s European elections or at last year’s general election in Germany). The map on the right shows the share of votes going to either side of the campaign:

Cartogram the outcome of the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014
(click for larger map)

While a cartogram gives a much fairer representation of the outcome as it puts the absolute number of votes into perspective (highlighting also those few areas where the Yes campaign gained enough votes for their side which were mainly in areas small in land area but larger in population dimensions – hardly visible on a conventional map projection).
The map dominated by red colours rejecting the idea of independence is of course only part of the outcome. With 1,617,989 out of 3,623,344 people voting yes (and with 3,429 votes having been rejected as invalid), the gap between yes and no was ‘only’ 383,937 votes, meaning that in many areas it was still a tight race. The following two maps show the distribution of votes in each of the two groups across Scotland, showing how split the opinion was almost all across the country:

Cartogram the outcome of the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014
(click for larger map)

What is next for Scotland? With polls suggesting that almost all age groups up to the 55 year olds voted in favour of independence, the discussion will continue one way or another and the issue may not have been settled ‘for a generation‘. The debate has already moved towards more devolution of powers across the UK, and with a general election in 2015 as well as a possible referendum on Britain’s membership in the European Union the Kingdom is far from being united.

Population Map / Cartogram Scotland
(click for larger map)

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