Bipartisanship Breakdown, Functional Networks, and Forensic Analysis in Spanish 2015 and 2016 National Elections

Fernández-Gracia, Juan; Lacasa, Lucas
Complexity 2018, 9684749 (1-23) (2018)

We present a social network and forensic analysis of the vote counts of Spanish national elections that took place in December 2015 and their sequel in June 2016. We initially consider the phenomenon of bipartisanship breakdown by analyzing spatial distributions of several bipartisanship indices. We find that such breakdown is more prominently close to cosmopolite and largely populated areas and less important in rural areas where bipartisanship still prevails, and its evolution mildly consolidates in the 2016 round, with some evidence of bipartisanship reinforcement which we hypothesize to be due to psychological mechanisms of risk aversion. Subsequently, a functional network analysis detects an effective partition of municipalities which remarkably coincides with the first-level political and administrative division of autonomous communities. Finally, we explore to which extent vote data are faithful by applying forensic techniques to vote statistics. Results based on deviation from Benford’s law are mixed and vary across different levels of aggregation. As a complementary metric, we further explore the cooccurring statistics of vote share and turnout, finding a mild tendency in the clusters of the conservative party to smear out towards the area of high turnout and vote share, what has been previously interpreted as a possible sign of incremental fraud.

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