Saturday, September 03, 2011

Fun with cluster analysis

This is really a propos nothing in particular, but I stumbled across a nifty bit of analysis looking at the voting records of Toronto City Councillors. Using a cluster classification, the numerically-gifted Buzzdata user "Haz" was able to group City Council members into clusters as follows:

For those who weren't forced to spend your early 20s labouring through fourth year statistics courses and cursing SPSS on a nightly basis, the closer two names are "linked" together, the more often they voted together. For example, the Ford brothers are linked directly to each other since they tend to vote together. Their next closest links are to Giorgio Mammoliti and Mike Del Grande.

If you keep moving down the line, council can be cleaved into two groups - the "green" and "red" lines above. Those familiar with municipal politics in Toronto will quickly recognize which side of the political spectrum each group falls.

To come up with a visual, the five largest clusters were coloured into the ward map - blue and green clusters represent councillors voting with the "lefties", with the yellow, red, and purple clusters representing those voting with the more conservative elements of council.

As you might expect, the blue in green clusters are concentrated downtown, with the red, yellow, and purple clusters generally further out in the suburbs.

There are, of course, exceptions. York councillors Anthony Perruzza and Maria Augimeri find themselves close to the Adam Vaughans and Paula Fletchers of City Council. Meanwhile, Davenport's Ana Bailao checks in with a more conservative voting record than you might expect given her riding went NDP this May.

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  • CALGARY grit?

    Its nice that in municipal politics there does not appear to be the party line rigidity which would prevent this sort of thing in Fed/Provincial politics

    By Blogger Dave Bridges, at 2:07 PM  

  • The Council Scorecard has also done an analysis, sorted from right-wing fascist Fordites at the top, to left-wing pinko commies at the bottom:

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:40 PM  

  • So, will Rob Ford catch any flack for not yet getting list down to 22 entries?

    By Anonymous Daniel, at 10:12 PM  

  • Interesting - now let's see one for Calgary!

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 10:27 AM  

  • RV - If I can find the Calgary council voting record in a good data file, I'd be quite curious to see it.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:38 PM  

  • Such a voting record must exist, as it was used to grade aldermen by the Coalition for Tax Fairness:

    We can ask them where they got their voting record information.

    Incidentally, I have no problem with Calgary's massive tax increases. We had an election where one candidate ran on his clear record of restraint, and another that wanted every ambitious and expensive project under the sun. We elected the latter. Debate over.

    By Blogger Robert Vollman, at 2:59 PM  

  • I'd be more than happy to run Calgary through the same process, but I can't find a way to access the city council voting records like I can for Toronto:

    By Blogger Haz, at 10:34 AM  

  • Quite helpful data, lots of thanks for your article.

    By Anonymous, at 11:42 AM  

  • Excellent certainly! Many thanks with this!

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