Today’s is the final of three posts looking at the media, data and elections. This time, Russia is the topic.
First, it’s hard to know if last week’s election numbers are solid. The western press writes of election fraud. Some problems are admitted. Other reports say all was well. Yet we have the numbers we have, mapped in this post by Knight News Challenge winner Aaron Presnall and his nonpartisan Jefferson Institute, so let’s take a look.
President Vladimir Putin’s victory was substantial – but here’s an interesting point: the data seem to say that his results were related to Internet penetration levels. Here are two rather extreme examples: In the North Caucasian Federal District, Internet penetration is a low 34 percent and the pro-Putin vote was a high 83.1 percent; In Moscow, Internet penetration is strong at 64 percent and Putin is weak at 47.3 percent.
I’m not arguing that the Internet by itself caused Putin’s lower total in Moscow. It was one of several factors. Elections are complex. You have candidates, issues, process, existence of or lack of peace and prosperity and the general mindset of the people.