Representative Democracy

So, there’s a wonderful thing called the Gallagher Index, which is basically a measure of how representative of popular opinion the outcome of an election is – basically, a measure of the difference between the popular vote and how that translates into representation in parliament (or equivalent). There’s a Wikipedia article on it here, but basically all you need to know is that lower numbers are better.

Well, I’ve run the numbers for this election through a spreadsheet (which you can see here, if that sort of thing interests you) and the UK comes out as about 15.2-ish (we’re still waiting on results, but it’s unlikely to change). Which is sort of interesting to know, but what’s far more useful is to put it in some kind of context.

So, I added a column to the spreadsheet that compared us to the most recent election in, well, pretty much every other democracy in the world. And, in a list of 100 countries, we come 11th from bottom.

(the 2007 US presidential elections don’t fare much better, either)

So, yeah, are we ready to talk about electoral reform, yet?

Edit: At 648 of 650 seats declared, the index now stands at 14.98, which is a smidgin lower, but still bloody awful.

4 Responses to “Representative Democracy”

  1. Steve Johnstone says:

    Tories just said that they’d support electoral reform. Well, support a group to look into electoral reform. Well, support a group to look into maybe moving some of the boundaries. *sigh*

    Come on LibLab 🙂

  2. Ermel says:

    Thanks, but it would’ve been interesting to see that list of countries’ Gallagher indexes too … or am I just being blind?

  3. Chris Whitworth says:

    It’s on the spreadsheet, over to the right, and there’s a more comprehensive list linked to from the end of the Wikipedia article linked to in the post.

  4. Alasdair says:


    Beaten on this scale by even the bloody US of A.

    Who would have guessed? 🙁