Adrian Kavanagh, 28th May 2012
Viewing the Eurovision voting on Saturday night suggested on the one hand that previous trends of friends and neighbours voting and also diaspora voting were once again to the fore in the patterns of 2012 Eurovision votes. On the other hand, Sweden achieved a landslide victory (only two years after failing to qualify for the 2010 Final in Oslo) and managed to win votes all across the Eurovision landscape with every country awarding Loreen Eurovision points with sole (mio) exception of Italy. So to what extent was bloc voting again evident in the contest and to what extent did it impact on Ireland’s Eurovision points?
Looking first at the average number of points won by a selection of countries that finished in the Top 10 – Sweden, Russia and Serbia, who all comprised the Top 3 in this year’s contest, in addition to Turkey and Germany – there is some evidence here of these different countries being supported again by the same voting blocs that have supported them strongly in previous contests.
The trends shown in Figure 1 with respect to the winners, Sweden, sees them achieving high Eurovision points across the different voting blocs, with the exception of the Iberian/Mediterranean somewhat, and even winning more votes amongst the Former Soviet bloc than Russia, the most successful country representing that region in this year’ contest. Sweden’s support, however, proved to be espeically strong amongst its own Nordic votiong bloc in addition to the neighbouring Western (including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and the Benelux countries). Second placed, Russia, like Sweden, was able to attract votes in different parts of Europe, although achieving high levels of support amongst the Former Soviet countries but also attracting strong support amongst the Iberian and Nordic voting blocs. Third placed Serbia, by contrast, tended to be more reliant on its main regional support bases – attracting strong friends and neighbours support from neighbouring Former Yugoslav states and strong diaspora support within the Western voting bloc though not being as successful in attracting votes in the other regions of the continent.
Turkey, who finished 7th in the final, are less reliant on support from neighbouring countries, although support in the neighbouring Former Yugoslav bloc countries proved somewhat higher than in other voting blocs, but very high support for Turkey in Eurovision is associated with the Western voting bloc where the Turkish diaspora offer strong support for Turkish Eurovision entries, although the impact of this diaspora vote has become somewhat less pronounced in previous years since the introduction of a 50-50 jury voting-televoting system. Finally, Germany, the best supported country amongst the Western bloc countries in this year’s final, achieved its strongest support levels amongst its own voting bloc as well as the neighbouring Nordic voting bloc, with its support level dropping to lower levels in the Iberian/Mediterranean voting bloc and, to a greater extent, in the Former Soviet and Former Yugoslav voting blocs.
A comparison of Ireland’s vote patterns in the Eurovision semi final and final shows that the country’s support pattern was more geographically focused in the final than it was in the semi final, in which Ireland proved to be more successful in attracting votes across the continent.
Previous posts and the trend observed for last year’s final suggests Ireland’s main source of Eurovision points tends to be the Nordic voting bloc, of which it is a part, as well as (to a lesser extent) the neighbouring Western voting bloc. The importance of these voting blocs was not as apparent in the semi final, as Figure 2 shows, in which support for Ireland tended to be nearly as high in the Former Soviet and the Iberian/Mediterranean voting blocs as in its own Nordic voting bloc and support levels in these blocs was actually higher than in the Western voting bloc. Eurovision semi-final points for Ireland tended to be rather lower in the Former Yugoslav bloc however. In the final, however, where the average number of points awarded to Ireland per voting country fell from 4.6 points in the semi final to just 1.1 points, Ireland became espeically reliant on it traditional support regions in the Nordic bloc and, to a lesser extent, the Western bloc, as its average Eurovision points fell dramatically in the other voting blocs. Support for Ireland tended to be more solid in the Nordic bloc, where Ireland won an average of 3.6 points in the final, although this was admittedly down on an average of 7.3 points in the semi final and of 6.9 points in the 2011 Final. The trends in Figure 1 may offer some clues as to where the lost Irish semi final votes went in the final, as four of the countries studied in this graph were countries that did not compete in Ireland’s semi-final (Russia being the only one to also perform in Semi Final 1) and hence may have taken some of the Irish support in the Final. For instance, the drop in Irish support in the Nordic and Western blocs may be explained with reference to the strong support for the main countries associated with these blocs in the 2012 Final, Sweden (Nordic bloc) and Germany (Western bloc, as well as Turkey in the Western bloc. Ireland’s support fell dramatically in the other blocs as countries in these regions tended to offer greater support levels to countries from the own voting bloc in the Final especially as their prospects of voting for such countries in the semi final had been blunted somewhat by being in a different semi final to some of the countries from these regions. But Irish voting patterns indeed showed a similar trend, as Table 1 shows. In the semi final, Ireland’s main points went to countries from other voting blocs, such as Romania, Greece and Russia, but by the final the number of points given by Ireland to these countries fell dramatically – with Greece, which had taken 10 points from Ireland in the semi final failing to win any points from Ireland in the final – as Ireland’s main support in the Final tended to go to countries from the Nordic and Western blocs, such as Sweden, Estonia and Germany.
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Table 1: Points awarded by Ireland in the 2012 Eurovision semi-final and final (cells are blank for countries that were not competing in that semi final and/or the final)